Thursday, December 04, 2008

Day 3: Job losses near 1,800; Salinas whacks 31%

Gannett's downsizing has now claimed 1,792 newspaper jobs, according to a new Gannett Blog reader tally that also brings this heart breaker: The Salinas Californian eliminated a whopping 31% of its 130 jobs -- one of the biggest percentage losses yet.

But the final number of Gannett jobs lost is expected to be higher, because three of the biggest worksites haven't disclosed figures: USA Today; the Detroit Free Press and affiliates, plus The Cincinnati Enquirer. Combined employment at those three is around 4,500 to 5,000. Excluding USAT and Detroit, Corporate now says total job reductions will be about 2,000.

In Salinas, General Manager Terry Feinberg was struggling to find something to say when he told his paper: "As difficult as this is, it does provide us with an opportunity to take a look at everything we do.''

The paper reports: "Layoffs started Tuesday and finished Wednesday, with 21 people losing their jobs immediately and another 14 positions to be cut over the next six to eight weeks. Four positions were removed through attrition, and one person took a voluntary buyout, for a total of 40 jobs eliminated.''

California is one of four states where Gannett markets were especially hard hit when the real estate bubble collapsed (the other three: Arizona, Florida and Nevada). Plus, the Californian's circulation tanked recently, Deutsche Bank says. It plunged 13.3%, to 14,240 as of Sept. 30, from 16,416 a year before.

We've now accounted for 65 of the 85 community dailies, plus USA Today. Is your paper included? Please add your numbers and links to stories on our list, or in the comments section, below. Or e-mail confidentially via gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com].

[Image: yesterday's front page, Newseum]


  1. "And to change none of it."

    You nailed it right there.

    Classic Gannett. I'm skeptical anything will be adjusted at my site to fit the new "reality." Despite promises that it will. Oh well. We'll trudge on until the next round.

  2. I wonder, no slight to Gannett blog, if the lack of reporting from smaller papers is because few people from those markets are aware of this support system?
    I know I've run across quite a few Gannett employees who never heard of it and were amazed (it is amazing, isn't it).
    To find out those numbers, perhaps we should e-mail people we know at the "missing" papers and ask them to report (from home).

  3. Remember those who were lost. Even if you didn't know them well or weren't directly affected, never forget this week. Keep the names alive. Some good workers and fantastic people were lost. Some very bad judgments were made by some very bad and small-minded people. It appears many of the cuts make absolutely no sense to me or others who have survived, so I can imagine the people who were let go must really be struggling with this. Remember them and what they stood for and what they did for you in big and small ways. And don't ever forget who ultimately did this to them. They are wolves in sheeps clothing. I hope everyone will express their displeasure with these decisions in some small way and not buy into the excuse that it was just business. This was not just business. In many cases, this was just mean-spirited.

  4. Umm, you're tired, Jim. Salinas cutting 31 out of 130 jobs is not the biggest percentage in this round. The 50 jobs of 105 in Battle Creek is the biggest I've seen, at 47.6 percent.

  5. A few words of encouragement to those let go: It's been a year and a half since I was dismissed from the paper where I had spent 15 years. At first I felt lost and betrayed, but as things turned around I discovered it was the best thing to happen to me and my family. I'm out of the newspaper business, but still working to educate and inform. I can now spend evenings, weekends and holidays with my wife and kids, which has probably saved my marriage. Being outside the newspaper business, I can now look back and see what a negative, depressing and unfulfilling environment it was. Those above me had no plan for success and those beneath were exploited. My mentors, Don Ranly and David Rees probably wouldn't approve of my becoming a corporate hack, but I think my journalism background enables me to do this new job with far more consideration for our customers. And did I mention that the money is almost twice as good? I pray that in time, all of you will come to find this change a blessing.

  6. So, what did happen at Dickeys meeting on wednesday. Enquiring minds want to know.

  7. 11:20 AM

    Amen. I am young reporter who is watching this all go down. Now I can change my career paths before I have a family, mortgage and such. At least I got to work in the field, so I can die fulfilled.

  8. To Ron:
    Yes, there is life after newspapers, but I see no blessing in the way the profession has been decimated. Newsrooms can be negative, dispiriting, and ultimately disillusioning places to work, but most of us got into the "business" because we believed in the importance of the fourth estate. I worked in Salinas in the 1980s and mourn for my friends still there.

  9. Part of the problem for Salinas was that GCI sees them and Visalia/Tulare as one site, despite being 200 miles apart, because they share the same publisher. I think the publisher in Visalia always makes cuts in Salinas first to protect her own site, consolidating positions to Visalia whenever possible. Looking at the only 8 jobs lost in Visalia, it looks like my suspicions are correct.

  10. As of Jan. 30 The Salinas Californian will not longer have a copy desk. Every single copy editor lost his/her job and over the next six weeks they will be coming up with a way for Visalia's copy desk lay out The Californian and every other non-daily publication the company publishes.

  11. Cincinnati news layoffs total 15, including community weeklies and local-local insert. Range of ages, lots of middle management, some page designers and copy editors. No reporters or photographers.

    No word on total from other departments.

  12. Poughkeepsie lost 14 of 200 employees on Black Wednesday. If you combine that with the 45 jobs lost in the upcoming move of all printing and distribution to Westchester after the first of the year, we will have lost 29.5 percent of our workforce in a month.

    What happens after the next quarterly report?

  13. I know that in light of what's happening across the Journalism world and media in general, it seems job POSTINGS are a rarity, but check out this pretty neat position, especially for a Mizzou alum:


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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