Sunday, January 02, 2011

Burlington | Employment has fallen 40% since '08

Not long after I started tracking layoffs across the company, Gannett deleted a key piece of information  from the Corporate webpages of each of the major U.S. worksites: total local employment. (Here's one of those pages.)

But every so often, a publisher or general manager spills the beans. And that was the case today at Vermont's Burlington Free Press, where Publisher Jim Fogler wrote a long, l-o-n-g letter to readers about the paper's growth prospects. (Oddly, it was published on the front page, in the above-the-fold position traditionally set aside for the main news story of the day.)

Fogler says the paper now employs "more than 160 hard-working employees -- including 40 in the newsroom (our information center). This is the largest journalistic force of any local news organization, by far. Our commitment to covering this community will not waver."

It's worth noting, of course, that any GCI paper's commitment to covering their community will not waver -- until the next staff reduction. For example, in August 2008, before the first of a wave of GCI-wide layoffs, the Free Press employed about 270 people. Indeed, only two months ago, the paper cut seven more jobs in the latest round of job reductions, one that eliminated an estimated 253 jobs at 63 U.S. dailies, according to Gannett Bloggers.

Note: Burlington's Monday-Saturday circulation is 32,450; Sunday is 42,679.


  1. I cannot believe this turkey is in the news business. Talking up Sunday and online circulation leaves open the question of what is happening to daily sales. He may be jazzed about the future of the BFP, but readers don't seem to agree, which is what I guess prompted this front-page letter. Finally, the days of front-page letters died in the 19th Century. I guess he wanted to stress to the community that the paper is still here, but it's an awfully strange way of doing that and one that shows GCI is really feeling the stresses of the cutbacks. Anyone could have told him volumes about that.

  2. This really doesn't come as a surpise. I think most the uscp sites are in the same boat. Mine went from 600 in 2007 to just about half that in 2010. We'll probably loose more in 2011.

  3. Wow, 40? My paper, with 1 and 1/2 times the circulation, has 32 FTEs in the newsroom. That includes photo and editors. We've lost 5 to 7 FTEs since 2008.

  4. New England isn't doing well in this recession. Boscov's, a big area department store went into bankruptcy, and traditional shoe and textile industries are long gone. I only visit the area once a year to see relatives, but I last year I thought downtown was very bleak. It reminded me of areas of Florida that have also been hard-hit. Must have been a hard year for the paper to warrant this letter.

  5. Our small paper has lost over 50% of our employees since moving the press to our sister paper. Just you watch...Gannett will get our paper (and yours) down to just a handfull of employees.

    Of course circulation and ad revenue keeps tanking. I no longer tell anyone I work at the paper because I ALWAYS get complaints. ALWAYS.


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