Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Week of Jan. 3-9 | Your News & Comments: Part 2

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63 comments:

  1. For Part 1 of this comment thread, please go here.

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  2. For those of you keeping score:
    1. Furloughs just announced. You read it on this blog a few months ago and it will affect all business units except many digital companies.
    2. Jason Tafler, CEO of Pointroll is being removed and replaced by Sandy Dondici, current CTO of Pointroll.
    3. Matt Ferguson, CEO of Careerbuilder is leaving and no replacement yet determined. Jack Williams resides on the board of CB and is now spending more time on CB and Classified Ventures (CV).
    4. GMC member will be announcing his/her retirement this quarter
    5. Gannett has shut down Ripple6
    6. Gannett is buying CafeMom.
    7. Gannett will be reducing 5,000 employees in the next twelve months.
    8. For those of us on Gannett healthcare (medical/dental), we will see a significant increase in payroll deductions to make up for increases in fees to Gannett. These additional costs are being 100% passed along to employees.

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  3. As always - thanks for the heads up My Boss. Your information is always appreciated and very useful to the vast majority of the "non-haters" who count on this website for information. God knows you can't believe a single think any management member says. Thanks again!

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  4. I'm convinced MyBoss has real access to the senior management team. Someone at USAT told me they think MyBoss is an executive assistant to one of our big cheeses...

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  5. Today the Philadelphia inquirer and daily news both announced an increase in single copy daily to one dollar effective end of janusry, 2011.

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  6. Sandy Dondicci has been a rockstar at pointroll from what I've heard. I think Tafler checked out recently as I've been told by someone in digital he passed on the CDO job after Saridakis bailed and that he'll walk away with $7M for the pointroll profit levels he hit!!! How can this company pay some people so much while sending others on furloughs?

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  7. So MyBoss: by all units are you referring to USAT as well? I really hope you know the answer......

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  8. Jason Tafler is a waste at Pointroll. Everyone knows that Saridakis set him up in that job, but the guy has never showed up to the office. When he did make an appearance, his only advice was for people to "stop whining". He will NOT be missed here. There is strong support for Sandy Dondici and Catherine Spurway. The rest of the management team have checked out completely.

    Can someone explain to me how people like Sarah Ripmaster, Kym Lewis, Dan Shapiro, Tria Pavalides, Natalie Moore and other sales people will make over $400,000 in commissions in 2010 ON TOP of very large salaries?

    Meanwhile, the entire account and campaign management teams are doing all the work, while sales reps get paid off.

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  9. I heard reports that USAT will be included in the furloughs. We just haven't got the memo yet.
    P.S. Take note also of My Boss observations on employee health care costs to increase. I am told we can expect "substantial" increases because the insurance companies are passing along to everyone the additional costs of insuring people who have pre-existing conditions.

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  10. I know that we're not supposed to speculate on who My Boss is... but is it possible that he works in the mailroom and has access to all of the inter office mail?

    Anyway, he/she rocks.

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  11. 10:07PM sounds like you are one bitter loser. Why don't you step up and sell and stop complaining about us sales reps who bring in the dollars and pay your salary? Why don't you try selling if it's so easy? Take some risk if you're so good. How have we had three record sales years in a row at Pointroll and blown away our quotas and competitors in a brutal economy? Sounds like you should be paying me too loser!

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  12. I don't want to let the cat out of the bag, but I know who MyBoss is. You would be shocked if I told you.

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  13. As a part time worker who receives no sick days or vacation pay I can really use the time off. I am already being asked to do more work for less pay. Even though I am one of the best employees any company could have I still get treated like dirt. Happy New Year

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  14. I'm a big fan of My Boss, but he/she never seems to have much, if any, info on USAT. Unless I missed it?

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  15. Once again, the 5,000 fewer employees figure. So how is this to happen? Layoffs, plant closings or newspaper terminations? Maybe the Cherry Hill-Wilmington rumors? And where are these bodies (FTEs) coming from? None of these operations are ran with fat payrolls.

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  16. will someone please tell me what the fokk pointroll is and/or does? seriously. wtf is it and why does it exist?

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  17. 1:41 AM
    If you work in Advertising, Marketing or Online, you would know about Pointroll.

    Read all about it here:
    http://www.pointroll.com

    Founded in May 2000, PointRoll has been instrumental in the evolution of digital engagement, pioneering technology including the expandable banner ad, in-banner video, and numerous technologies that enabled marketers to create, deliver and measure display ads as rich and full featured as a microsite without disrupting the user experience.

    Powering 55% of all rich media campaigns online and serving over 450 billion impressions for more than two-thirds of the Fortune 500 brands.

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  18. First of all, I work at PoinRoll and love the company. I do not love the management team at all. Someone should investigate how this management team has handled the hiring and firing of employees over the past year.

    Everyone knows that Jason Tafler and the rest of the management team (Dea Lawrence, Sarah Ripmaster, Rob Gatto, Sandy Dondici, Catherine Spurway, Kym Lewis, Max Mead) all are part of the appropriately named "i" plan. These folks stand to make, each, well over a few million dollars in the next month. The only problem is that Jason and his management team have virtually gutted the entire company and cut as many heads as possible. Why? Because the more profits they bring in, the more Gannett pays them.

    We have seen a lot of diverse employees get fired so that this team can make a few million dollars more. Everyone in the company knows that Jason has cut every expense and it is killing our ability to service our clients and to bring needed relief to the over worked operations team. All so he can take whatever he can and leave the company.

    I, on behalf of the rest of the Pointroll employees, is pleading with Gannett and the people that oversee PointRoll, to install a real leadership team here. For the past two years, this place has been falling apart and the management team is only interested in their payouts. In fact, no one from this management team have even shown their faces in the past month.

    Help!

    Someone must investigate this place.

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  19. Wonders if that 5,000 reduction in workforce is the loss of copy desks and ad pros throughout the newspaper divisions

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  20. 5:47AM are you joking? I used to work at Gannett Corporate (until I got out thankfully) and Pointroll is one of the top profit makers in the entire Gannett company. You want them to investigate? Gannett has laid off 15,000 people in the past two years. They will be carrying this team out on their shoulders in a parade! Everyone at Corporate knows how much profit Pointroll makes ($70million I heard)... open your eyes beyond your Philadelphia four walls! If you're looking for a savior, you've come to the wrong place.

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  21. The problem with Pointroll is that the current management team is greedy, and they like nothing more than pitting sales against the rest of the company. There is great inequity between what people are paid, how they are treated and what standards they are expected to achieve. Instead of in fighting amongst sales and Account Management/Operations maybe you guys should unite and let your management team know that you are not going to sit by and let them gut a wonderful company any longer. If you all banded together and supported each other you would be a formidable force and one that Senior Management would have to respect.

    Besides the cuts that management has made over the past year, there have been a number of employees at all levels who have just left because they were sick and tired of all the BS. I expect that you will see even more people leave over the next few months, this will start to take its toll on the quality of service Pointroll can offer, and so now is the time that you all should band together and make a stand for each other and become one team.

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  22. Only trolls would try and out My Boss. What does outing this person serve except to put them in danger. I would rather hear what he/she has to say. PLEASE respect this person and stop trying to figure it out.

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  23. Hey ,
    Does anyone believe that the 5,000 number
    reduction is impossible! You should know it is possible for sure.
    Remember in 2008 ,Every site probably thought...
    No, we are bare bones, can't cut here ,no extra
    employee hours anywhere! Management says ..
    FIND THEM and cut them..OK ,That happened,then in 2009, same thing,Every site probably said ..we are down to skeletal crews in every department,we can't cut anymore....
    Management said,find out where you can cut,and lay them off!!They did ..! In 2010,yes smaller numbers ,but......same result.
    Now 2011.....Cut 5,000
    Yes people,it will be done, you know it will,and it will mean closing of borderine revenue sites and even more streamlined operations and more,and more hours for those remaining.
    Point is,after all this time of knowing it was
    coming,your plan B is not firmly in place,and ready to be implemented,your heads must be in the sand,or you are a glutten for mental punishment.
    I go to work every day ,knowing this might be the last,and when that day comes....what a fricken relief !!!

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  24. Jesus fed 5,000, Gannett fires 5,000. Yes, Gannett IS the anti-Christ.
    Here are some possibilities on the news side: 1. Copy desk/production consolidation, of course. 2. Elimination of Moms print products and niche pubs/weekly shopper pubs. 3. Further section consolidation, such as Sports and Living, with more content from USAT and a regional approach, where feasible, among the community pubs. 4. Another round of press consolidations.
    And no, I'm not privy to inside information or a management committee, just an observer.
    Sign me--
    No One's Boss

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  25. Jim, not sure if you have done this in the past or not? Start now and get people to sign proxie vote to you so at the next BULLSHIT annual meeting we can show our distain for this group.

    No furloughs at the Arizona Republic. What the hell does Dick head mean when he states ALL and then states some groups. AZ is not a group A-hole. This guy needs a writer. He has no clue!

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  26. 11:46 PM - The reductions are already starting. The Mansfield, Ohio Production plant is being shut down before the end of the first quarter. I don't know how many employees are actually affected, but MNCO will be outsourcing the printing of their smaller northern papers. The rest of the production will be shifted to Newark, Ohio. Some, but not many, jobs will go to Newark. This is a Big Deal. The employees are finding out about this today.

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  27. If an Associated Press story is to believed, U.S. newspaper division employment now totals 17,000 vs. 24,700 at the end of 2009. That would amount to an extraordinary 31% drop over the past year within the U.S. Community Publishing division.

    The AP story is about the newly announced furloughs. The story does not cite the source for that figure, although it likely came from Corporate's communications department, headed by Robin Pence.

    Gannett typically discloses employment figures by major division only once a year, in a so-called 10-K report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Those reports are filed toward the end of February. The newest figure, then, would be the freshest data to emerge. Here's the 10-K filed in February 2009.

    By contrast, in 2009, USCP employment fell 15%, to 24,700, from 29,200 at the end of 2008. Here's a table showing annual employment going back to 1994.

    No doubt, Gannett has cut employment company-wide, and in the USCP. Still, a loss of nearly 8,000 USCP jobs is hard to believe, given that we've only received reports of about 250 layoffs, in November. Attrition will account of a number of jobs cut in 2010, but not as many as 8,000.

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  28. Those people on COBRA who haven't gotten their new insurance ID cards should call:

    1-877-780-7028

    Talk to a robot and you'll be told that you should get the card in about two weeks.

    For COBRA billing, call: 1-877-865-8980 - you'll be told you'll be getting your bill in about two weeks. Or you can go to benefits.gannett.com and pay there.

    Hope this helps anyone still in need.

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  29. From the furlough FAQ:

    17) Q. Am I eligible for state unemployment benefits while I am out on furlough?
    A. Unemployment benefits vary by state. Some states have waiting periods before unemployment benefits commence; others do not. You should contact your local unemployment office for more information.


    Translated: "That's your job to find out, not ours. We're just in the furlough business." There's the nice, conscientious human resources work I've come to expect from this company.

    In my deluded fantasy the announcement goes like this: "We're doing furloughs again; we know how much of a hardship this is for you all. But our HR department is working hard to make this as pain-free for you as possible. They have researched our state's policy on unemployment, and will guide you step-by-step through how to get some money to help you through this period. We know it's not enough, but it's something."

    The first bit of evidence that's a deluded fantasy is that my paper hasn't had an HR department for at least a year; the bean-counters and publisher's secretary do HR duties here and there in addition to their other duties, or you're constantly being directed to "The Lawson Portal." Also known as the HR Center of Excellence.

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  30. just out of curiosity...why would anyone want to blow "My Boss"'s cover? We get accurate, dependable info from this source...why would we want that to go away?

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  31. Jeez, Jim, read the accounts from the field and you will see those AP numbers for USCP sound very correct. The papers have been hit hard, and I am left wondering where this additional reported 5,000 reduction in force is coming from this year.

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  32. The Mansfield Production facility closure on March 6th will reflect in 46 employees losing their job. Mansfield and Marion will be printed at the Newark Production facility and Bucyrus, Fremont and Port Clinton will be outsourced. So Sad.

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  33. Re COBRA: The shift to the new Gannett Benefits web site (and I assume new provider) is a mess. People formerly paying by automatic withdrawal had that cut off (no warning) and were sent a bill. Call and you are told "due to the transition..." and then whatever your problem is falls into that bucket. They don't have all the files, account numbers, or access (apparently) to the old data. Meaning despite opening for business, they are not ready. COBRA payments can be 30 days late, which is why they just keep saying an invoice is in the mail.

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  34. 11:22 They would want to blow My Boss' cover in hopes he/she would not report any more news.

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  35. A RIF of 5,000 is possible if the move to production/design hubs is included. Also, I know where I work is ridiculously understaffed but if those in power don't care about content, then more cuts are possible. And My Boss, you so rock!

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  36. 11:42 I do, indeed, read the reports from the field. Still, here's why the 8,000-job figure seems awfully high:

    During 2008 -- the year when Gannett had the biggest-ever annual layoffs -- employment didn't drop anywhere near this much.

    In fact, in 2008 and 2009, overall employment fell a combined 11,000. And that was across the entire company, during two years of crisis.

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  37. ...how many jobs were lost in circulation due to consolidation of call centers and reduced need of employees to manage delivery of declining newspaper distribution numbers?

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  38. A lot of the layoffs/closures could take place in the large number of weeklies that were once
    cash cows.These sites,in the past,when Gannett was buying every paper in sight, created huge
    profits in comparison to expenses ratios.
    Now many of these are in the red.Why subsidize
    them when there is very little in the way of upside possibilities.Most of these sites have long time,higher paid employees who all have full benefit packages. Much expense could be rid of by simply closing these burdensome facilties.

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  39. Jim,
    I'm a non-Gannett newspaper type who has followed this blog for about three years and have never given you a dime. Until today. Your breaking the furlough news and, more importantly, the response and gratitude of the beleaguered troops, have finally pried a donation out of me. So now I have the (arguable) moral authority to tell others to do the same. Keep on keepin' on.

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  40. 1:44 -- At my site, the weeklies make money. Why close something that makes money? It's not like all these ad dollars are going to go to the Mother Ship. If the weeklies weren't profitable, there'd be a point to shuttering them.

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  41. Re 1:58:

    You're right. Jim's coverage of the furloughs and shenanigans at corporate merit our support. Pony up folks. This blog is the only source of information we have. I just made my contribution. If you value Jim's work make yours.

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  42. 2:32
    I am sure there are some weeklies still making
    a profit.
    I have been a weekly employ for a long time and
    know many people at other weeklies.Most are no longer the profitable entities that they once
    were.
    I know of a site that is down 40% compared to 2009 and is still open.And others that are down,maybe not as drastically,and are still running,why?

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  43. 2:55 -- I guess it depends on each individual site. I just wonder of the powers that be cut the weeklies too much along the way. If some are way down, then why?

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  44. On the weeklies: You are not going to get large numbers from there because they are run on a shoestring as it is.

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  45. “Most of these (weeklies) sites have long time, higher paid employees who all have full benefit packages.” Anon 1:44 PM

    Seriously? That certainly isn’t true in one market as bringing daily and weeklies together raised costs. Why? Daily minimum pay rates, especially for sales, were higher. Though the one group hired for its investigative skills (editorial) has yet learned most weekly staffers earn less for doing like work as their daily peers.

    Regarding benefits, the weeklies had better, less costly plans. Adding them cost more as did using many of Gannett’s other services including its purchasing “powers.” So too did weekly-daily joint advertising buys which in many instances moves revenues around not unlike how internet dollars are being used. So before some write them off they might want to look more closely at Gannett accounting practices for them.

    And let’s not forget who’s filling the market reach increasingly being lost by declining daily newspapers sales: weeklies and non-dailies.

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  46. Re: My Boss ... is he saying the insurance costs are going up above what we just saw during the re-enrollment in November? Anyone got info?

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  47. Later today I will have some new information about Phoenix. It will surprise many people.

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  48. Yes, you read about furloughs here weeks or months ago, but you also read people who were just as sure they wouldn't happen.

    As recently as the last three weeks, I predicted that Jim and his blind supporters would crow that this blog had it right, no matter which way things turned out.

    Jim responded by saying that he did not expect furloughs and would take no credit for announcing them in the event they happened.

    Jim assured the readers that, if furloughs came to pass, he would point out that he missed the ball.

    Maybe I missed it, but where is Jim's admission of failure on this.

    It won't happen. He plays both sides of the fence, claims victory in any event then begs for money like he is a PBS outlet or something.

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  49. My Boss has been "Mr. Close Enough to Look Like He Knew." I'm not impressed.

    Also, the USA Today newsroom has been told the furloughs do NOT include the nation's newspaper. Mr. Boss has it wrong on that one.

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  50. My Boss might be right about something else. Ripple6 appears to be on autopilot. Both the Facebook and Twitter pages have been shut down. Not a great sign for a cutting edge product. Not to mention, the last blog update on the site is from November. http://www.ripple6.com/

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  51. Yes 4:34 there is a letter circulating speaking about the large uptick in health costs and a mid-year increase. MyBoss has it on the nose again.

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  52. I'm impressed and I am listening to him/her My Boss. Whoever is trying to out them on this blog... cut it out. Some of us are thankful. Trolls go away.

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  53. 5:17 Three weeks ago, I said I was skeptical that furloughs would be announced, and concluded they were on hold. I wish I'd been right, because furloughs suck.

    But I was wrong.

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  54. Trolls go away and stop sniping at Jim. He provides a great, valuable service. A blog isn't traditional journalism by any stretch, and most of us with any semblance of intelligence and perspective know that.

    Of course, corporate trolls would prefer the blog didn't exist. That way, they can plot to take more from the company directly from the pockets of employees in secret, making it easier to essentially steal money from good employees while destroying their careers and/or crippling their ability to take care of their families. If it weren't for Jim, for example, how many GCIers would know that it was written in black and white that the corporate fatties were directly compensated literally millions in bonuses due to furloughs/layoffs -- therefore essentially picking the pockets of their employees for their own self-gain while cannibalizing the company they were hired to lead?

    That's right. Very, very few rank and file would know that. Too many would be swallowing the standard corporate nonsense about 'needing to make tough choices that are hard on us all ...' blah blah blah. Now, we all know better. Thanks Jim.

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  55. Sorry, Jim, I love furloughs. The time off is a way to clear the brain, get out and do what you want to do without worry that the phone will ring and you will have to drop everything and get back to the show. Furloughs have been a godsend for many people.

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  56. Anonymous said...
    Sorry, Jim, I love furloughs. The time off is a way to clear the brain, get out and do what you want to do without worry that the phone will ring and you will have to drop everything and get back to the show. Furloughs have been a godsend for many people.

    1/05/2011 7:48 PM

    Gosh, not another troll who can afford to treat a furlough like a vacation! Oh, brother!

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  57. Aeh, who are the many people? The ones with the fat paycheck? LOL

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  58. if you want a clue to the furloughs, here is a tip - watch how the budgets and payroll were put together - I don't believe any property altered Q1 2009 payroll actuals when the 2010 budget was put together. So while revenue could be going up, the bottom line can't absorb the hit if it wasn't accounted for. maybe someone thought revenue would rise faster to compensate for the expense but that would be wishful thinking - in paraphrasing the wonderful words of Mr. Watson - why do you think there will be a january surprise? (Gary was the former president of the newspaper division and he would questions budgets that showed a miracle turnaround in January when the previous quarters trend did not match).

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  59. For Part 3 of this comment thread, please go here.

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  60. Anyone else know anything about Tulsa being closed completely in the next 30 days?

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  61. I found out the N.J. papers are planning a small number of layoffs at each location, with a couple of papers to be exempt from the layoffs.

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  62. Not a layoff a shutdown of the site VA source very strong hint because VP's going there end of this month. Why can't they just be honest because it might harm their interest.

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  63. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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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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