Friday, August 09, 2013

With Fort Myers, estimated layoffs now top 300; Florida daily launched 'mojos,' Information Centers

[Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET with latest figures.]

Word came overnight that The News-Press in Fort Myers has just laid off six in its newsroom, bringing total jobs cut at the Florida daily to 10, according to Facebook postings and Gannett Blog readers.

Today's Page One, Newseum
Gannett-wide, that means an estimated 314 newspaper jobs have been eliminated through layoffs or other means across at least 50 worksites over the past week, as the company enters what may be the final stage of this latest round of cost-cutting.

Fort Myers is noteworthy in Gannett's transition to digital journalism. There, the company fine tuned the concept of mobile journalists -- dubbed "mojos" -- showcased in a glowing Washington Post story in December 2006. By then, the concept had spread across the U.S. newspaper division, as newsrooms were renamed Information Centers.

The Post's Frank Ahrens wrote:

"The mojos have high-tech tools -- ThinkPads, digital audio recorders, digital still and video cameras -- but no desk, no chair, no nameplate, no land line, no office. They spend their time on the road looking for stories, filing several a day for the newspaper's Website, and often for the print edition, too. Their guiding principle: A constantly updated stream of intensely local, fresh Web content -- regardless of its traditional news value -- is key to building online and newspaper readership."

Back then, the News-Press' weekday circulation was about 88,000. Following the path of the overall newspaper industry, sales plunged to 61,000 by the end of last year.

Earlier: Gannett collects $105,000 from Lee County to create 35 jobs at News-Press, TV station says.

Is your site here?
Gannett's U.S. Community Publishing newspaper division employed about 18,000 workers at the beginning of the year.

In the current round of layoffs, all in response to continued declines in advertising revenue, a large swath of the East Group newspapers remains uncounted. Notably missing are most of the dailies in New York and New Jersey. To be sure, it's possible publishers there have been able to cut costs through other means, such as reducing page counts or eliminating travel. But that seems unlikely.

Please check this read-only spreadsheet, then post your latest information in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the rail, upper right.

31 comments:

  1. Maybe unloading the overpaid and undertalented general manager (GW) and managing editor (LT) and replacing them from within (instead of paying to move some other overpaid and undertalented castoff from another site) helped save some jobs in Cherry Hill.

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  2. Lots of unloading ahead at Usa Today. Kramer and Callaway are finally getting a bead on how little some people actually do and figure they can jettison some fat salaries. No more excuses.

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  3. Just curious, were those laid off this time around offered severance pay? Does anyone know? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. They get transitional pay, which is kind of like severance.

      You apply for unemployment benefits. Then Gannett makes up the difference between what you get in benefits and what you were paid.

      For example, if you got paid $600 a week, and your unemployment benefits are $400, Gannett kicks in the other $200.

      For more information, see this FAQ.

      Delete
  4. Well ,
    286 employees gone. So, 286 people without jobs,maybe more coming.
    Cost/expense savings----286 x $50,000 per year equals about $14 and half million.
    Hey now,that is some nice bonuses to be paid later !!

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  5. Putting any fat jokes aside, it ain't over until Gracia Martore sings...and she's only just now starting to hum.

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  6. Latest additions to the body count: two fulltime workers at the Home News Tribune in New Jersey.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. I've now updated that entry, too.

      Delete
    2. One more from Mountain Home -- accountant offered a clerk's job or severance. Took severance, but can't leave until late September or forfeit TTP!

      Delete
  7. I believe there are actually at least five in Detroit. Four managers in Single Copy Circulation and at least one other employee.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. I've now updated that entry.

      Delete
  8. The body count continues to grow at the Asbury Park Press: the fulltimer who tracks the miles traveled by the photography department and a fulltime reporter with 29 years in the business. From what I can gather, that pushes the body count at the Asbury Park Press to 15, all fulltimers. Soooooooooo sad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Reporter initials?

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    2. "the fulltimer who tracks the miles traveled by the photography department"

      Seriously? Sorry, but that was a waste of a position.

      Delete
  9. Sad to say, 9:34 is right. But these people find a way to hang on like vampire bats in dark caves. It'll be others getting shit canned.

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  10. It was five in Reno, not three. Three in advertising and the longtime publisher and GM (a married couple) of a small town weekly

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. I've updated the Reno figure.

      Delete
  11. Rochester is hosting the PGA championship this week. That's why layoffs were deferred there... but they're coming.

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  12. Just about everyone I've seen laid off is important. Yet, there are several people who stay who seem to still do so very little. :(

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    1. Jim is an expert on doing very little. And being very little. Unfortunately, not on saying very little. But he is right very little of the time.

      Delete
    2. Seems like he was spot on about the layoffs, so I'd say he's right when it counts and we, who remain at Gannett are grateful for Jim's work. You, 5:25 and your inane attempt at cleverness are a waste.

      Delete
    3. How was he spot on? When someone predicts every week that "Layoffs are coming!" that person will be right eventually. But not right very often.

      You should have someone explain this to you. It's obvious that your inane attempts at supporting rumors have you all confuzzled.

      Delete
    4. To be clear, I did not predict this round of layoffs. In fact, my first post related to this round of cutbacks focused on furloughs -- which a source said were the more likely option at the time.

      In that July 10 post, I wrote about:

      prospects for another round of unpaid one-week furloughs for U.S. Community Publishing's 81 coast-to-coast dailies, from Elmira, N.Y., to Palm Springs, Calif. A reader in a position to know tells me publishers could be given new cost-cutting targets as early as this week.

      Any such cuts, which also could include eliminating open positions or more, would arrive in time for the second-quarter earnings release, set for July 22, when CEO Gracia Martore and other top executives brief Wall Street media analysts. [Emphasis added.]

      As you can see, I was wrong on the timing and the focus on furloughs. The cuts came a week later, starting July 29.

      After that post appeared, my reader in a position to know indicated that furloughs had been considered by Corporate, accepted, then rejected in favor of layoffs and other cuts, such as in newsprint use.

      On the basis of that information, I posted an item on July 21, where I suggested that employees ask CEO Gracia Martore two questions during the "Town Hall" meeting with employees the next day, after the second-quarter earnings release:

      1. Is Corporate now reviewing fresh cost-cutting proposals from the U.S. newspaper division, including furloughs in the current quarter?

      2. Have publishers submitted updated RIF lists, with names of employees targeted for possible layoff?

      In fact, I knew the answer to those two questions was yes. But I hoped -- a slim one, I admit -- that employees would ask her, so she would be on record with her reply.

      Beyond that, I didn't make any predictions. Instead, I waited for a week, expecting the layoffs, and possibly furloughs, to begin. And they did, on July 29, starting with The Indianapolis Star.

      It is true that some people predict impending layoffs nearly every week, and often as a quarterly earnings release neared.

      But Gannett Blog readers were especially active in posting comments suggesting something was a foot in the weeks before this latest round.

      By July 29, anyone reading this blog was not surprised when the layoffs began.

      Delete
  13. Kate Marymont was executive editor at Fort Myers during all that "mojo" hoopla, and she rode the wave all the way to the Crystal Palace. Hello, Kate? Oh Kate.......

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  14. FWIW, at least some of these layoffs are actually vacant positions that aren't being filled.

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  15. Does any site still do the mojo thing? This line made me laugh out loud.

    Their guiding principle: A constantly updated stream of intensely local, fresh Web content -- regardless of its traditional news value -- is key to building online and newspaper readership."

    ReplyDelete
  16. I heard today that the Advertising Admin Asst & the Information Center Admin Asst in Ft Myers were laid off today. The circ Admin Asst was let go about a month ago - looks like they don't have any admin assts. in Ft. Myers anymore. The admin asst in Info center was there for 19 years - the one in Advertising was there a lot longer than that - very sad!

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

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  18. In Lansing, a copy editor and its columnist, Mark Mayes, were let go Friday.

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    Replies
    1. I've added those to the list. The total for Lansing is now six.

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    2. Does anyone know all the Lansing layoffs? I know of only the EE, the columnist and a copy editor. Hope that's it.

      Delete

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