Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Rochester: Publisher's memo cites 'harsh reality'

The Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y., said it is eliminating 59 jobs -- about 8% of all. The reductions include 34 forced layoffs, Publisher Ali Zoibi says in a memo that serves as an example of the how publishers are breaking the bad news.

Subject: A Message from Ali Zoibi
Ali Zoibi
President & Publisher
Dec. 2, 2008

To: All Democrat and Chronicle Employees

As you know from earlier communications, the Democrat and Chronicle, and all Gannett properties, have been asked to sharply reduce expenses in response to the worsening economic situation.

We will cut many non-payroll expenses and continue to look at others. But the harsh reality is we need to cut about 8% of our current workforce. That translates to 59 jobs in Rochester. Of that, 14 are employees who volunteered to take a severance package of up to 26 weeks pay. Another 11 positions have been open and will be eliminated.

The actual number of layoffs is 34. Severance packages will be given to those impacted. Our revised full-time and part-time employee count totals 680.

All of our meetings will be concluded by noon on Thursday, Dec. 4. This information is being shared with you before it is reported in the media, ours and others in Rochester. The continuing negative impact on our advertising and circulation revenue and the cost of doing business has created this unpleasant situation.

We do not ever discuss individual personnel issues out of respect for our employees.

The Democrat and Chronicle remains steadfast in its commitment to fulfilling its First Amendment news responsibility, as well as providing excellent daily coverage of the greater Rochester community. Our skills and experience position us well to take full and immediate advantage of the economic turnaround as it occurs.

I ask you to support your colleagues and join with us to improve our business outlook. Together, we can do it.


  1. I was surprised to see that the D+C employs so many. Why was I surprised? Whenever I've picked up the Sunday paper, the living section is usually a wire story. On any given day, it seemed that around 80% of the paper was from wire reports. Forced me to wonder what all of the local writers were spending their time on and why the staff count was so high.

  2. I was one of the 34 people effected in the Rochester layoff, Although I can say Gannett has treated me well, it was almost a relief. The added pressure of not knowing when or if you were losing your job was unbearable. I can only say that some of the middle management didn't seem to be effected as much as the persons who were closer to retirement age and I can't help but wonder why.

  3. I was also part of the Rochester layoff. All I can say is that early retirement should have been forced as well as those who volunteered should have been able to leave..why weren't they.


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