Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ask Tara | Is Gannett about to cut 4,500 jobs?

It has now been 12 days since I sent the following e-mail to chief Corporate publicist Tara Connell. We've heard from Chief Financial Officer Gracia Martore about ailing CEO Craig Dubow. Would one of you two please now answer these questions?

June 18, 2009

Tara Connell
Vice President
Gannett Co. Inc.
McLean, Va.
By e-mail


In a comment, one of Gannett Blog's best sources has told us the following:

1. Principal executive and Chief Financial Officer Gracia Martore has ordered layoffs across the board from U.S. Community Publishing to USA Today, Corporate and the Broadcasting division.
2. On top of layoffs, salary reductions will happen in the broadcast division: a 10% salary reduction.
3. No new furloughs for the rest of the year.
4. Layoffs are scheduled for July 8. Estimated to be 4,500 for U.S. Community Publishing.

My questions:

1. Is any of the above information incorrect?
2. If any of the above is incorrect, please provide, point-by-point, the accurate information.

I look forward to your reply.

Jim Hopkins
Gannett Blog
Read monthly by more than 10,000 media pros

Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green rail, upper right.


  1. Do you really expect a reply before any of this happens and even if you got one, would it be the truth?

  2. We'll see on July 8, or thereabouts, won't we?

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

  4. Jim, as an ex Gannett employee I say keep it up to the last minute. For the sanity of all those still employed that refuse to drink the Kool-aid. Now if only our government and others abroad (IRAN) had one of your blogs.

  5. If nothing else, Jim, you've given Tara and her cohorts a taste of "do more with less" and "produce more on the margin." No doubt she will need to squeeze several more meetings into her schedule to come to the decision to ignore you. Silence speaks volumes. Well done.

  6. Tara has failed many people she once called friends. This has nothing to do with this post, per se, but just a general comment about this woman and her lack of character when it comes to professional colleagues and former friends. She won't help those in need nor seems to consider anyone other than herself and her family when it comes to her ambitions. It saddens me to even write this, but she has profoundly failed or ignored far too many people who once supported her. I am leaning now towards believing the things others have said about her.

  7. 5:35pm: Yes, it's 100% true. Please believe all those other things people have said about her.

  8. I doubt she will answer, and that says it all. A non-response basically confirms that every point Jim laid out is true. Either that or she has so little concern for her employees that she can't be bothered to answer. Either way, it speaks volumes about her and the company.

  9. Jim -- Maybe you should pose the same questions to Saridakis. He's had the decency to answer you in the past.

  10. Jim, you've lost all credibility here. You really think Tara would answer you NOW?

    Shut down this blog now. It's dead.

  11. Jim -- Maybe you should pose the same questions to Saridakis. He's had the decency to answer you in the past.

    6/19/2009 12:16 AM

    But then Jim might receive an answer and where would the fun be in that?

  12. I just turned in my notice and I was told that I should immediately leave the building. Now while that is not unusual--I was in a position that was critical to the requirement of the job. It has been reported to me that they are not filling my position-nor the other numerous positions that are available. Now I ask you this--when is the last time that positions (which are much needed) went unfilled?-They went unfilled when they were destined to be cut out! So although the entire information may not be 100% accurate--this blog info has yet to be 100% wrong. If I was those still employed, I would take heed to the information that is being shared. Usually when there is smoke, there is fire---no matter how much wind and hot air you try to put in front of it!

  13. We shall all see next week. Hey, maybe they are going to announce a takeover by the Government so they can advertise GM products. Anyways Micheal Jackson is selling out papers here too. To bad the draws weren't higher.

  14. I am an X-Gannetteer and I want to let all of you know that their is LIFE outside of the Gannett world. It was a tough decision to leave after 2 decades of service, but the world is full of new opportunities and we have to embrace them.
    My words of wisdom are to stop complaining, if you don't like the heat, get out of the kitchen and look for something else.
    Gannett was very good to me, but all good things must come to an end.
    The choices they are having to make are not easy ones.

  15. Isn't there a regulation that requires a publicly traded company to broadly disclose information that could impact its share price and not reveal it just on a blog.

  16. Yes. It's the SEC's Regulation FD, for full disclosure. This layoff would likely require a Form 8K, which is triggered by a so-called material event.

    Tip: Anytime a flack says they've got big news youd be foolish to miss, ask if they will 8K it. Works everytime. I learned that from Investigative Reporters and Editors.

  17. Well if they would get rid of the million dollar salaries....then...

  18. Apparently the NYT just moved a story citing anonymous GCI executives as confirming layoffs prior to July 8 but understating the 4,500 figure.

  19. From the NYT blog:

    "Gannett executives, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information, said the number of jobs affected would be significantly smaller than that, and the news would probably come sooner than July 8.

    "Tara Connell, the company’s chief spokeswoman, declined to comment on the matter, except to contend that numbers cited by Mr. Hopkins had often turned out to be incorrect."

    She speaks!

  20. Here's a question for you, Tara:

    Which community newspapers is Gannett planning to shutter for good? I ask this question because I subscribed to the Gannett-owned Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Just up the road, 40 miles away, is the Gannett-owned Tennessean. I have been called three times in the last four weeks by someone trying to get me to add on the Tennessean to my subscription (even though they already share about 90 percent of the content). This week, her call was different. When I said no, she said, "Then have you thought about going ahead and switching your subscription from the DNJ to the Tennessean?" I said no. Her response: "Well, you should think about doing that."

  21. Gannett in Florida is way top heavy with editors. It should cut them.


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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