Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Urgent: Dickey says 1,400 job cuts; most by July 9

Division President Bob Dickey (left) just sent the following memo to employees of Gannett's 84 community newspaper. Two of the company's biggest papers are not part of the division: USA Today and the Detroit Free Press.

To: U.S. Community Publishing Employees
From: Bob Dickey

I want to talk with you about our restructuring efforts, as we continue to battle these difficult economic conditions and the impact on our advertisers. With your help, our various cost savings initiatives are making a difference.

Nevertheless, we will need to implement job reductions to align our resources with the revenue realities we face. Currently each location is finalizing its plan, taking into consideration the local economy, results so far this year and the prospects going forward.

Each plan is different and designed to address the ongoing local needs. All of them, however, involved extremely difficult decisions. Approximately 1400 employees will be impacted by the job reductions across the division. Your publisher or general manager will communicate the local plans, and we expect the vast majority of the reductions will take place by July 9. In a select few cases, the implementation may take longer. There will not be any furloughs for the rest of the year.

I want to stress that the job reductions are not a reflection on these employees or their work. We truly value their many contributions and thank them for their efforts over the years.

Unfortunately, we must take these steps because the advertising environment remains challenged. There have been some promising signs of a recovery, but the reality is the improvements are not broad-based and the economy continues to be fragile.

Even so, we know the economy will improve. To be ready, we need to continue our transformation and maintain a strong financial position. We must publish our newspapers, produce our Web sites and pay down our debt. By taking all these steps today, we will be stronger tomorrow.

Measured against our peers in the media industry, we are healthy and capable of moving forward. We are in this position because we have proactively responded to the financial conditions with actions such as these.

We continue to see good ideas coming from all of you, and we are becoming more innovative everyday. This combination of forward thinking and good fiscal management will, I believe, ultimately result in a return to success for our company.

So, please keep those thoughts and ideas coming. As always, you can email me or call with your comments.

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. All: Sorry about the delay in posting this; I was eating dinner, with only my iPhone handy. I'll clean up the duplicate memos in the Real Time Comments forum shortly.

  2. You suck, Jim.

  3. That's a little harsh, don't you think? Jim's performing a great public service -- sort of like analyzing a train wreck as it occurs.

    I feel sorry for all my Gannettoid friends -- and for the American public generally as the newspaper industry dies. Going forward, Americans will never know what they don't know.

  4. Fuck you Bob, you junkie pile of crap. We should all throw our shoes at you.


  6. "Going forward, Americans will never know what they don't know."

    We don't know what was in Jim's performance reviews. He refuses to post them.

  7. listen to all the douchebags channel their fear at Jim...weak

  8. Anyone know if severance packages are going to be reduced? I heard a rumor that they might. That would truly suck. A reasonable severance package is about all I have to look forward to with this company at this point.

  9. Jim just likes to see the word Dickey.

  10. Haters, you gain nothing by spilling bile here. It won't save your job or help you prepare for the future.

    Instead, you should be collecting your contacts, your emails, your memos, your bookmarks so you will have them if the axe falls. If you are chosen to go, you may have no warning, and no time to pick up more than your lunch box.

    Check your finances. Do you have an adviser? Have you moved your 401k money out of GCI stock and into something stable? Have you requested your pension statement? Do it now. It only gets tougher after you leave.

    Are you ready for a job hunt? Have you updated your resume, copied your clips, polished your profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc, researched which jobs sites that are best for you?

    Have you investigated your state's unemployment comp laws? Don't wait; it's a complex and confusing process in many cases, and every state is different.

    None of this will hurt you if you escape the cuts. But don't fool yourself that you are too indispensible to be let go. You may never see it coming.

    If you go, you're going to need all your mental and emotional strength, so don't waste it on bitterness, recriminations and name-calling.

    Good luck to all. Hang in.

    Been There, Done That

  11. to 4:47 I want one too!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Gee, no 4,500, Jim?

    Sounds like your source was mistaken. Might want to check back with him/her.

  13. Who is the hack posting comments here? I really hope it's not someone associated with Gannett management/corporate. That would be very distatesful.

  14. It annoys me that he writes that 1,400 employees will be impacted. Wrong -- all employees will be impacted. The ones who lose their jobs, and the ones left behind to take on more work with fewer resources.

  15. Wow, the letter was a big surprise to me when I was sent it today.


    But that is an excellent post about polishing your resume. Grab your clips ... prepare your resume ... get ready for the worst.

    At least we have known about this for a month, thanks to Jim.

  16. As far as many of us are concerned ONE layoff is too many. Please stop with the silly taunting that someone got the numbers wrong.

  17. I agree with those who say, enough with the taunting over the numbers. From what I saw at my site today, corporate still doesn't really know the numbers; they just know they "need" to make cuts. They haven't even approved the plan that was submitted for my site.
    Add to that the fact that open positions will not be filled, which surely ratchets the numbers up.

  18. "We are in this position because we have proactively responded to the financial conditions with actions such as these."

    -Bob Dickey, memo

    Since when is laying off people, etc. after the fact, proactivity. This is PR line if I ever read one.

  19. Maintain a strong financial position? Well, that's a laugh. The reality is, they can't afford to not make a profit in any quarter, however thin it might be, because they have no credit left.

    If you did the math last quarter, the furloughs were the difference between a loss and a paper-thin profit.

    That's why the analysts were pushing them for how they were going to keep that up with furloughs. Well, as we now know, they aren't. Which makes the original "we're doing furloughs to avoid layoffs" they were dishing a joke.

  20. Jim may not have gotten the number right but he did get the layoff part right. Thanks Jim for everything you've done.

  21. Who said the number isn't right? They're still leaving out GCI staffers at USAT, Detroit and Corporate.

    Plus, who said the 4500 had to be all at once. They've probably going to phase it over the next three months.


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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