Dozens of layoffs reported today at N.J. papers

Updated at 10:10 a.m. PT: “Your information was correct about the New Jersey layoffs,” a reader just told me in an e-mail. “I guess today is the first day of the rest of my life.”

Earlier: Several of my readers are now telling me that 55 employees were laid off today at newspapers including the Asbury Park Press, the Home News Tribune, the Courier News and The Daily Record. One reader says those who lost their jobs will be able to interview for open positions at each of the newspapers.

Any forced layoffs would suggest Gannett’s struggling group of six N.J. newspapers was unable to reach cost-savings goals when management offered buyouts three weeks ago to nearly 170 employees at five of the papers. Management had warned layoffs were likely if an insufficient number of employees agreed to leave voluntarily.

Can anyone confirm what I’ve been told — and add more details? Leave a note in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, use this link from a non-work computer; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

26 Responses to “Dozens of layoffs reported today at N.J. papers”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Jim: What do you hear about the New York papers? Don’t they have bigger staffs to cut than the New Jersey chain? Or is the NY chain next on the list?

  2. Anonymous Says:

    can anyone put names of few people who got laid off??

  3. Anonymous Says:

    NY papers have to be next, the cost to gas up those trucks to deliver a worthless product has to be killing the company. But not to worry the Information Center will save the day.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    APP staffers were notified by memo this morning about the 55 layouts at APP, THNT, Morristown and the Courier News. More than one staffer came in, found memo on desk and freaked, thinking they were the ones being laid off. Newsroom does not appear to the affected by layoffs at APP – but no one in management is telling the staff how the numbers break down at each paper. Same sort of non-information went on during buyouts, no one ever got the whole staff together to explain what was going on, or, god forbid, hold an information session for all those offered the buyout. So much for working for an alleged communications company.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    I can confirm that I was on of the people from The Asbury Park to get hit with this lay off.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    …information sessions for all those offered the buyout? No one said anything about a buyout, that was last week’s news. These people were simply packed up and walked out of the building!

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Good fortune awaits those who will be laid off. It will suck in the short-term, but a greater good will be revealed.

    Collins can have his millions. He and others will have to try to live with themselves.

    Let it go.

  8. Anonymous Says:


    How about a new vote:

    “The most recent person FIRED in my Gannett department was:”

    Results should be interesting

  9. Anonymous Says:

    So far (as of 5/29/08 @ 4pm), no layoffs at The Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, NJ and The Vineland Daily Journal in Vineland, NJ. A question many have: Those who were “offered” buyouts and did not take them in Cherry Hill, are they targeted to be dumped by Gannett? Reports are that only about 88 (or so) people took the buyouts in NJ where Gannett was looking for 166. Now with 55 dumped today that brings the total to about 143 of our colleagues gone! Anyonje got a feeling on this?

  10. Anonymous Says:

    The Board of Directors should be made aware as to how unprofessionally this has been handled. This is not how one treats “assets.” The assets, people, that pay for their fees and the salaries of all employees of the corporation.

    You would expect better from a Fortune 100 firm.

    Donovan, Riddle, and Dubow ought to be written up.

    Take that…Mon cherie.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    I worked for the once-proud Asbury Park Press for 16 years. The paper began an almost immediate decline when Gannett purchased it. Collins decimated the newsroom, took away Sunday and general assignment positions and eliminated most of the specialty beats. He also gutted the statehouse bureau. All of those changes resulted in more and more work piled on a dwindling metro staff. Gannett also began a subtle campaign around 2000 to get older newsroom people to leave by transferring them out of beats where they were the most useful and happy into positions where they knew they would be miserable and quit.
    I lasted a year after I was suddenly transferred out of a county I had covered for many years to a metro spot in Neptune. My first few days I didn’t even have a computer to work on.
    I stuck it out for a year and quit. The morale was terrible then and I can’t even imagine what it must be like now.
    My heart goes out to all my colleagues who were so unceremoniously dumped by Gannett, severance package or not.
    Now you are left with a paper covered by much younger reporters with no institutional knowledge, no guidance and too many towns to cover.
    It’s not even a newspaper anymore.
    The Press is dead. Gannett killed it.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    To anonymous @ 2:27 pm: The people who declined the buyouts in East Brunswick were not the people laid off in East Brunswick, so I don’t think people who declined buyouts will be “targeted.”

  13. Anonymous Says:

    3:38 PM your story is so typical. What’s really sad is the loss of credibility that the media has had because of what you described. How can we believe a company when the expose corruption in public places when they in turn practice many of the same immoral (if not illegal) tactics themselves? J. Lyle Kinmouth is spinning in his grave.

  14. Jim Hopkins Says:

    @3:38 p.m.: Hear, hear! (Or is it: here, here?) Any other Asbury Park alumni here to tell stories?

  15. Anonymous Says:

    I wonder how the Courier-Post and Daily Journal avoided this, especially since I know some employees did not take the offered buyouts. I’m still very nervous, especially with @2:27’s math. There was an emergency Operating Committee meeting around 2pm today in Cherry Hill. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

    To my colleagues up north, good luck. My thoughts are with you.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    At the Home News Tribune, a long-time newsroom veteran took the buyout. On his last day, he received an in-office pizza party. Of course it was paid for by the employees. This guy was a great copy editor and gave over 20 years service and Gannett couldn’t even buy a pizza or wish him well. Gannett has truly become a pathetic, disgusting company that has the morals of a maggot.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    I disagree with the above statement; “Gannett has truly become a pathetic, disgusting company that has the morals of a maggot” can NOT be true! Maggots have MUCH better morals…

  18. Jim Hopkins Says:

    Hello, all! Please avoid personal attacks on individuals. I just spiked one comment for that reason — and don’t want anyone else to be disappointed when their comment doesn’t show up here.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    Jim – I notice names being dropped all over the place on this blog from shareholders and board members all the way down to publishers, etc. Why can’t we mention any of the directors and managers on the local level?

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Maggot morals? Gannett?? Yup! The shoe fits! Just think about the “Value Selling Techniques” that they rammed down our throats. I for one, needed to sit down and examine my conscience about putting their technique into practice. Hey Gannett! I guess your ROBBERY techniques aren’t working so well for you…huh?

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Anonymous on 5/31:

    You guys were far too generous to that editor. He was dead weight for years. He should have bought YOU the pizza.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    At the Daily Record (Morristown) those laid off were called in at 9am as soon as they got to the office. It couldn’t be done at %pm the day before? Oh that’s right right, at $4.00 a gallon they want to knock them down first, then kick them.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    At the Daily Record, you’re lucky you didn’t find out by having the publisher send you out to his car to fetch his water and finding your layoff notice on his windshield and the doors locked behind you.

    That assignment may have been Collins’ ultimate revenge.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    There was only one person at the Home News in EB to take the buyout..There were alot of people let go at HNT a few weeks ago and they were quite surprised because we were all told that no one was losing their jobs abd that we were all safe until we were called in the office with Skip and Susan and were told that they no longer had their jobs. They kept the losers and suck ups and of course th ehigh pitched bobbie popper, but let some really good people go

  25. Anonymous Says:

    Some of the people they let go in the advertising department at HNT are now working in advertising at the Courier News…I hear they are still missing one position @ Courier Advertising (in real estate) other than that, they are fully staffed advertising-wise.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    Someone in my department at the Daily Record came in to work that day and I guess they missed him before he got to his desk to discover he could not log on to his email or any servers. We all knew about the layoffs before he came in at 1pm. So once I heard he couldn’t get onto his mail, I knew. What a way to find out. Heartless jerks.

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