Unity ’08: GCI cuts cast doubt on diversity goals

The News-Press‘ retrenchment yesterday includes the shuttering of its Spanish-language weekly; the Saturday business-news section, and a Friday features section. The Fort Myers, Fla., daily also laid off 36 workers and axed another 10 unfilled jobs — about 6% of the workforce, the paper says today.

The print version of Gaceta Tropical, the Spanish-language weekly published since 2004, will die after next week, although some copy will continue online at Gacetatropical.com. The timing — on the eve of a high-profile national minority journalism conference starting Wednesday — couldn’t be worse for Gannett. The company is a major sponsor of Unity ’08 in Chicago, and comes when CEO Craig Dubow has been making a major push for more minority hiring.

Fort Myers is at least the second GCI paper to eliminate a Spanish-language section. The Home News Tribune in East Brunswick, N.J., recently dumped its version — plus one in Hindi. That sparked an angry letter to Corporate from its former editor, who noted that she wouldn’t be part of the company’s delegation to the big Unity ’08 minority journalists conference in Chicago, starting Wednesday.

“I personally find it very difficult to reach out to Latinos when my newspaper closed its Latino and Hindi publications and all the layoffs in our newsroom were minorities,” the former editor wrote, according to one of my readers.

Earlier: At Unity ’08, the color of sponsorships is green

Has your paper eliminated a minority-focused publication or program? 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 sidebar, upper right.

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15 Responses to “Unity ’08: GCI cuts cast doubt on diversity goals”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Uh, the language is Hindi. Hindu refers to a religion and an ethnic group.

  2. Jim Hopkins Says:

    I wondered about that, too. That’s word-for-word from the note I received.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    We’re too small to do any specific publications geared toward minorities, but in the last couple of months, we’ve been under significantly more pressure to include minorities in stories, photos, etc. It’s an issue that gets emphasized from time to time, but the powers-that-be seem to be especially focused on it this time around.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    The publication was called DesiNJ and was English-language copy for expats from the Indian subcontinent. They call themselves Desis (it kind of sounds like “daisy” but with a thicker S, “day-see”) and the nickname means “somebody from back home.”

    The minority people who were laid off had Spanish or Indian language skills first and English second. They couldn’t write for the daily papers.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Just a note minority-wise, when Greenville decided to drop three of its newsroom employees near the end of 2007, they picked two minorities to get the axe and all three were women. The editors they’ve hired since? White men.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    The Indy Star used to have diversity training sessions for the employees, usually a 2- or 3-day event. I thought it was helpful, but guess what, they went away. Not sure if it was before of after Gannett took over. I think people enjoyed them, for the most part.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Our diversity training ended when Gannett bought us, and the glass ceiling came down on women then. We reverted to ’50s mentality, that women are only qualified for features (women’s pages) management, and they don’t get invited to dine with the boys.

    Gays and minorities and anyone who had worked for Gannett before pretty much high-tailed out of there when Gannett came along.

    Gannett is a white male world, and the flaws in our coverage shine that bias for the world to see.

    We get the CYA reminder from time to time, which is a form email that instructs us to update the minority source list, but little of our reporting these days even has multiple sources. We call the bosses’ friends and have our satisfactory story.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    USA Today will be announcing the first Spanish National Newspaper at Unity.

    Jose Webber will be in charge of it!

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Hey let us not forget that whites are quickly becoming a minority themselves but no special privileges for them (male or female) no affirmative action and they foot the bill for all the rest of the minorities via higher taxes, higher insurance premiums, etc. I see nothing wrong with the job going to the one most qualified and if that means mastering the English language then so be it.

    Not us not forget a previous blog comment re: Desi and Nuestra advertising. The individual pointed out that businesses owned by Indians and/or Hispanics either didn’t want to advertise or if they did, wouldn’t pay their bill. And thats after being offered dirt-cheap advertising rates.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Anon 6:25 AM
    But, but—-I thought Gannett’s focus was local local local. Silly me.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Cherry Hill killed its Spanish weekly at least a year ago. Its staffers were laid off.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    “I personally find it very difficult to reach out to Latinos when my newspaper closed its Latino and Hindi publications and all the layoffs in our newsroom were minorities”

    That editor is a sweetheart. Where did she write that? or was that an anonymous message to you?

    one thing ot point out.. there was a glossy quarterly desi magazine and a weekly as well (same name for both).

  13. Karen Says:

    7/19 9:28 a.m

    You are soooo right on the ’50s attitude. In NJ there are currently no women on the sports staff in Asbury Park, where women had long been part of the landscape of the sports department. Before Gannett took over, the sports department there had five women on staff. After Gannett came in, one by one the women were forced out — either through subtle comments like “I’ll give you a pass on that email because you’re still full of hormones,” a comment that was made to me directly while I was being told my job was being drastically changed, which I’d gotten word of a few days before it happened — or they were transferred out for marginal reasons at best. There is no diversity in Gannett, not at the worker bee level.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Home News News Tribune in East Brunswick NJ got rid of 2 minority publications. One was a weekly geared towards Spanish communities written entirely in Spanish. The other one was Desi, which was geared toward Indians. Both publications lost money and both pretty much sucked. They were so blatantly pandering to try and show how politically correct they are and lost money in the process.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    There were several layoffs including people who have been with the company more then 20 years. I currently work in the East Brunswick office and this is some crazy stuff. most of the employees from East Brunswick were from the advertising department and the way they were shuffled out was uncalled for. They were not permitted to say there good-byes and were practically escorted out of the building. It is to the point that when we all see the grayed haired woman from HR in the building someone is going home for good. There were some good people let go and they will be missed. Joe, Theresa (who is replaced with someone from the Courier and making more money), Kristen, (employee of the year), Doreen, and the few others, Good luck to you all and best wishes.

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