New Gannett budget cuts hint at huge job losses

Racing to shore up unprecedented losses in revenue and profits, Gannett is now quietly engaged in an aggressive new round of budget cuts that could wipe out as many as 2,300 jobs, or 5% of the company’s workforce.

The latest cuts were revealed today, when the Springfield News-Leader reported that GCI is consolidating finance and accounting for 67 of its newspapers and TV stations — moving the work to two new service centers at company locations in Indianapolis and Springfield, Mo. The shift will wipe out a net 167 jobs, the paper says — with the possibility of more consolidation to come. “Gannett may move other services at its more than 100 newspaper and broadcasting sites to the Springfield and Indianapolis service centers,” the story says.

Gannett hasn’t disclosed details of the new budget cuts, including any final target. The consolidations at Indianapolis and Springfield follow similar shifts involving customer service, photo-toning, TV station graphics, advertising art production, and copyediting work. The company’s silence has created even more uncertainty for the company’s approximately 46,000 employees.

“Anyone have a rough estimate of how many Gannett papers have offered buyouts now?” a Gannett Blog reader in Alabama said in a comment yesterday. “I’m in Montgomery, and we haven’t heard any talk of it, but the recent rash of buyouts has many people nervous.”

Rumors swirled last week that the company planned to ax perhaps 1% of payroll, based on June levels. But recent buyouts and layoffs in Cincinnati; Jackson, Miss.; Detroit; Fort Myers, Fla., and Honolulu, have been in the range of 5% of their workforces. If that higher figure were applied across Gannett, combined job cuts would be close to 2,300.

“Every newspaper will face this in the very near future,” a reader here says. “The ‘loser’ papers (those with publishers with the 60’s mentality of 30%-40% profit margins frozen in their brains) are the first to be affected. Cincy is a classic example. They have/had 900 employees? It’s a wonder they aren’t looking for 250 buyouts.”

Budget cuts at your Gannett workplace? Please post details 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.

[Image: today’s News-Leader, Newseum]

26 Responses to “New Gannett budget cuts hint at huge job losses”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Bring on the buyouts! This company, its top editors and others in positions of power are simply toxic to anyone with an ounce of integrity. It’s not what they do, it’s how they do it. Zero people skills. They all seem to manage from the same horrid book. Management for 6-year-olds. Frankly, getting away from the folly of “merging” and the daily lies would be a blessing for some of us 50-plus vets at USA TODAY who once cherished journalism and who honestly hoped for better days after the last round of buyouts. Thought that was the low. Well, folks, it’s gotten far worse.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I’m pretty down on Gannett and our chosen trade … but I’m in awe of your misery. Good god.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Typical Gannett ineptitude…instead of formally announcing what appears to be a company-wide strategy to buyout employees – and in short-order, Gannett’s top leadership would rather let employees at each business unit wonder if they are next, let alone if at all. If there’s a concerted plan say so, when and where. If not, then communicate that too.

    Randomly nibbling at the bones is a great way to lead to billion dollar company, albeit shrinking one. Not! And, with communication skills and moves like this, Gannett is virtually guaranteeing that it will continue to shrink.

    Note to Horning and Shalala: Where the hell is your guidance and leadership on this?

  4. Anonymous Says:

    That is the way the Asheville Citizen Times does it. They do not want you to quit so they just lead you on like a big tease. Just ask anyone in the Ad Services Dept. They are all losing sleep because of the fear of being next. Come on, just say it!!! Your next on the list. Do they train the Operating Committee to be big teases at the expense of productivity.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Smaller Gannett papers are getting beat up badly. It’s not just the metro papers. It will hurt more at some of the small papers because they have been cut deeply in the past. Perhaps they all can be automated from Springfield, Mo.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    It is so sad that the Gannett culture is to cause as much psychological damage and fear as possible in their employees.

    That is downright immoral to say the least.

    As if the jobs aren’t difficult enough with all the terminations, they take glee in driving out employees using fear and harassment.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    We’re in the NJ group and word was circulating today that more layoffs are coming. Work around my office is almost at a standstill, and none of the managers seem to be concerned. Absenteeism has grown and again, managers don’t seem to be concerned.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    At The Courier-Journal in Louisville, we were told this afternoon that approximately 10 of us in the Finance Department will lose our jobs due to the setup that is being created in Indianapolis. This happened immediately after being optimistically introduced to the new publisher. Great way to end the day . . .

  9. Jamie Says:

    Word has quietly been circulating at the Democrat (Tallahassee) that the ax will be swinging this week or next. It would be a shock since we just went through a round of layoffs earlier this year and buyouts shortly after. We were lead to believe that all the necessary fat had been trimmed, not that there was much to begin with…

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Our accounting department was told about the job cuts in meetings this afternoon. I have the impression that local management is not at all happy with the way it’s been handled by corporate. Isn’t it possible to tell the employees before it appears on newspaper web sites, since a lot of people are going to be affected? They’ve probably been working on this for a long time.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    That’s what’s upsets most of us at our paper… we’re not happy about losing the jobs… but we’re more upset the way it’s being handled… They’ll flat out lie to your face saying nothing is going on or keep it all secret and then drop the bomb… No time to prepare… that’s why anyone that does not see the writing on the wall…. get your affairs in order so when it does….

  12. Anonymous Says:

    do most ganett papers announce bad news about 4 p.m. on fridays? it is in indy. when i told friends in management for other big companies, they were shocked. said that was the worst way, likely to make people go postal bc they had all weekend to drink and think.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Have any of the finance folks who’ve been told they will soon lose their jobs to consolidation been apprised of any details? You know, details such as when this may happen? Will there be any severance packages? If so, what will those severance packages be? And, finally, can any of those folks go to work at the newly consolidated locations in Springfield and Indianapolis? Details, we need details!

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Interesting dynamic in Asheville: Ad Services jobs are being cut, newsroom positions are running dark (Ex: Executive Editor was removed in a company-wide email in May with no public announcement – and no replacement yet), and “Citizen Journalists” and “Correspondents” bylines are filling the news pages more often than staff bylines. Oh, by the way, they sent the sports editor who has never actually covered (or written about) SEC football or ACC basketball in 4 years to Beijing Freaking China for two weeks.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Here in Detroit we just completed a second round of buyouts offered in the past year. You had to get your name in by July 18th and most that took it were out by August 1.

    There is no word (yet) on whether our Finance jobs are being centralized but if they are, it sure would have been nice to know that a few weeks back as eligible employee’s were deciding whether or not to take the buyout.

    It’s like the company intentionally withholds material information. As an earlier poster said they have had to have been working on this for a while now. They should have let everyone know so that they could factor the outsourcing in as they were deciding whether or not to take the buyout. My bet is a lot more people, especially Finance, would have taken it.

    Morally and ethically Gannett fails completely in employee relations…..

  16. Anonymous Says:

    7:17 – According to an article in the biz section of yesterday’s Springfield News-Leader it’s all going to be completed by March 2009.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    In Louisville (Finance/Accounting), we were told that those that stay until the end of the coversion will be eligible for severence pay – otherwise, no severence. We can apply for the “new” jobs that will be created in Indianapolis, but for 200+ getting the ax, there will only be 50 or so jobs available to fill.

    We were given the March 09 deadline, but told it could be anytime between now and then – we were not given any type of schedule as to where Louisville was on the list. Still in shock – more details shared as they are known.

  18. Dutch619m Says:

    When they replaced our photo-engravers at the Louisville C-J with the “toning center” we were able to negotiate a package that included 1 years pay, 1 years insurance and a $7,000 cash bonus. Do you think the company will match that for the good folks in Finance?

  19. Anonymous Says:

    As a former OC advertising director with Gannett for sixteen years, I’ll offer a suggestion. You won’t and can’t change most if any of Gannett’s style, method, and dogma. It is too far ingrained.

    On a personal level, you can read The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz and help to get your own life back in order, or headed in the right direction.

    I sold the Gannett Gold Ring a few years back. And finally have let go of the past.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    How much did the ring bring?

  21. Anonymous Says:

    $500 million in total advertising revenues. Not enough.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    I too am from a NJ newspaper, and i have to tell you, it is scary here. Our DitZ manager runs around without a clue in her head – her idea of motivating us is to throw up in our faces what another newspaper (MTDR) is doing, and berating us in the middle of the floor. Several people have resumes out – we will all probably need them.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    RE: 9.01PM: The sad thing is that the only reason she pits us against the MTDR is because her husband is the Ad Director there. It’s as simple as that. Seems to me that if she were to focus on the success in her own backyard, maybe it would make a difference!

  24. Anonymous Says:

    In the NJ papers, when circ was outsourced, they got 1 week for every year and benefits for as long as those weeks hold out. That isn’t a lot of time for many of us. That is why I had a resume out Wednesday night after we found out. Would not mind the package that those from Louisville got or the ones at the Star Ledger (another NJ paper) got (1 yr pay, 1 yr benies).

  25. Dutch619m Says:

    Remember now, the photo-engraver buyouts in Louisville,were negotiated by GCC/IBT Local 619M.
    For info on organizing you paper call 1-800-411-9292

  26. Anonymous Says:

    I’m still waiting for a public company doing this kind of cost cutting to start with salary cuts at the top and work down. If you’re a senior decision maker in a declining business, have some integrity and decline your own compensation costs along with everyone else’s. I know I’m probably just dreaming but it would be refreshing to see!

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