Jackson, Miss.: A double standard for layoff news?

Updated Aug. 15: The paper finally reported its layoffs today.

The Clarion-Ledger has bravely dragged Ku Klux Klan members to justice, no doubt at great risk to its own reporters and editors. So, it was pretty discouraging when I searched the paper’s website today, and found zilch about last week’s layoff of 20 Clarion-Ledger employees — right there in Jackson. Was the number too low to meet a self-imposed threshold for such news? Not likely, given today’s story about 25 layoffs at the Ameristar casino-hotel — a full 45 miles away, in Vicksburg:

(Confidential to Publisher Larry Whitaker: You may win a President’s Ring from Corporate for stuff like this. But you’ll be a weenie in the eyes of your employees. Plus, how do you think the Jackson business community feels about such selective reporting?)

Earlier: Here’s one of journalism’s toughest assignments

How did your Gannett newspaper or TV station cover news of its own layoffs or buyouts? 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.

[Image: today’s Clarion-Ledger, Newseum]

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35 Responses to “Jackson, Miss.: A double standard for layoff news?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    This raises a very important ethical question for newspapers. I hope the Clarion-Ledger will reconsider not reporting their own lay offs in the future.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    This happens across Gannett. A former Colorado publisher was reamed by corporate for publishing an article about internal layoffs. When the next round came six months later there was no article. Gannett has no journalism ethics. Didn’t you hear? Gannett is an information company not a journalism company.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Had a publisher at Springfield once kill a story on gas reimbursement rates paid by local businesses because it included the News-leader and turned out the paper was at or near the bottom!

    Your right. No more journalism. Just put up unedited government press releases.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    You’re absolutely right… My mistake hoping Gannett or Whitaker would consider ethics before the bottom line.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    If Gannett properties can’t be trusted to do it themselves, then it’s only fair that people use their respective web sites to do a little Citizen Journalism on their behalf.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    “ethics” is whatever gannett says it is.

    “ethics” is what let aly zoby drive an indy 500 pace car for a month, but probably wouldn’t let a racing writer test-drive one.

    “ethics” is what got a staff blogger who’d been given no limits on what he could write be fired for what he wrote, and be publicly humiliated.

    “ethics” is just one more weapon to beat up on the staff. any resemblance to proper moral conduct is an accident.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    The layoffs, however, were reported in the local alternative weekly and on at least one local TV station. So the story hasn’t gone unnoticed.

    Still, it does not excuse The Clarion-Ledger for its failure to report last Friday’s layoffs.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    True and not true. I’ve been mid-conversation about the layoffs several times in the last week and someone has come up to me and said: “The C-L laid people off?”

    The state’s largest daily – the place where most people get their news – doesn’t report lay offs, including their own, lots of people will never know about it.

    But I guess the Clarion-Ledger doesn’t want anyone to know about it.

  9. Dutch619m Says:

    The Louisville C-J doesn’t report on internal business, especially buy-outs negotiated by the Union. GCC/IBT local 619M was able to keep our photo-engravers (whose jobs were sent to Indy’s toning center)on the job at full pay for 6 months, they received 1 years pay, 1 years insurance,and then retirement insurance after that year, and $7,000 cash. Oh yeah,
    They also got to keep their dignity!
    For information on organizing your paper, whatever the department, call 1-800-411-9292.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    I was looking for the daily post about the plunging Gannett stock price. Gee, there wasn’t one and hasn’t been one for a few days now.

    Just for balance on this alleged Gannett “news blog,” I am happy to report the stock price was up $1.21today and is back to $18.89.

    I know this isn’t good news to the blog host and his anti-Gannett whiners. But it’s worth reporting, even here.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Yes. The stock price did indeed climb this week, riding the across-the-board enthusiasm in the market thanks to declining oil prices.

    Nothing was noted here this week because Gannett didn’t do anything to warrant the increase, instead riding the coat tails of Wall Street as many other businesses did.

    You can be sure Jim will celebrate an upswing in the stock price when Gannett does something innovative to warrant such an increase.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    This is SOP throughout the chain. GCI properties simply do not report bad news about themselves.

    It seems there are few analysts or biz journalists following all these bits and bites of negativity, so the cumulative damage is slipping under the radar. Which presumably is how GCI wants it.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    anon 11:07 get a life!!! every time the stock inches up a little you get on this blog crying and whining that there isn’t any post about it. And yet you call the people on this blog whiners. This blog is to try to help keep employees informed about a failing company that does not communicate well with employees. Anyone can check a stock price with a computer or a cell phone. Have some more Kool-Aid and roll up your sleeve so everyone in the newsroom can see your big “G” tattoo on your arm you loser!!!

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Sorry 11:07, I’ll care about the stock price when it goes back up to $85 and I can recoup all the money I’ve lost. Until that point, who really gives a crap?

  15. Anonymous Says:

    I think you all are being a bit unfair about the lack of a story on the C-L layoffs.

    There would have been one, but the reporter who usually handles such thing was among those cut.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    12:38 anon: Don’t know if you’re being serious or not (sarcasm doesn’t travel well on the Internetwebtubes), but it is pretty common that GCI papers are hot to report on other business layoffs, but, you know, “restructure” their employees out of jobs. You won’t find what’s going on in our plant in our news pages either.

  17. Jim Hopkins Says:

    @11:07 p.m. I post on Gannett’s stock price only as warranted. For example, if shares reach new lows, that’s news. Ditto if they reach new highs. It’s news, also, if volume is unusually high or low.

    I don’t routinely report daily closing prices, however. For that, I provide a link called “Current GCI stock price,” in the blue sidebar, on the right, under the section called “Gannett Links.”

  18. Anonymous Says:

    Back to no reporting on the Ledger layoffs, seems readers statewide were interested enough that they posted that news on Gannett’s forums for Hattiesburg American and Clarion Ledger. Someone also posted it for discussion on a non-Gannett site in the Hattiesburg community. Ethics aside, seems some Gannettoid in Mississippi would have viewed the layoffs as local news worth reporting. Just one more Gannett credibility buster at a time when credibility is key.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    The News-Press wrote a story..and an editorial..about the layoffs here. Nothing to hide and full disclosure.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    “I am happy to report the stock price was up $1.21today and is back to $18.89.”

    Thanks for stopping by, Craig!

    ($18.89? WOW. Really on the up-swing.)

  21. Anonymous Says:

    The New Jersey papers have all had reports about their buyouts or layoffs each time that they have ocurred.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    Those of you posting about Gannett papers doing stories about their own staff reductions, etc., should save your breath. It doesn’t fit the mindset of the anti-Gannett whiners who love to come on here and cry and moan about how overworked they are, how their company doesn’t care, how Gannett is so much worse than other media companies, etc.

    For example, when Gannett stock drops, it’s because the company stinks, the people who run it are idiots and we’re all soon out of a job thanks to blatant mismanagement.

    When it rises, even slightly, it’s becase oil prices dropped and the entire market rose. It’s NOTHING the company did to warrant any increase.

    If the majority of folks who post here are Gannett reporters and editors, it’s no one we struggle to achieve and maintain credibility with readers. You are completely one-sided and blinded.

    OK, whiners, jump my case again ….

  23. Anonymous Says:

    9:50 AM, I’m not a Gannett employee nor do I consider myself an anti-Gannett whiner. I am, however, a stockholder. I find it pretty hard to get excited over the stock price being just over $18 when I purchased it at $84.00 a few years back. If I knew then what I know now about the way Gannett treats its employees and the shady practices they engage in, I would have reconsidered my purchase. Now all I can hope for is that the company WILL do something on their own to increase the value of their stock rather than ride on the coattails of the economic changes. So far I’ve seen no evidence of that, and it doesn’t appear as though the employees are any happier today than they were years ago. How can a company perform well when the employees are so miserable? Maybe people would have a better outlook and stop complaning if this company would start listening to the needs of its employees. I understand that layoffs are necessary during times of recession. From what I can gather, the employees also understand this, they just want the company to be upfront with them. Why is this so difficult for YOU to understand?

  24. Anonymous Says:

    You must be a great investor is you kept a stock that was 80 right through the time it hit 18.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    My guess is that GCI will mostly keep its mouth shut about the reductions-in-force until the Q3 results come out. At which point, they will say something along the lines of “Yeah, the revenue is still drying up, but look at our bold, decisive, cost-cutting program!” Which may give the stock price a bump.

    The problem I see from a market standpoint is that investors are so deeply pessimistic about prospects for future growth that the only buyers will be buy-and-hold dividend collectors. Does anybody believe there are enough of those to get the stock back to even 25 bucks?

  26. Anonymous Says:

    Yo Dutch easy on the kool aid dude. You are all over the blog crowing about how you helped your friends out the door. Dignity my behind. Dignity don’t pay the rent my brotha! I know you guys love that slogan but wake up…They are unemployed!!!!

    By the way I am not Craig. Just wanted to get that in cause you guys are so whitty with the come backs!

  27. Anonymous Says:

    better to leave w/6 months of pay than w/jack, buddy

    if you don’t think so, give your next 6 months of pay to someone who got laid off and got nothing but a ticket to the unemployment line.

  28. Anonymous Says:

    It’s sad that journalists (so called) don’t understand how their paychecks are generated… Why is every other business allowed to make adjustments to their business model EXCEPT Gannett? You people should just go to work for another media company since this one isn’t meeting your expectations. Or maybe stage another protest by crapping in a bathroom at every site on the same day. That would show ‘em! You aren’t curing cancer out there.

  29. Anonymous Says:

    Amen anon 9:21. You said it all. Not everyone is a pissed off, $25K, newsroom employee. Some of us bleed the kool-aid! Hail to the President’s Ring!

  30. Anonymous Says:

    So now we’re calling it a business model adjustment rather than a grand Gannett transformation. Got cha.

    Is Gannett meeting anybody’s expectations these days?

  31. Anonymous Says:

    Anon 9:21:

    I think the posters here all VERY much understand how our paychecks are generated. It’s the way management, especially senior managers, are treating the staff that is likely most at issue for many. We are people, not dogs — and collectively, we’re pretty damn smart and we all know what’s going on. We just want a bit of truth, not bogus “keep your head up and focus on the job” bullshit or popcorn day that rings hollow. Despite what my editors say, they don’t care about me. And I know it. No one who really cares about me would allow me — or my peers — to work as much as we are, then pretend to be surprised to see us every time we’re there at odd times. I fully understand they have to adjust their model, and welcome them doing so since I think we could use a massive blowing up of many old practices … but jesus, treat me like a human being while you’re doing it.

  32. Anonymous Says:

    anon 9:36

    Please explain how you are being treated like a dog through all this. Seems like you agree that change needs to happen within Gannett but if the masses were included in the change process it would just be written about in this blog ahead of time which would futher stress the employee base and those who will have to leave. Do you know of a termination that was handled rudely or disrespectfully? My friend (who was severed) said their manager was very professional and caring though it all. We don’t get paid to make the difficult decisions and maybe there is a reason for that!

  33. Anonymous Says:

    No one is perfect here. Certainly not those making the decisions nor those writing these comments. The first ammendment protects us but who protects them?

  34. Anonymous Says:

    After Anon 9:36 AM wrote,
    “No one who really cares about me would allow me — or my peers — to work as much as we are, then pretend to be surprised to see us every time we’re there at odd times,”
    a different poster said, “Please explain how you are being treated like a dog through all this.”

    Amazing.

  35. Jim Hopkins Says:

    @9:23 pm wrote on 8/11: “If the masses were included in the change process it would just be written about in this blog ahead of time.”

    You are missing the point of this blog, and perhaps all blogs: Employees now decide when they get their information about Gannett. Management no longer controls the timing of information flow.

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