Reader: Pubs, OCs ‘threatened with extinction’

Regarding my growing paper-by-paper list of last week’s 600 layoffs, a reader’s comment includes three especially interesting thoughts:

  • Most of the publishers and operating committees would like to see this done better but have been threatened with extinction if they don’t do exactly what they are told.
  • If the layoffs only affect the community newspapers division, President Bob Dickey had a lot to say on how many from each region and what the distribution is by paper. I notice everyone has been beating up the publishers, but for the most part, they were given guidelines on what to say and how to do this. And those guidelines came from . . . I don’t know, maybe Tara Connell will tell Jim in the next life.
  • I’m waiting for the year-end report, where the number of employees left is published. 46,100 in December 2007 vs. ????? in December 2008. There are a lot of positions being lost through attrition that aren’t being publicized. The next annual report will include the true reckoning.
Join the debate, in the original post.

Earlier: OC members ‘as miserable as anyone else’

10 Responses to “Reader: Pubs, OCs ‘threatened with extinction’”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Apparently the person who updates Gannett.Com was a casualty as well. The last press release was
    August 6, 2008
    Gannett announces executive appointments in Louisville, Sioux Falls, and Reno

    I couldn’t find anything related to the layoff announcement. Also I haven’t seen Fridays Executive News Report. Did it have any mention of the employee armmagedon?

  2. Anonymous Says:

    This is going to be an unpopular comment on this site, but I think a lot of these papers are still overstaffed compared to what is happening elsewhere in the industry. Take a look at Singleton’s San Francisco Bay operations for the future of journalism, where a universal desk runs and edits several papers. We are already seeing editing and commercial functions sent overseas on a contract basis, and newspaper presses turned into other operations in down-time. I never thought I would find a Gannett paper that was overstaffed, but it is hard for me to justify the size of the staffs on several of these papers. I won’t pick on them, but I know others who feel the same. The other observation I have is that this economic downturn looks like it is going to be with us for a while, so we have to get fit and slim.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    The incredible shrinking Gannett Company. 49675 employees at the end of 2006. 46100 at the end of 2007. A reduction of 3575 or 7.2% due to attrition, layoffs, buyouts and sale of subsidiaries. That was accomplished without much fanfare or notice. 7.2% of the 2007 year end staffing of 46100 would be a RIF of 3318, which would leave Gannett employment at 42782. So the question is what is the over/under for Gannett yearend 2008 employment. I’m guessing 42600. Anyone else with any insights?

  4. Anonymous Says:

    8:16, if the numbers published for employee counts at various papers were accurate, your comment might hold some water. But given that we know some of them are way off, I think you’re right, your comment will be unpopular, because it doesn’t reflect reality.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    I’m not nearly as curious about seeing the staff count in the 2008 annual plan as I am in seeing the pending litigation numbers.

    Face it. Boomers have challenged and strained every system imaginable—partly because there are just so darned many of us, and partly because we can!

    I can’t imagine my generation settling for less than fairness in work and retirement.

    If Gannett’s reduction-in-force plan is a good one, it will be forward- looking and age neutral. If it’s designed to deliberately dump people older than 40, that’s called age discrimination. I’m confident my generation will simply refuse to support that.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    The plan took everything and everyone into consideration. And yes, newspapers were told a number and to deal with it. Local OCs in many cases would rather eat rat poop on Fear Factor than go through this. You would know if you were one.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    12:49: I can not feel sorry for OCs. Not all sites took everyone and everything into consideration, that is total BS! In Westchester there are managers that survived this week that were offered buyouts in December but turned them down because they knew they were protected. They still have very high paying jobs and no one knows why they survived this round.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I disagree that the RIF plan took everything into consideration. There’s one key missing piece–the future.Where are the organizational charts that clearly show the positions and functions that will support the grand transformation to Gannett’s profitability?

    Come on. Wasn’t this transformation announced a few years back? I would think the OCs and publishers would be excited by now, and I would think they would be able to clearly articulate (and defend) every detail of their new organizational structures.

    I would think that they would be able to explain clearly to employees why certain job functions just no longer fit in with the grand plan and why job elimination/consolidation is necessary.

    If the company keeps publishers and higher ups who either refuse or lack the skills necessary to put a vision into action, isn’t it time for a change at the upper levels?

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Anybody think about the implications/impact of a mass HOME DELIVERY CARRIER EXODUS caused by: increased fuel costs $0.90-to-$3.90, no increase in their rates for 10+ years, loss of customers and smaller customer tips?

    I heard that at the Observer-Dispatch in Utica NY (non Gannett paper), one center had 57 carriers leave in a short period an the Circulation Managers WERE NOT delivering more than 1,000+ papers per day…..not enough company employees?

  10. Anonymous Says:

    When will managers be layed off. Most of the Gannett sites are loaded with managers. These layoffs have been going on for over a year has there been a manager get axed yet. Reason I bring this up is it goes to show that corporate or for that matter the publisher at each of these sites does not know what is going on beneath them work wise. They just know what they have been told by existing management below them. Well some of these managers are going to lie and misrepresent all the way to the end. They are told to eliminate someone in there department so they do and the decision is usually political its a matter of who they don’t like nothing related to work in most cases.

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