In Cherry Hill, N.J., workers brace for bad news

“The mood here is grim. After worrying all weekend, we just want it to be over.”

— a Gannett Blog reader, commenting on Gannett’s mass layoff of 600 employees, starting today across the newspaper division.

27 Responses to “In Cherry Hill, N.J., workers brace for bad news”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Maybe if I slump down in my chair, they won’t see me. Maybe if I slump down in my chair, they won’t see me. Maybe…

  2. James A. Quirk Says:

    I can’t even imagine what it must be like trying to work through a period like this. I’m just glad I made the tough decision to leave the field when I did…I saw a lot of this coming.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    11:38, I’m hiding too.

    And if hunkering down behind my little wall starts to feel unsafe, I’m seeking shelter in the bathroom stalls for the rest of the day.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    12:11 PM – Sounds like me. After too many years of GCI management-directed death marches, I voted with my feet. Best decision I ever made.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    The decision to announces the layoffs last week and then drop the hammer this week borders on inhumane. It’s definitely cruel and unusual. There’s nothing quite like having a full weekend to worry about your future.

    And the CP’s HR person isn’t even in today. Nice.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    1:22 pm, this is where I get confused. You all were saying it is inhumane to think you have a job one day only to come into work the next to find out you don’t, why can’t management let us know ahead of time. Now you’re complaining because they gave you all a clue and time to put your affairs in order should you get notice and now you’re crying foul. Which way do you want it?

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Unless you’re one of the people waiting for the word, you wouldn’t understand.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Uh, announcing layoffs on Thursday and starting them on Monday is giving people almost no time at all to prepare. I think many people thought they had at least a week before the whip came down. Wrong.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    1:35, I agree with you on a certain level. I personally would prefer advance warning so I could save cash. But the time frame is only enough to allow people to prepare mentally. I think people are bothered Gannett was just about forced out the pocket on this — they would rather hear it from them first, not Jim. Still, I think it’s best they know now instead of having the ax fall unexpectedly. Showing up at work and learning that day is tackier.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    I agree, 2:45 pm. However, I think the day of an employee finding out anything from Gannett before Jim does is over. The way I see it, the word was given to Publishers from Corporate on Wednesday of last week to send the word out to the employees by Friday about the layoffs. Jim found out the same day as the publishers. The publishers didn’t even have a chance to print their letters to their employees before it was posted on this blog. The only way to avoid that happening again would be for corporate to send out the memos company wide and skip over the publishers at each paper. The only problem I see with that is each publisher’s situation regarding layoffs was different and you needed their input to put each site into perspective. How do you solve that problem?

  11. Anonymous Says:

    2:45 pm How do you solve that problem? SImple. Have the publishers send corporate a list of people they would put on a layoff list, and corporate then selects the number they want and mails a letter to all of them at the same time.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    2:54, this is 2:45. I’m not sure when the layoff plan was first conceived, given that a few papers had gotten out the gate a little early. It’s hard for me to see those layoffs as pure coincidence.

    The letters, near-carbon copies, did little for site-specific clarity. Still, I see your point. Honestly, I don’t think it’s terribad to disclose possible layoffs before publishers. I’m sure others disagree. I’d take preparedness over worker stress.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    The truth is that even giving a few days advance notice of very generalized info on these layoffs especially before a weekend is just plain cruel and inhumane! There is no other way to describe the manner in which Gannett is behaving.

    Gannett has proven time and again that it has no regard for employees and favors its incompetent high-level management in Virginia along with the hundreds of drones who work there and contribute next to nothing.

    At my paper, the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, NJ, most of us expect to see the idiots that run the place keep the incompetents and those who are the butt kissers. There are people working here who should have gone years ago but have been kept around for a variety of reasons including (probably) some who have ‘something’ on someone or several people.

    In addition to the lower-level losers who really should go, the publisher, the ME, AD and some of their direct reports should go first for the betterment of the future.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    11:38 Way too funny!!! Thanks for the chuckle.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    In my 3:46 email, I forgot to mention that the executive editor, who was dumped on Cherry Hill from Nashville should go too, but, Gannett seems to like to keep fools like him for several reasons.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    How are the layoffs being handled at the different sites? Letters, emails, special littlel meetings?

  17. Anonymous Says:

    So from this date forward it behooves all of you to just consider yourself laid-off. This way you may take a proactive stance and begin to prepare for round 4, round 5, etc. The writing is on the wall and you would be fool to think you will be spared. Save money. Redo your finances. Rewrite your resume and send it out. Get some training. Secure health benefits elsewhere. Do whatever you need to do to adjust and if you still find your job secure 1 year, 2 years, etc. down the line, so be it (I won’t say great, that’s up to you). Don’t play the role of the victim, it’s not professional and it’s not good for your well-being.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    Anyone what happened or what’s happening in Wilmington?

  19. Anonymous Says:

    I agree totally with 8:15 pm. Read the Morningstar report in the responses under the (Confidential to USA publisher Craig Moon)list, and you see that the economic forecasters see a bad 5 year period ahead.
    That means we are all in the same boat, regardless of whether you get a pink slip or not this week.
    Take this week’s experience as due warning, and create a “just in case” bank account that will have at least enough money to last you for six months minimum. Pay off your credit cards and get in the best financial shape you can. Yes, it is hard, but you and those with families who depend on you have got to do it.
    If we are all wrong and everything turns out to be peaches and cream, you will still have the cash reserve, so you won’t lose anything by doing this. Makes absolute sense to me.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Looking at the number of people laid off in the Jersey group over the last year+, it’s just a matter of time before they find me.
    I’m ready whenever they are.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Dear 1:22 pm

    The HR person had a sudden death in her immediate family late last week. Get your facts straight before you toss accusations of inhumanity around.

    This is bad enough without making it worse!

  22. Anonymous Says:

    The layoffs have apparently started in Cherry Hill. According to inside reports, at least two people have been escorted out without even being allowed to gather their personal effects. Just when you think your opinion of a company couldn’t sink any lower, it does. You stay classy, Gannett.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    The way I understand it is that this workforce reduction will ‘be the last – unless revenues go up considerably.”

    What? ..”goes up considerably?”

    Do those of you that are still employed truly think that Gannett giving it’s loyal seasoned workers the boot after years of work will actually make them more money from ad sales and circulation increases? It the downward trend suddenly going to change and money is going to start pouring in? No, I really don’t think so.

    Do the research. the downward spiral is across the industry as a whole (hole). “The times they are achangin.” Cutting the “team” as they called it at the paper I worked for will never increase revenues. I say this because I know for a fact that the job I was doing is now being spread out to at least 6 other people, all of which were my juniors. I was handling it fine but I was over the obviously acceptable age limit that Gannett had imposed and therefore sent to the gallows. Before you say I must not have been doing a good job, all my reviews were “commendable.”

    But enough about me.

    People get their news in newer, quicker ways now. While there will always be some kind of publication called a newspaper, the actual product is in the metamorphosis stage. Competition from 24 hour news stations and the immediacy of the internet has changed our way of life. Just as the era of the smoky newsrooms and the “extra, extra, read all about it” shouts from the newsboys on the corner had all faded away, so has the way “it used to be.”

    For example, it went from hot type (Linotype) to “cold type” and everyone bought Compugraphic equipment. How long did that last? What, a couple of days? Papers were still paying off their compugraphic equipment before technology had rendered it virtually useless.

    Enter desktop publishing. Followed by the internet.

    What happened to pagers?

    Now that circulation and advertising sales are dwindling and classified advertising, the mainstay o many newspapers is disappearing to eBay, the industry is hurting and hurting badly. The gods in the chrome and glass temples have been advised by those in the know that trouble is looming on the horizon and if they want to maintain their way of life, the herd must be thinned and thinned quickly.

    Tell me, why aren’t salaries and bonuses being reduced at the director level before destroying the lives of those under them?

    The mood as I understand it is dismal for those still there. What a nice environment Gannett has created for it’s underlings. Workers, undermining other workers to attempt to retain their jobs and continue in the atmosphere they are presently in.

    LIke I quoted from Bob Dylan “the times they are a’changin’.”

  24. Anonymous Says:

    I was one of the “35” in Cherry Hill, 7 from classified, all but one in the detail department, one person in retail, not sure about the other departments. Anyone left should really think about polishing up their resumes. Can anyone tell me why, if money is so tight, did they pull the gasoline tanks our of the ground, fill in the hole and reblacktop it and also spend the money painting the outside and spending money and time installing new tiles inside?
    Sure sounds like someone is getting ready for a sale.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    funny… they dug out the tanks in the neptune building as well….

  26. Anonymous Says:

    newspapers are more concerned with what they are losing rather than what they could be gaining.

    instead of budget cuts, how about investing in new non-traditional mediums. You have to spend money to make money. Your earning potential is infinitely greater than your saving potential.

    find some small start-ups with great ideas and hire them. its not that hard. how do you think google does it? with a board room full of a bunch of old guys grumbling about the good old days? or a bunch of young innovators blazing new and exciting paths in technology?

    sure we can cut back on the print product (we make more money from printing commercial products anyway, don’t we), but don’t dissect the vast and invaluable network of news-gatherers we have in place (reporters, photographers).

    the one thing reporters have over bloggers is integrity (at least they used to anyway).

    as an internet user, i know if i read something on CNN or a news site its going to be more credible than some guy’s blog.

    gannett should stop thinking ‘we are a newspaper, we have to save the newspapers’ and start thinking more along the lines of ‘we have information, people need information, we are going to be the ones that get it to them in the best, most reliable, most credible, and most time saving way’.

    forget the paper part of it, thats an old hat, the medium is always going to change. if gannett wants to forever stay synonymous with ‘paper’ rather than ‘news’ then it’ll get what it deserves. but if gannett can forget the ‘paper’ and stick with ‘news’ and evolve, adapt, there might be a chance.

    just like many years from now there’ll be some new form of media out there that will oust the internet.

    holy crap this is so frustrating. Gannett has resources, how about we start using them to revolutionize the internet, rather than to try and defeat it (which is a quixotic approach at best).

  27. Anonymous Says:

    Wow – it’s about time that the house cleaning start at the CP, especially in detail – about 20 years to many there.

    What about those positions at the top that need to be cut? Huge savings there, due to all the union salaries “enhancing” the executive salaries. There are very qualified people at this newspaper, but they don’t get noticed.

    I bet the newsroom now wishes they would have went union a few years bak – at least that would have saved some. This department is the reason why there are subscribers anyway.

    They remaining staff should start looking – it’s not going to get any better. I would suggest this is only the beginning.

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