S.O.S.: How many more get thrown overboard?

[Titanic: They thought it wouldn’t sink, either]

[Captains running out of . . . options?]

CEO Craig Dubow, Chief Financial Officer Gracia Martore, and newspaper division chief Bob Dickey are now leading the mass layoff of 600 newspaper employees — plus, the elimination of another 400 vacant jobs. The goal: stop Gannett shares from sinking even more.
Those cuts were disclosed last Wednesday. One week later, many of the division’s 30,000 shell-shocked employees still don’t know whether they have jobs. And Gannett’s stock? It’s plunged 10% more.

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30 Responses to “S.O.S.: How many more get thrown overboard?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I’m reposting my earlier comment from another thread…because it just seems so appropriate.

    I just have to say that it’s been a long, tiring and exhausting day. While I am still employed, I have now seen the light and intend to take matters into my own hands.

    I’ve suffered at the hands of Gannett’s ill-conceived management philosophy for long enough. I’m getting my resume out there, I’m going to back to school and finding a new direction. I do not want to find myself in this position another month or two down the road.

    Listen up, Gannett: Your best and brightest are leaving because you are too hard-headed to embrace the ideas and knowledge that your employees posess. Instead to choose to insulate and isolate yourselves, convinced that you have all the wisdom, all the good ideas and the power.

    Well, your arrogance will be your downfall. You can’t find it within your nature to trust your employees enough to listen to them and consider that they might actually know something. Instead, you call all the shots, deal out the directives and play lunchtime monitor.

    By the way…if your managers are so adept at noticing when someone is five minutes late back from lunch, how come they never seem to notice when an employee “skips” lunch to complete a project or stays 15 minutes late with no compensation? In part, it’s this kind of narrow-minded, nit-picking with employees that put this company in the boat it’s in.

    That boat is the Titanic. The ship is sinking. And I, for one, am grabbing a life raft and a life.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I hear there is another Publisher meeting tomorrow, wonder what more cuts we will make?

  3. Anonymous Says:

    @9:40: I’m so with you on that! I started selectively applying for jobs that caught my eye two months ago. And you know what, people are interested…. I’m getting interviews.
    I thought it would be depressing to look outside of newspaper jobs for the first time in 20 years. It’s actually exciting and liberating.
    Yes, I might take a pay cut — but I’ll gain a huge quality of life boost.
    Folks, start looking now! If you play it right, maybe you can get severance AND a new job (because there seem to be many posters here who believe another big round of job cuts is coming in December.)
    Best wishes to all. Stay strong.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I’m wondering if the ones who got severance now are lucky. Who knows what conditions will be like three months or six months from now?

  5. Anonymous Says:

    I just believe that layoffs, newspaper closings or whatever else, if it is not accompanied by any sense that the company BELIEVES in itself, then no amount of cuts will convince Wall Street.

    This is a time to go FOR something — to prove the death of newspapers is not inevitable, to show we CAN make big money online by bringing a whole new category there, to talk about the future instead of getting rid of the past.

    It is called the ‘vision thing,’ Gannett execs, and so far the only vision you’re showing is the rear view mirror — where objects are closer than they appear.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    sorry anonymous 10:54p, you still believe they dont want the death of newspapers….

  7. Anonymous Says:

    “It is called the ‘vision thing,’ Gannett execs,”

    “Vision 2000” or “V2K” (as it is not so fondly remembered) was foisted upon Arizona Republic employees back in ’99 by ex-Gannettoid Chip Weil… “The Vision” directly led to the sale of the Republic to Gannett, much to the disgust of most of most involved. A set up if there ever was one. “Chippy” was well compensated.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I don’t think they know what they want. I wouldn’t even mind transitioning from newspapers if they gave any clue that they knew what they were switching TO.

    Instead, they buy these little rinky-dink online things, as if high school sports and moms connecting (both worthy things but get real), are some kind of grand strategy.

    What Gannett has as its prime assets are its newsrooms (excuse me. Information Centers). By paring those to bare bones only means that when the company finally does settle on a direction, there will be not enough hands to produce it.

    We all know what every newsroom — big like at USA TODAY or small like the newsrooms the rest of us work in — need to do new things. But we can hardly cover our communities let alone step into the new digital age with the meager forces we have left.

    It’s a ridiculous and anti-growth situation. We should be hiring people, not firing people. Believing, not leaving. Incvesting, not divesting.

    Gannett smells like scared meat. Every layoff just sends the signal, we don’t believe in ourselves. Why should any investor?

    How about

  9. Anonymous Says:

    How about showing Wall Street and the rest of the world that Gannett believes in itself, its product, its civic duty (remember that?), and its people.

    Better to burn out than to fade away.

    Come on, Gannett execs. Remember what the company does. What we write about. The information we bring to our communities. Think about THAT, invest in THAT, and we might all be surprised. Or at least go down fighting.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    We can’t forget that we have executives that don’t know anything about newspapers running a newspaper company (Sorry Mr. Dicky you are only a puppet). You can’t run what you don’t know. We ae doomed unless we get some leadership that knows and cares.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    I feel bad for some of you. You think GCI is listening to you and hope they will turn things around and care about employees and product. Sorry to disappoint you, but get out while you can, this company does not care at all about you. Do not be the last one on a sinking ship, it will make it that much harder to get another job.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    I never thought I’d actually be here when the newspapers finally die.

    someone should write a song about it.

    like that old Don Mclean song ‘american pie’

    …the day the newspapers died…

    at least it’ll be something to tell my grandkids about someday.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    I wish more people had picked up years ago on just how disconnected from reality Gannett management has always been. When they started mandating racial quotas in the articles, even from papers in all-white towns, that was a serious red flag that something was horribly wrong.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    1:37’s post dredges up the old debate of did those diversity in news initiatives help or hurt us? More than one crotchedy old editor told me you should cover the news as it happens and not “manufacture” coverage to meet some mandate.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Note to 11:55

    You hit the nail on the head.
    I was at a meeting between a GCI
    Executive and Chip and the purpose of it was setting the ground rules and details for a purchase of the Az Republic.

    As I recall, that meeting took place in San Antonio, Tx it was an interesting breakfast.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    WHy did you remove my political analysis and comment on the newspaper industry…………that really concerns me like I shouldn’t have an opinion on the crap that is indulging america!? I didn’t respect that I didn’t use vulgar language or disrepects and Am quite frankly puzzzled about me speaking the truth!?

  17. Tennessean Mushroom Says:

    I don’t know anyone that has been told they are part of the lay off in Nashville. Of course, I’m sort of isolated and usually am the last to hear about anything through Gannett sources.

    Anyone at 1100 Broadway want to let us know who the 10 are or if that has been announced? Here I am, a week after getting the Liefield letter, and I still don’t know if I’m part of the lay off.

    Signed, Tennessean Mushroom

  18. Anonymous Says:

    well I guess this isn’t an open forum on the ill’s of america and the “administrator will decide if they are insulted that they will delete your comments! I never ever at least commented on your diversity and have never minded the other sexual preference but by god I guess I insulted your politiacl belief?! Well jeesh you have started your way to losing my respect my friend!!

  19. Anonymous Says:

    True but sad ” the Bushies” and the republican people hate you but you love them! Who would ever think since I indulged so much information about “phoenix” in this blog that you would turn on me over politics?????? Unbelievable!

  20. Anonymous Says:

    I did have you as a favorite website but you know with todays technoligy how easy it is to delte you?! Georeg Carlin knew.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Its done get yournews from the chumps!

  22. Anonymous Says:

    9:40 says:

    “…I’m going to back to school and finding a new direction. I do not want to find myself in this position another month or two down the road.”

    If more journalists (and their managers) had taken this attitude throughout their careers, they and the field might well have avoided the terrible situation too many find themselves in today.

    I’m a former Gannett staff member who chose a different path many years ago and had prepared to do that throughout my career. Today, I teach. Yes, I teach journalism. I still believe in the social value of what we do, and so do my students. But I also teach them, and they understand, the need to be multi-skilled in both narrow and broad ways, and the importance of being flexible.

    You don’t want to be in the position of asking “what now” and you can avoid that by always asking “what’s next.”

    Does that help in the current turmoil? Not a hell of a lot. But if you are 30 or 40 or 50 or 60, it’s not too late to figure out the next landing place before you need one.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    From the Des Moines KCCI web site:

    Longtime DM Register Reporters Cut

    POSTED: 4:28 pm CDT August 19, 2008
    UPDATED: 10:15 am CDT August 20, 2008

    DES MOINES, Iowa — Some well-known names are among those losing their jobs in economic cutbacks at the Des Moines Register.

    Last week, the Register announced that 26 positions would be eliminated, including 11 open positions that would not be filled. The move is part of larger cuts by the Register’s parent company Gannett that includes a reduction of 1,000 positions.

    The Register announced Tuesday that longtime farm editor Jerry Perkins and reporter Ken Fuson took buyout offers. Both Perkins and Fuson have spent more than 25 years at the Register.

    Washington Bureau reporter Jane Norman also was laid off. Additionally, Jane Norman, Jeff Bash, Steve Dinnen, Mike Malloy and Carl Benskin were let go by the paper.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    “You think GCI is listening to you and hope they will turn things around and care about employees and product.”

    I can only speak for me … but I’m fully aware that GCI doesn’t care. I’m fully convinced GCI won’t develop a winning strategy until someone else develops a winning strategy.

    Memo to Newhouse at al: HURRY.

    Still, I dedicated my life and my career to this kind of work. I like my job. I’m going to keep going — always knowing that a cut is one day away.

    If it happens, well, at least I followed my dream. Yep — writing for a newspaper was my lifetime ambition.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    At the Indy Star they had a news editor (not a recruiter, but a news editor!) recruiting new employees, after buyouts last year and layoffs this week. Huh? Do they know what they want? Hell no.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    I understand that the higher ups are in a tizzy with the Titanic comparison. They are arguing over who gets what position. Ismay the managing director of White Star hopped in a lifeboat. Capt Edward Smith went down with the ship. 1st Officer Murdock put a bullet in his head and Andrews the designer stayed in the First Class lounge as the ship sank. Craig thinks he gets the lifeboat because he’s CEO Gracia disagrees because she’s really the power behind the thrown and has really been in charge. Dickey doesn’t like the first Officers role at all so he’s trying to pass it on to Moon who said “hey I didn’t even get on that ship I’m on the Lusitania”. In a final agreement the three amigo’s decided to use their parachutes and position to layouff the occupants of a lifeboat, let the OC’s captain the ship, the employees hang out in the lounge and will offer Jim the 1st officers position.

    Then… dah they realized they all had golden parachutes and the ship sinking meant they all would cash out when they are thrown overboard. But they are still considering Jim for that 1st officers part. Tara is relieved.

  27. Anonymous Says:

    the three idiots should have been fired.

  28. Anonymous Says:

    8:09 – In my opinion, J teachers are truly part of the problem. I have no idea what the hell you people are teaching the kids in your classrooms who don’t know any better, but the disconnect I see and hear from recent grads is astounding. I’ve been in messageboards where Missou grads argue that because they know about blogs and can edit video, they feel they’ll have productive careers in something connected to newspapers, be it print or online. No one is telling these kids about the lack of innovation at newspapers, or how even nascent online news organizations don’t pay dick. All these kids are doing is lining up to be exploited. Meanwhile in the colleges teachers are apparently going about their business as if it were still 1986.

    More people need to be told the truth about how this industry works so they can begin to change it from the inside out. All this gloom and doom we read about on here is not unique to just Gannett – trust me, I worked in other newsrooms after I left that company and was shocked to find the same levels of incompetence and a complete lack of any real vision.

  29. Anonymous Says:

    Anonymous said…
    We can’t forget that we have executives that don’t know anything about newspapers running a newspaper company (Sorry Mr. Dicky you are only a puppet). You can’t run what you don’t know. We ae doomed unless we get some leadership that knows and cares.

    8/21/2008 12:17 AM

    Well done! That’s exactly the core of the problem. It’s like cruising on a ship in a fog without guidance. Or do the executive now expect the working stiffs to do their work, too??? What am I saying – they’re already doing it.

  30. Anonymous Says:

    Let’s see…CRAIG DUBOW took over in July-2005: GANNETT was $72.00 Per Share with a MARKET VALUE of $16,416,000,000.00…Aug-2008: GANNET is at $17.70 Per Share with a MARKET VALUE $4,035,600,000.00….hhmmm a LOSS of $12,380,400,000.00. We – the SHAREHOLDERS Paid Dubow roughly $21,000,000.00 + perks for this Astounding Demonstration of Business Acumen.

    I have to tell you, if I managed my Family’s Wealth this well they (no matter how much they love me) would dump me face down into North Carolina’s Great Dismal Swap….LOL.

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