Tuesday | Sept. 9 | Got news, or a question?

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19 Responses to “Tuesday | Sept. 9 | Got news, or a question?”

  1. Jim Hopkins Says:

    I’ve just started this new open-comments string. You can always return to earlier editions by clicking on the Real Time Comments label in the blue sidebar, to the right.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    From: http://ilind.net/

    Gannett in Hawaii

    Members of the six unions at the Honolulu Advertiser will meet next Sunday (Sept. 14) to vote on a “Memorandum of Agreement” regarding medical plans and pay schedule.

    The unions announced agreements had been reached on these two items at the end of last month, although no contact settlement has been reached.

    The Star-Bulletin reported:
    If approved by union members, the agreement will become part of the contract extension under which members are currently working – but not necessarily part of the new contract now being negotiated, according to a union official.
    One Advertiser employee pointed to “tons of confusion” over the deal and its impact on ongoing bargaining.

    Another source commented: “To say that morale at the Advertiser is low is an understatement. Many people are looking for part-time jobs and there have been several well-known instances of employees in trouble for substance abuse, primarily alcohol.”

    Specifically mentioned as evidence of newsroom tensions were comments by sports reporter and blogger (Warrior Beat) Steven Tsai on the latest blog strike. Tsai’s blog entry announcing the one-week hiatus named several Newspaper Guild activists who Tsai describes as “those who try to direct from the shadows”.

    Also making it my was was a copy of an email making the rounds at the Advertiser last week. The August 29 email from Sandy Oshiro, Advertiser managing editor for digital and multimedia, is addressed to a student intern from UH who chose to honor the recent 1-week blog strike, but similar emails have reportedly been received by other bloggers.

    In her email, Oshiro accuses union members of sending “tons of porn spam and obscene anti-Advertiser comments” to those who kept blogging during the blog stoppage.

    “Those are the kinds of people you chose to side with,” Oshiro wrote.

    Strong language from a former reporter turned Gannett editor.

    Oshiro seems to raise the possibility that Gannett could close the Advertiser and leave Hawaii.
    Unfortunately, we cannot survive as a company if our financial situation doesn’t change. Actions like the blog strike clearly are aimed at hurting us when we are suffering as an ongoing operation. That is the cause you chose to join.
    If we do not win this fight to survive, the community will lose the best journalistic voice that it has, the only one that puts public service journalism at the top of its priorities. I hope you think about the role you played in all of this.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Does anyone have more news about the Finance consolidations?? Management says they don’t know anything…like they would tell us if they did.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    How did USA Today escape the latest round of buyouts and layoffs? Seems to me the largest paper in the Gannett chain should have taken some hits. I am not advocating it, of course, and don’t want to see anyone lose their job, but it just appears odd to me that the flagship came away untouched, unless the cuts are coming later in the year for whatever reason. Thoughts?

  5. Anonymous Says:

    7:48 All I have heard is that those responsible for making it happen are scared to death because Gracia is hell bent on doing it quickly. They do not feel they have the time to do it right. This should make the circulation call center fiasco seem like a well run project by comparison. This shows the problem with having people running the company that don’t know anything about the business.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Actually, USA Today already gave — almost 50 buyouts at the end of last year.

    This is more the other papers having their turn. Some papers did “give” already, but USA Today has not been immune and the buyouts had a big impact. Circulation staff reductions have also been ongoing for a while.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    From Bob Dickey on Tuesday a.m.

    VIA E-MAIL
    September 9, 2008

    Dear Fellow Employee,

    Given the job reductions across our division in the past month, I wanted to share with all of you our reasoning and plans for the future under a new structure we are implementing beginning today.

    Like many businesses, the weakening economy has had a significant effect on our financial performance. Hardest are the classified categories – real estate, employment and automotive, where our year-over-year classified losses are in the 25% range. But it does not stop there: All segments are struggling with the current economic conditions and, unfortunately, forecasters predict that a rebound won’t occur until well into 2009 or later.

    While our local market position remains strong, it is critical to our future as the preeminent local news and advertising source that we adjust and align our resources for continued success. Although we worked hard this year to manage costs, the decline in revenue has outweighed expense reductions almost threefold. Last month this led us to adjust our workforce by 1,000 positions, while attempting to minimize the impact on content creation and ad sales capacity.

    Today, we are revising our overall organizational structure by eliminating approximately 100 department head positions. This new structure flattens our executive management ranks, enhances the role of our group sites and aligns corporate resources with the field as we aggressively pursue our print and digital strategies to deliver what readers and advertisers want.

    Group directors in circulation, finance, human resources, information technology, marketing and production/operations have been appointed to support their area of expertise across their group. Current executives within their respective groups will fill the new group director positions as well as retain their current responsibilities. You can find a listing of these new directors at the end of this letter.

    I believe this new structure will improve communication, streamline processes, accelerate program deployment and, most importantly, improve our marketing efforts.

    This is a difficult time for those leaving us and, I am sure, for you and your colleagues still on the job. I would like to emphasize that none of these job reductions was a reflection on anyone’s performance. Those affected made valuable contributions to their newspapers and they will be missed.

    We have important work ahead of us as we maneuver a changing media landscape amidst a difficult U.S. economy. But I am confident the desire and need for accurate news, information and advertising content is only increasing and we – with our multiple platforms ¬ – are in the best position to deliver it.

    Over the coming months I will be travelling to many sites to hear first hand how best to position U.S. Community Publishing for the future and to update you on our plans to improve our market share. In the meantime, do not hesitate to call or email me with your thoughts and ideas. I know each of you has tremendous insight that can be beneficial to our overall future.

    I strongly believe that our local media companies will always play a critical role in their communities. You and your colleagues are key contributors to this important mission each and every day. Thank you for your support and dedication in these difficult times … times we will successfully navigate.

    Respectfully,

    Bob

    Group Directors

    South:
    Circulation: Bob Sutherland, VP/Circulation (Fort Myers)
    Finance: Matt Petro, VP/Administration (Fort Myers)
    Human Resources: Julie Lusk, Human Resources Director (Brevard)
    Information Technology: Stacey Martin, VP/Operations (Nashville)
    Market Development: Bob Faricy, VP/Market Development (Nashville)
    Production/Operations: Mike Monscour, VP/Operations (Fort Myers)

    Interstate:
    Circulation: Mike Huot, VP/Circulation (Louisville)
    Finance: Dawn Fisher-Polomski, Senior VP/Finance (Indianapolis)
    Human Resources: Randi Austin, VP/Human Resources (Louisville)
    Information Technology: Gary Shawd, VP/Information Technology (Louisville)
    Market Development: Steve Simpson, VP/Market Development (Cincinnati)
    Production/Operations: Bill Bolger, VP/Operations & IT (Indianapolis)

    West:
    Circulation: Rick Bell, VP/Circulation (Des Moines)
    Finance: Julie Harvey, VP/Finance (Des Moines)
    Human Resources: Joyce Ray, VP/Human Resources (Des Moines)
    Production/Operations: Larry Urrutia, VP/Production (Tucson)
    Market Development: Susan Patterson Plank, VP/Market Development (Des Moines)
    Information Technology: to be announced

    East:
    Circulation: Mike Kane, VP/Circulation (Wilmington)
    Finance: Don Lemire, VP/Finance (Wilmington)
    Human Resources: Dolores Pinto, VP/Human Resources (Wilmington)
    Information Technology: Wayne Peragallo, VP/Information Technology (Asbury Park)
    Production/Operations: Antoinette Franceschini, VP/Production (Wilmington)
    Marketing: To be announced

  8. Anonymous Says:

    So are they saying these will be the ONLY VP’s… Are all other VPs positions being eliminated?

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Bob Dickey, we appreciate your candor and hope you really will listen to the employees and their ideas. Working together, this company could get back on its feet.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Jim, can you assemble a list of all director’s positions eliminated today?

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Jim,

    What about a post about Google’s announcement today to archive newspaper articles in Google search and share with newspaper publishers the ad revenue. Seems like it could really HELP the industry….maybe in a huge and transformative way. However, some may see it as the opposite. seems like a good discussion.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    So, the Gannett executioners were very busy today. The company has been making good use of its guillotines for months now, but the 100-plus VP heads lopped off today is still stunning news. I have been mesmerized all day by the developing reports on this site and the postings from those in the field. Jim, this blog has become absolutely indispensable.
    Almost the entire O.C. wiped out in Westchester. Does that mean a merger with Poughkeepsie is a done deal? Will two executive editors be needed? And how many more field laborors are going to be wiped out by the end of the year?

  13. Anonymous Says:

    If you’re compiling a list of today’s firings, Lafayette, LA lost the Marketing Director (good call) and IT Director (maybe not so good a call).

  14. Anonymous Says:

    I wonder if they’re cutting back on jobs so the small papers get worse, which leads to more dropped subscriptions, which leads to higher revenue loss, which eventually leads to selling or just killing the newspaper.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the tactic. And if it is, why take so long? Just kill the papers and be done with it.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    In Louisville:

    VP/Production eliminated

    VP/Finance is now VP/Finance and Operations

  16. Anonymous Says:

    ANy word on Arizona Republic Layoffs?

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Tucson, AZ – VP of IT is let go.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    why nothing from Phoenix and Honolulu?? Surely if you can see no need for dept heads in a place like Westchester you can do without then in these two places..Why left out??

  19. Anonymous Says:

    If I recall correctly, Phoenix and Honolulu do not report to one of the four regional groups – hence, there is no one to assume the responsibilities for any directors who are axed.

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