Archive for the ‘Alexandria’ Category

Weakened storm Gustav lands west of New Orleans; hundreds of employees publish live news coverage

September 1, 2008

[Army National Guard members patrol the 5th District today after Gustav skirted New Orleans, in this USA Today photo]

Updated at 4:25 p.m. ET. Gannett employees from Louisiana and Mississippi, fortified by teams from Florida, Des Moines, USA Today and elsewhere, are covering Hurricane Gustav‘s landfall today, publishing videos and other news reports live and real-time. As millions fled inland, The Times in Shreveport, La., and other sites streamed live storm video.

Watching the story unfold, Gannett Blog readers cheered: “GREAT JOB SHREVEPORT!!!!!!!! The best paper in Louisiana, and the best operating committee and publisher in our company,” one said in a comment, below. “You guys are doing a great job covering the storm.”

[Storm updates: The Timeshomepage, moments ago]

Do you know co-workers there? Wish them well! Please post your notes 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.

Earlier: Gustav revives the overtime-pay debate

[Photo: Rob Curtis, USA Today]

Gannett starts issuing pink slips: 600 jobs at stake; employees tally historic losses; blog updates all day

August 18, 2008

In one of the industry’s biggest mass layoffs, Gannett today begins notifying as many as 600 newspaper employees nationwide that they’re losing their jobs — just as thousands of other newly unemployed newspaper workers flood an already strained economy.

The layoffs, confirmed on Thursday, are on top of 400 other newspaper jobs GCI is simultaneously eliminating through attrition, as the faltering top publisher races to shore up profits amid plunging advertising revenues and a slumping stock price. “We are all in the same boat,” one employee says. “Let’s help each other get through this.”

The combined 1,000 lost jobs are 3% of the community newspaper division‘s total employment. That division employs more than 30,000 in the U.S., or about 65% of Gannett’s global workforce. The division’s 84 papers include titles such as the 250-employee Town Talk in Alexandria, La., which is laying off three workers, and The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., cutting loose 15 of more than 1,000 employees.

Today caps four days of anxious waiting for 600 workers, who get the bad news this morning, and in days ahead. They will receive severance of one week’s pay for each year of service, capped at 52 weeks, plus medical coverage for the length of their severance period, according to Corporate’s layoff instructions to publishers.

Adding to worker worries, Corporate warned that these layoffs may not be the last. “If advertising and circulation revenues continue to decline, further payroll reductions may be necessary,” the company instructed publishers to tell employees.

Gannett flagship USA Today, the nation’s No. 1 circulation newspaper, has so far avoided cuts in this round. But employees aren’t off the hook: Publisher Craig Moon has scheduled a companywide staff meeting for Aug. 27 — prompting speculation that he’ll announce layoffs or more buyout offers.

This week’s layoffs rival the mass dismissal nearly 17 years ago of about 700 Gannett employees at The Arkansas Gazette. GCI closed that paper amid up to $30 million in annual losses during a bruising newspaper war it lost in Little Rock.

More on Gannett Blog

  • Roll call grows: Based on more than 150 contributions through the weekend, readers are tallying paper-by-paper layoffs.
  • USA Today in spotlight: Pressure builds on Publisher Craig Moon to sacrifice jobs or make other cuts in time for an Aug. 27 staff meeting.
  • Advice for laid-off: Employees who left in layoffs or buyouts over the past year tell you what to do now. “Good luck, and God bless to all,” says an ex-operating committee member.
  • Stricken expressions: Employees describe the mood in dozens of workplaces. (I’ll send the post link to a board of directors member who monitors this blog.)
  • Shrinking numbers: Pegged at 46,100 at the start of the year, GCI’s workforce now faces a record annual decline in its size.
  • Investors react: How will the stock perform when trading resumes at 9:30 a.m. ET today? Shares closed Friday at $20.65 — up 14.6% for the week, clobbering the S&P-500 Index.
News tips, publisher’s memos, other reaction: Please post 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 Town Talk front page, Newseum]