Archive for the ‘East Brunswick’ Category

Unity ’08: GCI cuts cast doubt on diversity goals

July 19, 2008

The News-Press‘ retrenchment yesterday includes the shuttering of its Spanish-language weekly; the Saturday business-news section, and a Friday features section. The Fort Myers, Fla., daily also laid off 36 workers and axed another 10 unfilled jobs — about 6% of the workforce, the paper says today.

The print version of Gaceta Tropical, the Spanish-language weekly published since 2004, will die after next week, although some copy will continue online at The timing — on the eve of a high-profile national minority journalism conference starting Wednesday — couldn’t be worse for Gannett. The company is a major sponsor of Unity ’08 in Chicago, and comes when CEO Craig Dubow has been making a major push for more minority hiring.

Fort Myers is at least the second GCI paper to eliminate a Spanish-language section. The Home News Tribune in East Brunswick, N.J., recently dumped its version — plus one in Hindi. That sparked an angry letter to Corporate from its former editor, who noted that she wouldn’t be part of the company’s delegation to the big Unity ’08 minority journalists conference in Chicago, starting Wednesday.

“I personally find it very difficult to reach out to Latinos when my newspaper closed its Latino and Hindi publications and all the layoffs in our newsroom were minorities,” the former editor wrote, according to one of my readers.

Earlier: At Unity ’08, the color of sponsorships is green

Has your paper eliminated a minority-focused publication or program? Please post your 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.

NYT: ‘Papers facing worst year for ad revenue’

June 23, 2008

Double-digit ad-revenue losses, like those Gannett disclosed last week, raise serious questions about the survival of some papers — and the solvency of their parent companies, The New York Times says today. “It’s going a lot worse than anybody predicted, and if we have double-digit ad declines for two years, some newspapers will be in real financial jeopardy,” Benchmark Co. analyst Edward Atorino told the NYT. “You’re going to see structural changes: papers could drop a day or two per week, they could outsource printing.”

Gannett’s Courier News in New Jersey’s Bridgewater was merged with the Home News Tribune last year, readers have said, to save the Courier from failure. But that combination and other steps weren’t enough to prevent layoffs in the troubled New Jersey group.

Earlier: N.J. circulation roundup: Read ’em, and weep

[Image: this morning’s Home News Tribune, Newseum]

In N.J. layoffs, fresh evidence of the new Gannett

May 30, 2008

It sure is something to watch CEO Craig Dubow dismantle a 102-year-old company right before our eyes: rendering newspapers at corporate chop shops, while shipping untold jobs to low-wage countries — all in a shaky bid to keep Wall Street at bay.

Only yesterday, Dubow & Co. was at it again: laying off a steep 55 employees at the Asbury Park Press and three other New Jersey dailies — part of a regional group that’s lately appeared on the edge of freefall. And yet, the N.J. papers are only the latest to be swept up in what I imagine is now Gannett’s biggest retrenchment since World War II. (Dubow, to be sure, has been retailing it on Wall Street as the more April-fresh sounding transformation.)

In Phoenix, Arizona Republic workers are weighing a buyout offer that one of my readers says stinks. In Westchester, N.Y.; Pensacola, Fla., and beyond, advertising-production artists are terrified of being the next to lose jobs to Los Angeles-based 2AdPro, which is shipping their work to India as fast as Gannett will allow.

In the Broadcasting division, Gannett is eliminating graphics jobs in favor of consolidating work at a central “art house” in Denver. And the division is now being asked to adopt a version of the Information Center model that was supposed to boost online advertising revenue when it was rolled out across U.S. newspapers last year. (Gannett has been curiously quiet about whether the strategy is working.)

These are only recent examples; I’ve omitted many others that I know — and even more I hope to uncover in any reader responses I get to this post. I’ve been writing about Gannett’s downsizing since Dubow issued that scary Sept. 11 memo last fall. It’s not at all clear whether he’s now putting his pedal on the accelerator, with even more turmoil ahead for this summer. And I’m not expecting any clarity soon on that point. Why? Nowadays, the well-paid top brass don’t have time to deal with even basic questions.

So, if you’re wondering whether Chief Financial Officer Gracia Martore is about to redline your job — well, don’t look for answers from We Work in a Bubble, Va. They’re already on their third round at the Kool-Aid Bar!

Your thoughts, in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, use this link from a non-work computer; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

[Image: yesterday’s Republic, Newseum]

Donovan confirms layoffs, cites ‘adverse’ conditions

May 29, 2008

Asbury Park Press Publisher Tom Donovan told employees in a statement now quoted by his paper in a new story: “This is not a decision that is easy to announce at this, or any other, time of year.”

The story confirms earlier reports by my readers: Gannett has eliminated 55 jobs at Asbury Park and at three other papers in its struggling N.J. group. Today’s layoffs come three weeks after management offered voluntary buyouts to nearly 170 employees.

Donovan disclosed today that only 83 employees accepted those buyouts — triggering layoffs that had been warned if Gannett didn’t reach its targeted cost savings. The three other papers are the Home News Tribune in East Brunswick; the Courier News in Bridgewater, and The Daily Record at Morristown.

Employees losing jobs can apply for open positions at the papers. “It is my hope that the total number of impacted employees will be reduced as a result,” Donovan said.

Related: N.J. employees use Gannett Blog to report buyouts

[Image: this morning’s Asbury Park Press, Newseum]

Dozens of layoffs reported today at N.J. papers

May 29, 2008

Updated at 10:10 a.m. PT: “Your information was correct about the New Jersey layoffs,” a reader just told me in an e-mail. “I guess today is the first day of the rest of my life.”

Earlier: Several of my readers are now telling me that 55 employees were laid off today at newspapers including the Asbury Park Press, the Home News Tribune, the Courier News and The Daily Record. One reader says those who lost their jobs will be able to interview for open positions at each of the newspapers.

Any forced layoffs would suggest Gannett’s struggling group of six N.J. newspapers was unable to reach cost-savings goals when management offered buyouts three weeks ago to nearly 170 employees at five of the papers. Management had warned layoffs were likely if an insufficient number of employees agreed to leave voluntarily.

Can anyone confirm what I’ve been told — and add more details? Leave a note in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, use this link from a non-work computer; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

Philly papers hire former N.J. publisher Gandhi

May 27, 2008

Updated at 1:51 p.m. PT: A tipster says Philadelphia Media Holdings — corporate parent of The Philadelphia Inquirer — hired Ketan Gandhi only recently, for a position that was to be determined. Then, last Wednesday, PMI abruptly announced a change in publishers at its subsidiary of suburban weeklies, Broad Street Publications. Gandhi got the job.

Earlier: Ketan Gandhi has been named publisher of Broad Street Publications, a chain of suburban weeklies owned by the corporate parent of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Inky published a short notice of Gandhi’s appointment yesterday, in this briefs column (see fifth item).

Gandhi left Gannett without explanation in late March, fueling one of the bigger ongoing mysteries on Gannett Blog. (Just look at the string of comments on this post alone.) At the time, Gandhi was publisher of the Home News Tribune in East Brunswick, and the troubled Courier News in Bridgewater. Gannett has never acknowledged his departure.

He was finally replaced at East Brunswick and Bridgewater by Asbury Park Press Editor Skip Hidlay — an appointment Gannett announced May 8 in an especially incomplete press release.

Your reaction, in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, use this link from a non-work computer; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

[Image: this morning’s Home News Tribune, Newseum]

Reader: ‘A classic clusterfuck, Courier-Post style’

May 20, 2008

Updated at 8:03 p.m. PT: A reader says in a new note in the comments section, below: “I know of at least one Features reporter who was denied the buyout. This was a classic clusterfuck, Courier-Post style. How about approaching the most senior members of the staff, one at a time, until you get the desired number of acceptees?”

Earlier: Regarding big job cuts now underway at five New Jersey newspapers, a Gannett Blog reader says they’re “disgusted” by what happened at their paper, the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill. “The initial offer, understandably, divided the newsroom into two tiers — the writers who were offered a buyout and the editors who were not,” the reader told me in an e-mail. “Much anger from veteran editors who complained they were not included. After achieving that demoralizing outcome, the C-P and Gannett have put a wedge between the people who were offered a buyout and the ones who received it.”

Join the lively debate on how many N.J. staff sought buyouts.

[Image: screenshot of the C-P’s home page, now reporting: “A cancerous brain tumor caused the seizure Sen. Edward M. Kennedy suffered over the weekend, doctors said today in a grim diagnosis for one of American politics’ most enduring figures. Kennedy is 76]

Reader: Here’s why N.J. employees took buyouts

May 17, 2008

Regarding the final tally of employees who applied for buyouts offered to 166 staffers at Gannett’s New Jersey papers, a reader says in a comment: “The exact number probably won’t be known anywhere until we come back from Memorial Day and start asking, ‘Where’s [insert name here]?’ What is interesting are the various reasons people have had for taking the buyout. I’ve had a stream of people coming by my desk or sitting with me in the cafeteria or going out for drinks after work to talk it out and get advice or validation.”

Why did some employees favor a buyout? Read the rest of the reader’s comment, in the original post.

N.J. quiz: Find the holes in this GCI press release

May 17, 2008

Pretend you’re an editor, then imagine this Gannett release is a story turned in by one of your reporters. What do you see missing? (Note: Those getting a failing grade are sentenced to flackdom.)

How many N.J. staff sought buyouts by deadline?

May 16, 2008

A reader says 5 p.m. ET today was the deadline for employees at five New Jersey newspapers to apply for 166 buyouts offered last week as Gannett’s N.J. group struggles with especially sharp circulation declines. “Wonder how many took it,” the reader asks. “I know of at least six people out of one paper.”

I’ll bet lots of people want to know! Leave a note, in the comments section, below. Or use this link to e-mail your reply; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.