Archive for the ‘Springfield’ Category

Report: 300 CareerBuilder layoffs follow tax break

December 8, 2008

The big employment listings website controlled by Gannett has laid off more than 300 employees, a published report says today — just two months after winning a $2.9 million tax break to add 185 jobs at its Chicago headquarters.

This is at least the second time a Gannett business has won a tax break for creating jobs in one city, while simultaneously eliminating jobs elsewhere. CareerBuilder had threatened to leave Chicago without the public money.

“Most of the laid-off workers are from the Chicago corporate headquarters,” the East Valley Tribune near Phoenix, Ariz., reports. “However, some have also been let go from the Atlanta offices. The company’s public information office in Chicago refused to answer questions about the layoffs, although a telephone call by the East Valley Tribune to a branch office near O’Hare Airport confirmed the layoffs were made Friday morning.”

CareerBuilder won the nearly $3 million in Tax Increment Financing to help pay for an $11.6 million renovation of Chicago office space at 200 North LaSalle St., the city’s Department of Planning and Development said in a statement on Oct. 8.

“Eight hundred employees will be located at the headquarters,” the statement says. “CareerBuilder will also retain 615 positions at three other affiliate offices in Chicago, and add 185 jobs over the next two years. CareerBuilder had been considering relocating the majority of its employees to one of its other locations before selecting Chicago for its corporate headquarters.”

The impact of any layoffs on the Tax Increment Financing isn’t clear. I’ve asked CareerBuilder and the Chicago planning department for comment.

Earlier tax breaks in Indiana
Gannett owns 50.8% of CareerBuilder. Tribune Co., which just filed for bankruptcy protection, owns 30.8%. The rest is held by McClatchy Co. and Microsoft.

In September, the state of Indiana agreed to give GCI up to $935,000 in tax credits for creating up to 200 jobs at a new finance center in Indianapolis. A second finance center is being developed in Springfield, Mo. The centers will consolidate accounting and other work that’s been done at the local level across Gannett. A net 167 jobs were to be eliminated in this consolidation.

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.

Tip: Mountain Home printing shifts; 18 jobs cut

October 14, 2008

Effective Nov. 10, a reader tells me, The Baxter Bulletin in Mountain Home, Ark., is moving its printing 116 miles northwest, to Springfield, Mo., home of the News-Leader. The 18 jobs disappear when the press shuts down in Mountain Home.

In cases like this, I always wonder about the impact on final deadlines for the newsroom, advertising, and everyone else down the line. Springfield is one of two cities (Indianapolis is the other) that are now growing regional hubs for consolidating jobs in finance, production and other key areas.

Metromix: As more sites launch, how’s the pace?

October 1, 2008

[Rochester: a recent screenshot of its Metromix site]

Gannett and Tribune Co. announced an important partnership in October 2007 under which the two publishing giants would roll out a collection of entertainment websites called Metromix, aimed at 21-to-34 year-olds with “significant” disposable income. The goal was to spread the sites to more than 40 other markets — including the nation’s top 30 — by the end of this year; most of those new sites presumably would be where Gannett publishes papers or owns TV stations.

Now, nearly a year later, I’m wondering how the rollout is going — and what sort of impact it’s having on GCI papers that already have started their site. The Indianapolis Star, for example, is getting closer to replacing its award-winning Indy.com entertainment site with Metromix. The paper, now advertising for a new editor of digital content, said Monday that the new version would become the Star‘s “lifestyle channel,” according to a post by Indy.com’s Joey Fingers.

“Sex & Relationships, Money, Work, Tech & Gadgets, More Style and Fashion, and some other freaky little things,” Fingers wrote. “We will still be handling the local entertainment coverage, don’t worry. We just get to pull in their national content, their iPhone app, their Facebook Widget and so much more of their wholesome goodness.”

As Indy prepares to join the Metromix chain, I notice the sites are now in 26 markets — up from five when the Gannett-Tribune partnership was signed. Across Gannett, they’re now in Cincinnati; Des Moines, Detroit, Honolulu, Louisville, Nashville, Reno, Rochester, and Springfield, Mo.

To reach the year-end goal, of course, GCI and Tribune will have to launch in 14 more markets at a time when Gannett has fewer newspaper workers than it did when the two companies hooked up. That’s gotta be a further strain on editorial and ad sales staff, no?

One of Tribune Co.’s papers — the Chicago Tribune — started what is now Metromix, a collection of short stories and event listings focused on nightclubs, restaurants, TV listings and other stuff do do. When the partnership was announced, Metromix was already in New York, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Orlando, South Florida and other markets where Tribune Co. owned papers.

Like Gannett’s “moms” sites, and the growing number of new “pets” websites, Metromix aims to create a uniform collection of niche sites where ad sales staff can sell both local and national advertising. The national ads presumably would be made easier to sell because of the sites’ uniform design across all markets. (For the same reason, Gannett’s papers have now adopted identical G04 website templates.)

Existing worksites with Metromix: What’s the impact been since you launched? Other sites: When are you scheduled to Metromix? 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.

[Image: today’s Star front page, Newseum]

Documents: GCI eliminating 275 finance jobs; Asheville, WUSA-TV among first 11 taking hit

September 19, 2008

The company will eliminate the accounting and other jobs as part of the previously disclosed creation of two national shared service centers in Springfield, Mo., and Indianapolis, according to internal documents I’ve just obtained.

The documents were provided by a Gannett Blog reader who requested anonymity. They describe in detail the timetable and scale of the plan to consolidate finance work at newspapers and TV stations in a bid to cut costs as Gannett wrestles with declining revenue and profits. Previously published reports gave only a broad outline of the project.

The plan calls for a combined 11 papers and TV stations to be used as pilot sites starting last month, the documents show, with completion of the entire project expected by March 2009. About 55 jobs will be created at each of the two new centers — for a net job loss of 167 positions, the documents show. Gannett now employs about 46,000 in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

“The termination dates for employees losing their positions are determined by the implementation timetable,” one of the documents shows. “As a site begins migrating their activities to the national shared service centers, employees begin losing their positions.”

The documents say the first 11 pilot sites are the papers at Asheville, N.C.; Greenville, S.C.; Springfield, Mo.; Mountain Home, Ark.; Jackson, Miss., and Hattiesburg, Miss. The TV stations are WGRZ in Buffalo, N.Y.; WUSA in Washington, D.C.; WTSP in Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.; WBIR in Knoxville, Tenn., and KTHV in Little Rock.

In sharing the documents, my reader says: “This is top secret. You have to protect my identity! So many people are frustrated because Gannett is keeping this such a secret. People just want an idea of when this transition is going to happen at their units. These people are not stupid — they know there’s a schedule out there somewhere, so why not share it — even if it’s tentative. So, here it is. I’m not sure if Gannett is on schedule or not. Do with it as you feel is appropriate.”

All readers: Can you provide confirmation — and further details? 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.

[Image: yesterday’s Asheville Citizen-Times, Newseum]

GCI adds up to 200 jobs at Indy; wins tax breaks

September 13, 2008

The jobs are being created in Indianapolis at the second of two new finance centers, where accounting and other work from 67 Gannett papers is being consolidated under a new budget-cutting program. In return, GCI could reap up to $935,000 in tax credits and other state benefits, The Indianapolis Star says in a story today.

The second finance center will be in Springfield, Mo., home to Gannett’s News-Leader. That paper reported last month that the new center would wipe out a net 167 jobs across GCI.

Please post your thoughts 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 Star front page, Newseum]

Hi, there, Springfield! What’s Rumor Central say?

August 11, 2008

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.

New Gannett budget cuts hint at huge job losses

August 6, 2008

Racing to shore up unprecedented losses in revenue and profits, Gannett is now quietly engaged in an aggressive new round of budget cuts that could wipe out as many as 2,300 jobs, or 5% of the company’s workforce.

The latest cuts were revealed today, when the Springfield News-Leader reported that GCI is consolidating finance and accounting for 67 of its newspapers and TV stations — moving the work to two new service centers at company locations in Indianapolis and Springfield, Mo. The shift will wipe out a net 167 jobs, the paper says — with the possibility of more consolidation to come. “Gannett may move other services at its more than 100 newspaper and broadcasting sites to the Springfield and Indianapolis service centers,” the story says.

Gannett hasn’t disclosed details of the new budget cuts, including any final target. The consolidations at Indianapolis and Springfield follow similar shifts involving customer service, photo-toning, TV station graphics, advertising art production, and copyediting work. The company’s silence has created even more uncertainty for the company’s approximately 46,000 employees.

“Anyone have a rough estimate of how many Gannett papers have offered buyouts now?” a Gannett Blog reader in Alabama said in a comment yesterday. “I’m in Montgomery, and we haven’t heard any talk of it, but the recent rash of buyouts has many people nervous.”

Rumors swirled last week that the company planned to ax perhaps 1% of payroll, based on June levels. But recent buyouts and layoffs in Cincinnati; Jackson, Miss.; Detroit; Fort Myers, Fla., and Honolulu, have been in the range of 5% of their workforces. If that higher figure were applied across Gannett, combined job cuts would be close to 2,300.

“Every newspaper will face this in the very near future,” a reader here says. “The ‘loser’ papers (those with publishers with the 60’s mentality of 30%-40% profit margins frozen in their brains) are the first to be affected. Cincy is a classic example. They have/had 900 employees? It’s a wonder they aren’t looking for 250 buyouts.”

Budget cuts at your Gannett workplace? Please post details 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 News-Leader, Newseum]

Montgomery Publisher Brown is history; what’s up?

June 13, 2008

Cheryl Lindus (left), advertising director at the Springfield News-Leader in Missouri, has replaced Scott Brown as publisher of the Montgomery Advertiser in Alabama. Gannett’s bare-bones announcement says only that Brown “resigned.” One of my readers says: “He slashed the shit out of our paper. This is yet another example of how slashing doesn’t yield positive financials.”

Got details on the latest executive shuffle? 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.

Related: In Montgomery, watchdog reporting on a budget, and Calling Louisville: What’s the story on Roegner?

Hot Off the Press: Springfield News-Leader

March 19, 2008

This is today’s Springfield News-Leader in Missouri; click on the image for a bigger view. The paper was one of many marking the fifth anniversary, today, of the Iraq war’s start.

The News-Leader focuses on one family’s story; I especially like the photography: After being badly injured in a mine explosion, soldier Bobby Lisek was so despondent after returning home that he considered suicide. But against considerable odds, he fell in love with a woman, Mary Grace, who was helping nurse him back to better health. “This is just God’s way of telling you it’s time for you to take your pack off and be happy now,” Lisek’s mother told him.

The News-Leader at a glance:

  • Publisher: Thomas Bookstaver
  • Editor: Don Wyatt
  • Founded: 1867
  • Joined Gannett: 1977
  • Employees: 380
  • Circulation: 55,666 (morning), 79,517 (Sunday)

[Image: Newseum]

Hot Off the Press: Springfield News-Leader

December 21, 2007

This is today’s Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader; click on the image for a bigger view. The paper has launched a special section devoted to a state audit critical of bidding procedures at the local City Utilities. Engaging in crowdsourcing, the News-Leader has posted documents from the audit on its website. It’s asking readers to discuss the audit in a forum, and urging them to send tips to the paper suggesting what it should investigate next.

I know many Gannettoids may groan about crowdsourcing and other initiatives as a gimmicky waste of time. But I’ve been amazed by what readers have told me over the years when I posed open questions in similar public forums. Readers (and TV station viewers) say the darnedest things!

Dec. 24 update: Is this crowdsourcing? See the debate in the comments thread, below.

The News-Leader at a glance:

  • Publisher: Thomas Bookstaver
  • Editor: Don Wyatt
  • Founded: 1867
  • Joined Gannett: 1977
  • Employees: 380

[Image: Newseum]