Archive for the ‘WBIR’ Category

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]

Layoffs hit the TV division, too; details, please!

August 27, 2008

[Cutting staff? Screenshot of WBIR-TV’s website in Knoxville, Tenn.]

Gannett’s 23 TV stations are eliminating jobs in a new wave of layoffs that apparently mirrors the cuts just enacted at the company’s newspaper division, Gannett Blog readers tell me. I’m now looking for more details about the scale of this reduction, including the targeted number of jobs to be eliminated, and the date when this campaign began. (See my questions, below.)

Here’s one of the latest notes I’ve received: “Gannett broadcasting is ‘restructuring’ its broadcast operations. I know this for a fact; I was re-organized right out of a job at the Knoxville, Tenn., station. Master control at all the TV stations is being centralized in either Jacksonville, Fla. (NBC and ABC), or Greensboro, N.C. (CBS). Graphics is being centralized in Denver — and graphic artists have been laid off at all the stations, with the 10 largest stations retaining one artist. All the news graphics will done by the news producers and reporters via an automated graphics system (can anyone say, lots of typos?)

“At my former station, at least 13 people (out of 130) have been laid off, including my boss. He was in charge of programming, new media and commercial production. All of us in commercial production were laid off: Two were turned into ‘backpack’ client-services producers and moved into sales. They are being managed by a GSM who doesn’t think quality is important. (‘Everyone just watches it on YouTube or their phone, so quality isn’t important.’ She actually said that to me! Gee, then why is everyone buying those HD, plasma-screen monitors? Don’t you think they want to see pretty pictures?)

“So, my friend, newspapers aren’t the only ones feeling the pain. The TV guys are taking it on the chin, as well.”

Did broadcasting division President Dave Lougee (left) notify employees in a memo? (If so, can you shoot it my way?) Or did he follow newspaper division chief Bob Dickey‘s example, and leave the dirty work to individual station managers? 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.

Earlier: Layoffs at WLBZ-TV. Plus: Graphics group a ‘clusterfuck’