First, Gannett newspaper-division head Bob Dickey dropped into town in January to let Citizen employees know they'd be closing the paper on March 21 if a buyer couldn't be found. Then he headed off to Palm Springs, Calif., to futz around in a high-price golf tournament. Asshole.
Next, a deadline for offers for the Citizen came and went, with Gannett executives saying there did not appear to be any interest, which is no wonder, considering Gannett is not selling any of the Citizen's business operations, which are wrapped up in Tucson Newspapers, thanks to the company's joint-operating agreement with Arizona Daily Star parent company Lee Enterprises. Of course, Gannett probably does not really want a buyer for the Citizen; after all, that would create a competitor for Tucson Newspapers.
Enter the U.S. Justice Department, which has confirmed that it's investigating Gannett for not exactly going all-out to find a buyer for the Citizen.
Well, flash to Tuesday, March 17, when Gannett bigwigs announced that some interested buyers had materialized somehow, and that the company was therefore delaying the closing of the Citizen indefinitely--for at least six days (!)--while the negotiations played out. This, of course, threw the beleaguered Citizen employees into turmoil; after all, some of them had jobs lined up, and they didn't know how the sudden change in plans would affect the severance packages they'd been promised.
Let me sum this whole thing up as succinctly as possible: Gannett sucks.
• Confidential to Robbie: Thanks for everything. Miss you already.