Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Gannett Layoffs: Phoenix

Posted By on Wed, Dec 3, 2008 at 2:53 PM

As reported in Media Watch, Gannett Co. announced in October that layoffs--making up around 10 percent of the employees who work at the media magnate's various newspapers--would be a'comin.

Well, yesterday and today, they came.

As of 3 p.m. this afternoon, we have not received any word about what's gonedown /what is going down at the Gannett-owned Tucson Citizen and Tucson Newspapers (which Gannett runs along with Arizona Daily Star parent Lee Enterprises). However, the ax has fallen in Phoenix, where Gannett owns the largest newspaper in the state, The Arizona Republic.

Here's a copy of a memo which was posted on gannettblog.blogspot.com detailing what happened in Phoenix.

The second we hear any word about layoffs at the Citizen/Tucson Newspapers, we'll pass the info along. (Also, holler if you have any info.)

The past few days have been difficult.

Throughout yesterday afternoon and this morning meetings were held to notify 68 of our colleagues at The Arizona Republic and La Voz Publishing that their jobs were being eliminated. In addition 29 accepted voluntary severance and 15 employees were offered alternative positions. The reductions are based solely on the very tough economic conditions facing the country and our company. The employees who lost their jobs served this company very well, some for many years. It is sad to see them leave and we wish them well. To assist in understanding the job market Phoenix Workforce Connection was brought onsite to help navigate the unemployment process as well as re-entry into the labor market.

The payroll reductions in Phoenix were part of a company-wide effort. In late October I shared with you a note from Bob Dickey that described the reductions and business climate that led to the decision. At that point I asked for comments or suggestions that should be considered as we worked toward our target. Many of you offered thoughts that could limit the number of people impacted. Those suggestions and the difficult work done by each department helped keep the people reduction well below 10% and still hit the payroll target. While there is some comfort in minimizing the loss, it is shallow.

I certainly understand the next few days and weeks will be difficult, but there is work to be done. Business will not be as usual. And that's a good thing. It needs to be different. In tough economic times we need to focus on what we do best. Our core products remain strong with audience gains in both print and online. That's a claim most media can't make and will position us well for the next growth cycle.

I thank you for your support and always welcome new ideas.

John Zidich

UPDATE: The Phoenix New Times has names. Lots of veterans getting the boot.

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