Tag Archive: Gannett

Will NJ papers feel the pain of the latest Gannett cuts?

More cuts in the newspaper industry:

Newspaper publisher Gannett Co. plans to cut 1,400 jobs in the next few weeks, about 3 percent of the work force, as it faces a prolonged slump in advertising revenue.

Bob Dickey, head of the company’s U.S. community publishing division, informed staff of the layoffs in a letter Wednesday. He told employees that “there have been some promising signs of a recovery, but the reality is the improvements are not broad-based and the economy continues to be fragile.”

The majority of layoffs will come by July 9, he said.

The move follows a 10 percent cut at Gannett in 2008, which left the company with about 41,500 employees.

Talk about putting a damper on the holiday weekend for your employees. I’ll put the full memo they sent to employees below the fold. In New Jersey, Gannett papers include the Asbury Park Press, Courier News, Courier-Post, Home News Tribune, the Daily Record and the Vineland Daily Journal. It remains to be seen how many of those cuts will hit these NJ outlets.

When a town loses a newspaper

We’ve written alot about the struggles of the print media and what the wider implications are from those difficulties.  Now Princeton University releases a study focusing on an actual case situation:

A glimpse into what might happen has been offered up by a new study out of Princeton University. Assistant Professor of economics and public affairs Sam Schulhofer-Wohl and Miguel Garrido looked at communities affected by the closing of the Cincinnati Post at the end of 2007, and it’s not an attractive view.

The study is very small in scope, since the Post had a total of only 27,000 subscribers in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky. And it measures only the outcomes in northern Kentucky, since Ohio has not had municipal elections since the Post’s closure. But even with those limitations, a few trends seemed to emerge: in towns the Post regularly covered, voter turnout dropped, fewer people ran for office and more incumbents were reelected. That is, when there were fewer stories about a given town, its inhabitants seemed to care less about how they’re being governed.

In the only possible hint of a bright spot, it seemed that smaller towns were much less affected by newspaper closures than larger ones. Voter turnout in the smaller communities did not change.

You can view a pdf of the full study.  While it was only a limited look, the results may indicate what we could see happen on a larger scale when papers close:

While the study only looked at one newspaper, if the larger findings hold true, it?s not just areas in which a newspaper folds that will be affected. Municipalities covered by newspapers that have sharply scaled-back newsrooms, such as the Newark Star-Ledger, may also see similar trends emerging, because the papers simply cannot cover as much local news as they had previously.

Just yesterday, the Star Ledger announced furloughs and pension changes to try and deal with the economic struggles. Here’s what Editor and Publisher had to say about the move, when draft emails surfaced last week:

the latest setback for the Star-Ledger newsroom, which has already seen the cutback of 131 staffers through buyouts last fall; threats of closure; and the merging of its statehouse bureau with longtime rival The Record of Hackensack.

The Times of Trenton announced a similar move yesterday with pension changes and furloughs. Gannett also said they will have another round of furloughs to help deal with the economic difficulties.

In the Princeton study, they started with the quote, “Give light and the people will find their own way.” That light certainly isn’t as bright anymore making it much harder for people to see.

An Open Letter to Steve Sweeney & Dick Codey from Blue Jersey … and the voters

Two years ago today, New Jersey enacted a civil unions law by a wide margin. Compelled by the New Jersey Supreme Court to deliver full equality to same-sex families, the Legislature copped out and chose to demean thousands of New Jersey families (denying over a third of them equal rights like health benefits, hospital visitation, financial security, and more), because they were politically afraid to support marriage equality. A few legislators bravely spoke out in favor of true equality, realizing you cannot have Equality and Diet Equality, you can only have true equality or a sham.

Were some legislators justified in the political fears that led them to support civil unions over true equality? No.

A new poll, commissioned by Gannett (the news org that operates the APP, the Home News Tribune, the Courier Post, and other papers) shows that New Jersey voters support marriage equality 50%-40%.

Now, we’ve heard excuses from policymakers before: that, trust us, civil unions will actually work and provide equality (two state government reports, here and here reveal otherwise). When Garden State Equality released a poll showing New Jersey supported marriage equality 50%-42%, gaining six new cosponsors for marriage equality in one fell swoop, some said the GSE poll was biased and couldn’t be trusted. We were told we can’t debate this hot-button issue during a presidential election year.  And we were put off again when the recession hit, that the economy is our prime focus, even though an academic study shows marriage equality could bring a quarter of a billion dollars in consumer spending to pump up New Jersey’s economy.

Every time, there’s been an excuse from legislators too politically afraid to stand up for what’s right. But that’s all they are: excuses. There are no excuses anymore. Gannett has no axe to grind here, no political agenda. And it is straight-up reporting that the voters of New Jersey respond favorably to marriage equality, based on credible and unbiased polling. If the poll is at all biased (which we doubt, as Monmouth University is a renowned, fair NJ pollster), it likely skews to the right. The numbers remain. A strong majority of New Jerseyans support marriage equality.

So, we’re paging Steve Sweeney, Dick Codey, Diane Allen, and other members of the New Jersey State Senate who have appeared lukewarm or quiet on the issue of marriage equality. Senators, you have no more room for excuses. Fundamentally, you either support full equality or you don’t; you must either stand up for what’s right or cave in to baseless political fear and timidity. New Jerseys same-sex families have suffered because of civil unions; that’s not in doubt. You can either recognize that suffering and fix it by enacting marriage equality this year, or you can turn a blind eye.

The truth is, there are no half-assed attempts at equality. It’s time for members of the New Jersey Senate to stand up and be counted, and it’s time for members of the Blue Jersey community to turn up the heat and call these wavering senators today.

Senators, the voters would like to hear from you.  

Gannett announces cuts including 2/3 of Statehouse staff

Gannett has been struggling along with the rest of the Newspaper industry:

Gannett (GCI), the largest newspaper publisher in the U.S., reported Q3 revenue of $1.6 billion, a decrease of 11% over the year, while meeting analysts? expectations. EPS of $0.76 was lower than the market?s expectations of $0.78 and was down 25% over the year.

As a result , the budget axe is swinging again:

Gannett Co. Inc. is eliminating positions today at six newspapers in New Jersey due to declining advertising revenues and the severe economic downturn afflicting the state and the nation.

The company began notifying the affected employees this morning at the Asbury Park Press, the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, the Home News Tribune in East Brunswick, the Courier News in Bridgewater, the Daily Record in Parsippany and the Daily Journal in Vineland

And according to PNJ, their Trenton staff will be cut by 2/3:

The latest casualties to media cutbacks are four Gannett New Jersey statehouse reporters: Tom Baldwin, Michael Rispoli, Lisa Ryan, and Greg Volpe.  That cuts Gannett?s statehouse bureau from six reporters to two, with only Bob Ingle and Michael Symons surviving the budget cuts.

This is just a continuation of the downsizing for NJ media outlets including the Star Ledger who lost all but 1 member of its editorial board and NJN where many workers accepted buyouts. The new editorial page editor of the Star Ledger may not trust or like what is on the internet, but if this trend keeps up he won’t have many other options because there will not be many people left actually covering New Jersey.

It’s The Quality, Stupid!

A couple news items crossed my desk today, and in my never-ending quest to snark, I could not resist.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Gannett Co. Inc will take pretax write-downs of as much as $3 billion in the second quarter, as the publisher of USA Today contends with a slumping newspaper market.

The MyCentralJersey.com site (owned by Gannett, publishing the “reporting” from the Home News Tribune and Courier News) had this headline today (emphasis added):

Update: No relief as heat wave continues

Followed two paragraphs later by this sentence:

And while similar conditions are expected Tuesday, there is some relief in sight.

Gee, I wonder why that chain is losing billions?  It couldn’t be that they’ve gutted their local news staffs so badly that their headline writers can’t even read the articles?  

What’s happened to local media in New Jersey and this country is a shame.  Media consolidation is a disaster.

Gannett New Jersey to broadcast Candidate Forum

For those of you looking ahead for your next political fix, tune into the Asbury Park Press website (www.app.com) tomorrow between 11am-1pm to hear the Democrats running for US Senate compare their visions and records.

And the cool thing is, the proceedings are interactive and stream live on the Internet. Gotta question for a candidate?  Then what are you waiting for?  Email Randy Bergmann  (Gannett's "community conversation editor") at rbergmann@app.com.  

Bob Ingle: Blinded By Corzine Hate Or Just Dishonest?

Bob Ingle — the Trenton Bureau chief for Gannett, their lead political columnist and Friday regular on the Jersey Guys show on 101.5 – has declared war on Jon Corzine.  We’re not sure why, but Ingle has decided that Corzine is corrupt and a terrible person and he is out to get him.

The only problem is that, like with his Chris Christie love affair, Ingle has to make up facts out of whole cloth in order to make the case.

In today’s blog post Ingle tries to equate Corzine’s reaction to receiving subpoena’s from Chris Christie in the Christmas Tree investigation to Bush’s press conference threats last night regarding the US Attorney kerfluffle.

Why is it when people get elected to high position they assume an air of arrogance? President Bush, under fire on all fronts but lately because of firing prosecutors of what looks like political reasons, says he will make White House aides available to Congress for questioning but only in secret and not under oath. What good is that? When the federal prosecutor in New Jersey, Chris Christie, sprinkled subpoenas on the Legislature and the Governor’s Office, Gov. Corzine questioned why Christie just didn’t ask for documents without the formal subpoena.

Let’s look at these two issues.  Back in February when Corzine received the subpoenas from Christie, here was the immediate reaction:

Anthony Coley, a spokesman for the governor, said that Mr. Corzine’s office would comply with the subpoena and that Mr. Corzine had directed Attorney General Stuart Rabner and his own counsel’s office to oversee that compliance.

Here’s Bush’s reaction from last night to the possibility that Congress may issue subpoenas to Karl Rove and Harriet Miers if they do not agree to testify on the record and under oath:

I will oppose any attempts to subpoena White House officials.

Corzine will comply, Bush says – before any subpoenas are issued – that he will fight.  See the difference?  Bob Ingle doesn’t!  Why?  This line from Corzine on the day after he got the subpoena:

“The only question I have is, `Why are we doing this?’ We’d be more than happy to give this without a subpoena,” Corzine said.

For some reason, Ingle thinks it’s damning that Corzine would have given Christie whatever he wanted without a subpoena, but Christie had never asked for it.  Corzine is hiding nothing, and is willing to hand over whatever Christie wants. 

Ingle does have a point that Corzine’s refusal to talk about his financial connections to Carla Katz is fishy, and is right to bring it up as a potential conflict of interest.  But Corzine also has a point that, assuming he is telling the truth, the relationship was personal and predated his term in office so may be out of bounds.  Either way, however, only the press has been interested in seeking answers and the Governor has the right not to answer questions from the press.  If a subpoena is issued, my guess is that Corzine will comply.

But my guess or Ingle’s guess on the Katz conflict issue is immaterial to the Christmas tree investigation or the Bush Fires US Attorneys imbroglio.  Ingle is twisting and spinning and misleading his readers into making connections that are not and have never been there.

Sounds to me like Bob Ingle has a case of Corzine hate, or he’s just plain lying to sell newspapers.