Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Layoffs, buyouts and clearouts

The Enquirer claims to be transforming into more of a community newspaper, while employing fewer and fewer of us. Now it is clearing out circulation customer service, sending the work to Tulsa instead.
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Friday, July 13, 2007 9:34 AM
To: Cincinnati-All
Subject: Circulation Customer Service change
Importance: High

To: Cincinnati All

Last year, Gannett announced the creation of its Centers of Excellence (COEs). Under this plan, only a few centralized service centers across the country will handle the circulation customer service operations for all of Gannett's local newspapers.

Effective Tuesday, July 17, The Enquirer's customer service functions -- and those of 26 other Gannett newspapers -- will be operated out of COE in Tulsa, Oklahoma. From that point on, all of our Enquirer customer calls and e-mails will be routed to Tulsa.

We expect this transition to be seamless, as local customers will not know that their calls are being routed to Tulsa. The reps there will have all the information they need to serve our customers. However, all of us may occasionally receive calls or emails from local customers who, for some reason or another, choose to contact us for help regarding service-related issues, temporary stops, billing, etc.

If you receive such a call or email, here's how we recommend you handle it:

Phone: Transfer the call to Circulation, extension 4500. Before doing so, please provide the caller with the full phone numbers to reach us directly (513-651-4500 or 1-800-876-4500). Any calls received on these numbers will automatically be routed to the COE in Tulsa starting July 17.

Email: Forward the email to the Tulsa COE at
Over the last several months, we've been working closely with a number of employees here, in Circulation and in other departments, as well as folks at Gannett and in Tulsa, to make this a smooth transition for our customers. And we will continue to work with the staff in Tulsa to ensure our customer service remains top notch.

If you have any questions, please give me a call.

Gary J DiSanto
VP/ Circulation
The Enquirer

There've been some shots taken at DiSanto in the comments on this blog, but he was well regarded before coming to Cincinnati, and the fact that circulation is up a bit recently probably has more to do with him than Callinan's sorry news judgment.

Also, The Nashville Tennessean has asked for 15 newsroom volunteers to take buyouts, and management hints there could be layoffs after that. Can this move be far behind for the Enquirer?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buyouts have been an inevitability at the Enquirer since I left there ___ years ago. The company could put them off as long as workers left in disgust. Callinan himself would be a buyout target with his fat salary and lack of anything to do but relay the latest encyclicals from Pope Gannett and keep his corner office seat warm for Hollis Towns. He wants to retire badly and is tired of Buchanan tormenting him at every opportunity.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since it is in a center of excellence, if someone tries to subscribe to the Post now that they will still be told no?

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many people lost their jobs as a result of this change?

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sigh... Why couldn't Cox (Dayton Daily News) have come to an agreement with the Cincinnati Post and have the Post run head to head as a morning paper?

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There will be no buyouts at the Enquirer because there is no union. They will simply lay people off, perhaps offing a sorry severance. There is no reason to go to buyouts if the company doesn't have to...and they don't.

The only thing that has saved staffers in the newsroom thus far is that Gannett runs its operations so close to the bone that it will be very diffuclt to lose anyone and still have a viable news gathering operation. You can insert your jokes here, but seriously, you need a minimum number of people to put out a daily paper.

But Gannett is showing it is willing to now cut into the bone.

On the Centers of Excellence. How Orwellian is that? Moving customer service 1,000 miles away and calling it an improvement. Psst: and don't tell the customer...they'll never know.


9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Community Press employees were given one week of pay for each year of service earlier this year when Buchanan shut down the printing facility (which is still for sale) and severed the service of a large number of people. And, they did not have a union. That’s a pretty measly package, especially for a company as large as Gannett.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coming soon to Sharonville: Coverage of city affairs from Bangalore.

We don't need no stinking local reporters.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous A Concerned Reader said...

Did you see this on Romenesko? Describes the Enquirer perfectly.

"Newspapers read like they're put out by terrified bueracracies."

"That's because they are, says Dean Starkman. Great newspaper stories -- like the Wall Street Journal's front page features -- are almost mini-miracles, he writes. 'They require talented, forceful and occasionally odd individuals operating in an environment where they feel they are, more or less, free to do what they do.'"

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The paradox: As reporter ranks shrink, the bean counters think there are too many editors in the newsroom. As editor ranks shrink, reporters will find they have even less time face time with them.

A culture of meetings produces one thing: more meetings.

By the way, you do know that the one person Callinan likes less than Buchanan is Towns?

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So back to the question, how many people lost their jobs in Cincinnati as a result of this change in circulation?

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm fairly sure the Nashville Tennessean isn't a union paper. If it's not, it serves as an example of what's to come at Gannett's other non-union papers. Corporations are going the buyout route more often now because it lets them flush out older workers without having to face reprisals from age discrimination lawsuits. Were the Enquirer to lay off 15 of its 40-and-older worker, it would have 15 age claims on its hands.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At one time, it was rumored that around 30 jobs would be impacted.

If accurate, then add those numbers to other cuts made this year and you'd think that the state would have to be notified. Plus, lessor job cuts by others made headlines. Not here.

6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So that is...

30 (circulation with this change)
50 (or more in the memorial)
31 (Community Press)
7 (Hosed at Christmas, 2006 as elimation)
## of others??? Advertising hasn't even been counted and then there are the support staffers.

Union or not, something needs to be done to answer for the job loss right here... in Ohio and Kentucky.

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

add some press crews, 18 heads

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dah, dah dah dah dah. Dah dah dah dah. Dah dah dah dah dah, Duh duH Du-H-Duh Dud.... do and do do do-do who, who... arrrrfgh...

It was a loser song anyway.

Don't news people know how many people lost their jobs at the company they work for? How many?

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you'd need a super-computer and a spread sheet to keep track of them all.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Curious, is there some sort of guideline or requirement of businesses to inform the state if there is a significant reduction in workforce? A couple of comments implied that.

If a company other than the newspaper laid-off 30 workers wouldn't the paper be compelled to report it? Wonder if the Business Courier or the Post will report on it. Maybe TV will pick it up and tell us the truth.

Did anyone else get the sense from the email concerning this change that this should be treated as some sort of secret? Why if that is improvement or excellence?

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're required to file a WARN notice (named after the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act) if 50 or more employees lose their jobs during any 30-day period at the single site of employment. I don't think a buyout is the same as a layoff. I think the Enquirer has laid off very few people. When somebody leaves, they just decide not to fill the vacancy.

The Courier does a very poor job covering the Enquirer, and I don't expect anything from the Post.

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see. It is all about how things are termed. Maybe that helps some people sleep knowing that the line between not lying and being honest has blurred. The shame is that it is blurred in a company that use to put out a product that was considered to to be the truth, the record and unbiased.

Key word is WAS. The Enquirer is a was-been.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone out there know how much notice was given to employees about this layoff in circulation?

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my husband was a Cinci employee. They knew almost 4 months ahead of time.

8:52 AM  

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