Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The transition begins

Last week, the Enquirer found a new excuse to trim staff: the death of the Post. began trimming staff in preparation for the closing of the Post. Here is the email sent by publisher Margaret Buchanan to Enquirer employees:
From: XXX On Behalf of Buchanan, Margaret
Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2007 4:11 PM
To: Cincinnati-All
Subject: Staff reductions related to the end of the JOA

To: Non-Represented Employees
From: Margaret Buchanan

Many of you, especially those of you whose work involves Post responsibilities, are probably wondering what will happen to staffing levels when the Joint Operating Agreement between Gannett and Scripps comes to an end on December 31. With this communication, I hope to give you some idea of what's coming in the weeks ahead. But please understand that a lot of the communication will need to be done at the manager/supervisor employee level because the situation is unique from department to department, and because we want employees to hear about these changes directly from their managers.

I will first say that, yes, there will be a reduction in force effective December 31, 2007. Most of you will not find that surprising. The jobs we're looking at are mainly tied to Post work.

Second, we will make every effort to retain these affected employees in other jobs -- where an employee is a) interested in a particular open job, and b) has the qualification for that job.

Third, for employees who we are unable to place elsewhere, we will offer severance pay in accordance with our policy.

Just today, managers have begun to discuss staff reductions with employees in the Production, Advertising Operations and Circulation (departments). About 3% of The Enquirer's total workforce will be affected by these reductions.

We regret having to reduce staff. But we all realize that the termination of the Post, and business necessity, give us no choice. Give the current competitive business climate, we need to make the most of our resources and restructure our organization to be in the best position to compete.

You will be hearing more about this from me and your division heads in the coming weeks.

I appreciate your hard work and dedication.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
The Business Courier, which has been asleep at the wheel on the troubles at the Enquirer, puts the number of employees at about 30, based on total employment of 1,140.

My favorite sentence in the letter is: "But we all realize that the termination of the Post, and business necessity, give us no choice." In the past, the surviving newspaper would have been strengthened by the death of its rival, but times have changed. The Post has been weak for years. The instances where the Post has been able to reach up and slap the Enquirer with a good scoop have grown few in number. Now, the age of Cincinnati as a one-newspaper town is greeted with layoffs. The mood inside the Enquirer is quite gloomy these days, with the veterans hoping they can hold on till they decide to retire, not an earlier date chosen by Gannett.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can only hope that Peter Bronson is among those let go.

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best line is “please don’t hesitate to ask.” Anyone who interacts with Buchanan well knows that they need to ask what she’s willing to hear, period.

In regard to asking, the Courier should have asked and shared how many total positions have been eliminated in the past year as that number well exceeds the “about 3%” that are yet to come - a number quickly rumored to be higher.

And, surviving newspapers are made stronger. Anyone who believes differently need only look at what Buchanan has done with the weeklies acquisition, especially pricing. She’s changed it so much, that it’s hard to believe that the Department of Justice hasn’t returned. Well, yet anyway.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious what those 3 percent of workers were doing for The Post. They certainly weren't promoting, marketing or selling the paper.

6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cuts were long planned..way back in the days of a benevolent (compared to Margaret)publisher- Harry Whipple.
I pity those remaining because it is clear by now that they will be forced to take on additional duties without remuneration. It is the Gannett way y'all

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What are your thoughts on the Enquirer's election coverage?

I personally liked all of the video reports filed throughout the night and thought the Web site looked good. Your take?

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good f-ing grief. The Enquirer did little for the Post.

If jobs are cut, it is strict job cuts. If the Enquirer could simply tell the truth, it'd be easier to accept.

MB's house sold to a real estate company for close to the 1.3 m. Hmmm.... damage, pillage and go. Hope it is good for her.

5:32 PM  

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