Skip to comments.Indianapolis Star lays off 62 in cost-saving purge
Posted on 06/21/2011 6:54:29 PM PDT by digger48
The Indianapolis Star on Tuesday laid off 62 employees including more than 15 percent of its newsroom staff in the latest round of cost-cutting by Gannett Co. Inc., the newspaper's parent company.
Among those laid off in Indianapolis were 26 newsroom employees including 12 copy editors and eight reporters, mostly those covering suburban news. The Star also eliminated 19 open positions, said Robert King, the newspaper's religion and philanthropy reporter and president of the Indianapolis Newspaper Guild.
"The Indianapolis Star, Ive been told repeatedly, continues to make money," King wrote in an e-mail. "Yet Gannett, and its corporate bosses in Virginia, seem to view workers not as assets but as liabilities on a balance sheet."
McLean, Va.-based Gannett, which owns 82 newspapers as well as TV stations, earned $90 million on revenue of $1.25 billion in the first quarter. That compared with a profit of $117 million on $1.3 billion in revenue in the same period a year earlier.
The local layoffs were part of a nationwide purge of about 700 employees in the newspaper chain's U.S. Community Publishing division, a move the company blamed on a sluggish economic recovery. The job cuts amount to 2 percent of Gannett's total work force, according to an internal memo from Bob Dickey, the chain's head of community newspapers.
"National advertising remains soft and with many of our local advertisers reducing their overall budgets, we need to take further steps to align our costs with the current revenue trends," Dickey wrote in the memo. "Each of our local media organizations faces its own market conditions, challenges and opportunities. Therefore, it has been up to each local publisher to determine his or her unique course of action."
Indianapolis Star Publisher Karen Crotchfelt, who took the helm in December, did not return a phone message from IBJ.
The Dickey memo said Gannett would institute furloughs for executives in its community publishing business who earn above an unspecified salary "in an effort to reduce the number of people being let go."
For Gannett, it is the fourth large round of layoffs in three years. In 2009, the company cut 1,400 jobs in its community publishing division.
King, the local guild president, said those let go were "hard-working folks who care about the communities they served."
The Star's newsroom has 136 employees after the latest round of layoffs, down from 230 in 2007.
"Going forward, we have good people here who will do as they have always donework harder under more difficult circumstances," King wrote. "But it's hard to imagine how the quality of The Indianapolis Star and indystar.com will remain the same, and how readers will be served by this."
Gannett earned $541 million on $5.4 billion in revenue last year, and CEO Craig Dubow took home salary and benefits worth $9.4 million, double his take in 2009.
Part of Dubow's compensation was a $1.75 million bonus partly tied to achievements in "restructuring costs and creating efficiencies."
Gannett shares rose almost 3 percent today, to $14.15.
As a local, I can say the only useful part of the Star is Gary Varvel’s editorial cartoons.
Since a reader can get national and world news just about anywhere 24/7 these days, the suburban and local news should be the core of the newspaper in 2011. Too bad these pompous asses don't get that. Lots of local and community papers doing fine under the radar of the bloated "nationals."
I quit that rag years ago. I always take time to explain why when they call to remind me my subscription has expired (I cancelled atleast 8 years ago,) and always ask that they pass the info on to their superiors.
Yep, gotta love Gary’s work.
On another note: I sure hope Karen’s maiden name isn’t Crotchfelt. I can’t imagine a girl going through school with that moniker.
If and when technology puts information where it is comfortable to read on the can, the dinosaur media is done.
For the moment, no alternatives are, let us say, satisfying...
Nobody reads the Star anymore. Ryerson is a self-important pustule of left-wing bloviation. His reporterette wife is a piece of work as well.
I’ve lived in several places in the US. The Star is a decent paper. I have to say it is rather level in bias (until you get to the opinion section). Problem is, many if not most of the articles are syndicated, AP or independents. I was surprised they had that many in the news room.
Before Gannett bought the Indy Star, it was a pretty good paper and some East Coast libs made disparging remarks about it being too conservative and also being owned by Dan Quayle’s family. If I remember right I was still living in Indy when they got bought out and started to make a leftward turn like pro-homosexual commentary.
I stopped that fishwrap back in the early 90’s.
Good for them.
I only hope those laid-off voted for nobama. To them...BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
To their credit, the Indianapolis Star did not endorse Obama for President in 2008.
Is this a joke name like Biggeth Dicketh or Naughtius Maximus?
Not to quibble with you, but it's "Biggus" - "Biggus Dickus"... and his wife "Incontinentia Buttocks." They're very popular in D.C. right now.
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