Gannett axing employees — again

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gannett’s already short-staffed two Acadiana dailies survived another major round of layoffs announced June 21, but the country’s largest newspaper chain still left its corporate mark in Louisiana by dropping 31 employees from its payroll statewide (a whopping 27 in Monroe).

In a memo sent out to all Gannett employees, Robert Dickey, president of the community-publishing division, says 700 layoffs are necessary as “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. ... I appreciate and thank you for all that you do to create and deliver award-winning journalism to our customers and communities every day. Even under these challenging circumstances, I know you will continue to do so. ...”

The company also is forcing some higher-paid employees to take more unpaid vacations, or furloughs, in the coming months.

In queue with the corporate American dream, Gannett didn’t just distribute the dreaded employee memo; it also shelled out $3 million in bonuses to its top two execs last year, in addition to the combined $17.6 million it paid for their salaries alone. CEO Craig Dubow’s pay included a $1.75 million cash bonus, and COO Gracia Martore was paid $8.2 million, with a cash bonus of $1.25 million. The bonuses were awarded partly on the basis of cost-cutting that included layoffs and other austerity measures. Dubow would get $22.5 million if he quit right now.

— Heather Miller

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