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Gannett layoffs: Only two of 700 workers let go nationwide from Fort Collins Coloradoan

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Yesterday, Bob Dickey, head of the publishing division for Gannett, announced 700 layoffs nationwide from the firm's newspaper division; see his memo below. And while the Gannett-owned Fort Collins Coloradoan didn't escape unscathed, the pain certainly could have been worse. Publisher Judi Terzotis initially confirmed three layoffs, but one of the employees affected took another open position.

In the beginning, the Coloradoan's prospects looked considerably more dire. The Gannett blog, which tracks doings at the company, posted a spread sheet estimating the Coloradoan job losses at nine. The actual number turned out to be far smaller. But via e-mail, Terzotis hardly strikes a celebratory tone.

"We eliminated one full-time and one part-time positions as a response to continuing challenging economic times," she writes. "The decisions on which positions to eliminate were very difficult with the goal of being transparent to readers and business partners. Each employee has made strong contributions to our organization and will be missed.

"I remain highly optimistic about the future of The Coloradoan and the many positive initiatives we have recently launched," she adds. "Our mission continues to be focused on providing strong local content to our readers and results for our business partners."

Here's the Bob Dickey memo:

June 21, 2011 To: All US Community Publishing employees From: Bob Dickey

As we reach the mid-point of the year, the economic recovery is not happening as quickly or favorably as we had hoped and continues to impact our U.S. community media organizations. We have made continued progress on the many initiatives underway to seek new sources of revenue, build a world class sales force and better serve our customers through watchdog reporting and stronger Sunday newspapers. While we are seeing improved circulation results and audience growth, weakness in the real estate sector, slow job creation and now softer auto ad demand continue to challenge revenue growth in the division.

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. 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.

While we have sought many ways to reduce costs, I regret to tell you that we will not be able to avoid layoffs. Accordingly, approximately 700 employees within USCP, or about 2% of our company's overall workforce, will be let go. Publishers will notify people today and we will make every effort to reach everyone by end of day. It is important to note that these decisions do not reflect individual performance and we thank and respect those employees for their work. We will do everything we can to help them and to minimize the impact on our other employees going forward. In an effort to reduce the number of people being let go, there will be furloughs in the coming months but they will be limited only to those on the USCP corporate payroll who make over a certain salary. You will be notified by your publisher if you are among this group.

These have been extremely difficult and painful decisions to make. I know the impact is felt by everyone within USCP and companywide.

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 and your efforts are greatly appreciated by our customers and colleagues within Gannett.

As always, please feel free to email me directly at rdickey@gannett.com with any questions you may have.



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