by Jimmy Boegle
More layoffs are coming to the Tucson Citizen. This memo was sent to Citizen staffers:
As all of you are aware, our national and local economy has been struggling for the better part of two years. The housing market crisis has spread to many other businesses causing a continued negative impact on our revenues. Newspapers are caught in a double bind: economic downturn and advertising revenue being siphoned off into other mediums.
In light of these difficult business conditions, the U.S. Community Publishing division of Gannett, to which we belong, has asked each of its newspaper sites to reduce expenses by reducing the number of people we employ. Each site was given a target based on its financial performance.
As we determine how best to achieve our target, we will ensure that the reductions are consistent with our strategic objectives.
For the Community Publishing division as a whole, the payroll reduction amount translates to roughly 1,000 fewer positions, requiring about 600 people to be laid off. That’s a reduction of about 3 percent.
At TNI and the Citizen, our target is about 30 positions – about 2 percent of the combined workforce. At TNI, about half of the reductions will need to come from layoffs. At the Citizen, the staff reductions will come primarily through layoffs.
Upon our review and followed by approval from the Community Publishing division, individuals being laid off will be notified by the end of August. A severance package of a minimum of two weeks pay plus one week of pay for each year of service (52 week maximum) will be provided and medical benefits will continue throughout the severance period. Other benefits that may be available will be discussed on an individual basis.
While we prefer to avoid further staff reductions, we must be realistic and understand that if revenues continue to decline, payroll reductions may be
evaluated again in the future.
I believe that what we create here with the newspaper and Web site will continue to be relevant and reliable sources of information. Nearly two-thirds of all adults in Pima County read one of the two newspapers and/or look at the Web sites every week.
While these steps we are taking are painful, I hope we can all emerge from this economic downturn stronger.