About 40 people have been laid off at the Arizona Republic, which also announced plans to close a Chandler press that prints USA Today and various inserts.
The local pink slips come as part of a 2 percent layoff at Gannett's publishing division nationwide. About 700 people are losing their jobs.
Publisher John Zidich, in a Republic article today, cites weak national revenue at Gannett as part of the reason. As with layoffs at the state's largest newspaper in mid-2008, late 2008 and 2009, the limping economy also is blamed.
Some Republic staffers heard the news well after others -- because they were on mandatory, unpaid furloughs announced last month.
Operations at the Phoenix Offset plant in Chandler will end by late July, Zidich mentioned in a statement published on Gannett Blog:
This morning at the Phoenix Offset plant, located in Chandler, we announced to the staff that the facility would be closed. Phoenix Offset produces USA Today, internal Republic Media products and a limited amount of commercial print jobs. While it is very difficult to make these decisions the investment necessary to operate the plant and maintain equipment plus new printing options now available provide more effective solutions for the future. Final decisions for the printing of the current products will be made over the next two weeks but we anticipate operations at Phoenix Offset to cease by the end of July.
The work of the employees and commitment to producing quality products throughout the years is greatly appreciated. JZ
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Gannett blog commenters also mention something we'd heard today, as well: That the local layoffs hit the features department hard, and that the "Yes" fashion magazine is history.
The New York Times reports that the layoffs are of deep concern to Robert J. Dickey, president of Gannett's Community Publishing division: "These have been extremely difficult and painful decisions to make," Dickey stated.
Of course, that's why they pay him the big bucks.