The Arizona Republic beatified publisher John Oppedahl on the occasion of his resignation, touting his visionary grasp of the Internet. Less than a week after the cybergod fled, Gannett axed most of the Republic's online staff.
In all, 60 positions at the Republic -- none in the newsroom -- were eliminated in a "restructure." Severance packages were reportedly not as generous as Central Newspapers Incorporated's.
The Official Gannett Layoff Memo® indicates that things are dire in Republicland.
"Our advertising revenues continue their five-month downward trend," the memo states. "There has been a sizeable deterioration in year over year revenue growth since May. Those revenue realities are expected to continue on into next year."
". . . Controlling costs will not change our purpose or focus," which, of course, is to slash expenses and milk the paper for all it's worth.
The Republic didn't run a story about its "restructure." However, the same day employees got the memo, the Republic's business section reported that the publication was absolutely thriving.
"Circulation at the Arizona Republic surged in the spring and summer, making it the third-fastest-growing newspaper in the country," the story crowed.
Something is askew. How do we reconcile "revenue realities" with circulation realities?
The Official Gannett Layoff Memo® included a handy-dandy FAQ section. Some samples, along with the Flash's own handy-dandy interpretations:
"Q. Should we expect more layoffs?
"A. It is impossible to predict the future. With that said, we do not foresee additional layoffs."
(Translation: Keep your Christmas shopping list short.)
"Q. Did you cut costs in other areas before deciding to lay off employees?
"A. Yes. We would never make a decision of this magnitude without first reducing other operating expenses."
(Translation: The new publisher won't make as much as that overpaid goon Oppedahl.)
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