Arizona Republic">

"Involuntary Reductions" at the Arizona Republic

By Sarah Fenske

Expect more layoffs at the Arizona Republic in the next month.

That's the message the Republic's publisher, John Zidich, sent employees in an email yesterday. The paper's owner, Gannett, is reportedly laying off 600 employees at newspapers across the country. And even though the Republic has already lost dozens of big-name writers and editors to early retirement or jobs elsewhere, it's apparently not enough to spare the chain's third-largest paper from "involuntary reductions" -- a.k.a layoffs.

At one point, we were keeping a list of all the good writers who've moved on, from Jon Talton to Richard de Uriarte, but these days, it's almost easier to compile a list of who's left. With newspapers facing increased competition from the Web, and these terrible economic times, there are only few left.

You can read Zidich's complete email after the jump.

John Zidich/PNI

08/14/08 12:18 PM To Everyone at PNI cc Subject Announcement

Today, and during the next few days, you will be reading and hearing plans for a reduction in workforce across Gannett newspapers. The newspaper division workforce will be reduced by 600 positions or approximately 3 percent. This is separate from the financial services centralization announced last week. The reductions are driven by the very difficult economic climate that our company and many other industries face. While division management has identified specific reductions for each market, the decisions to achieve those are local. In Phoenix, based on the local business climate we have already implemented payroll reduction plans to better align with current conditions. Today, I want to provide you an update on where we are and what to expect in the coming weeks.

Needless to say staffing decisions are never taken lightly. However, transforming the company for the future is key. To accomplish that we have done the following: Gone through a rigorous process of finding more efficient ways to do business which has resulted in restructuring within several departments, used attrition to either reduce payroll or re-allocate those dollars to growth areas of the business, and offered early retirement opportunities. Today, we are part way through a second phase of voluntary early retirement options in certain positions in several departments. Unfortunately, when we have assessed our situation at the end of August we still anticipate the need for some involuntary reductions across the company. The exact number will not be known until we complete the voluntary early retirement at the end of this month.

We are in difficult times, but we have come through difficult times before. This is a strong organization with an important job to do. Our business ties directly to the overall economy. Our rebound and recovery tie there as well.

In the coming weeks, I will keep you updated on our progress.

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