Merry Christmas to You: More Layoffs at the Arizona Republic in December

By Sarah Fenske

This just in: The Arizona Republic will be laying off 10 percent of its staff in December.

The move was apparently announced to staffers today -- and, judging by this post on Gannett Blog, is happening at all 83 of the Republic's sister newspapers.

The newspaper's parent company, Gannett, has seen its stock tumble this year. And though the Republic gave buyouts to a number of senior reporters and editors in September, it clearly wasn't enough to stop the bleeding.

According to a memo from Bob Dickey, president of Gannett's newspaper division, "Each publisher is responsible for developing their local plan to achieve the expected goal. Decisions will be made locally because each of our markets is unique, with differing market conditions and individual needs in light of our previous reductions." The publishers have been asked to submit their plans to corporate by November 14; after that, more people will get the ax.

A source tells me that Dickey's note was sent to staffers at the Republic, along with the email I've pasted below:

This note from Bob Dickey, president of the newspaper division, provides an overview of the economic outlook facing the company and steps being taken to partially offset the revenue declines. Unfortunately, the forecast for the Phoenix market is similar, if not worse, in several key business segments to what we are seeing throughout the country. During the next few weeks the management team will work through the appropriate options aligning resources to the economic realities of the market.

I encourage every employee to participate in this process by suggesting to your manager or me any efficiency the company should consider.

Your support through these difficult times is greatly appreciated.

Obviously, these are scary times to be in the newspaper business. But perhaps the scariest thing of all is the notoriously top-down company's request that employees suggest "any efficiency the company could consider" to their manager. Newspapers asking for advice from their employees? They must really be in trouble.