Over on the Gannett Blog, Jim Hopkins has The Clarion-Ledger's home office on the defensive after he reported that the company laid off hundreds of Career Builder workers after getting a tax break to create jobs:
The notion that Gannett used a tax break to create jobs in one city, while simultaneously eliminating jobs elsewhere is misleading, company spokeswoman Tara Connell told Dow Jones Newswires this afternoon. "It's common business practice when enlarging or moving a corporate headquarters or consolidating business units to get a tax break and change headcount in one place while building it in another," Dow Jones quotes Connell saying. Connell was responding to questions from Dow Jones after the news service followed my reports that giant employment website CareerBuilder had laid off more than 300 employees on Friday -- and possibly as many as 400 -- at its Chicago headquarters. Those cuts came just two months after the company got a $2.9 million tax break from the city of Chicago to enlarge its headquarters there. CareerBuilder, majority-owned by Gannett, had promised to add 185 jobs as part of the expansion.
Connell and other Gannett officials rarely communicate with Gannett Blog. Now, call me crazy, but isn't Connell -- a former USA Today managing editor -- confirming what I wrote?
I *love* business speak.
We didn't fire anyone, we just changed head count!
Help ! !
Please read this article from the International Herald Tribune on the woe's of the newspaper industry and pay particular attention to the last paragraph.
They state that Gannett has avoided the financial woes of the industry. How can the reporter say that?
Judging from their stock price trend they are really hurting
Does this reporters statement make ANY sense to you?
How could an editior let this get by...or am I missing something?
I know that the IHT is not a Gannet publication.
IHT is part of The New York Times chain. I don't know about facts for that article, but ...
Remember there is a difference in real financial woes—meaning actually losing money—and a public corporation's stock price dropping based on ridiculously high expectations and profit-margin requirements.
One of the great tragedies of the corporatization of newspapers, and a big reason why they need to be locally owned again (and privately held), is because they have unrealistically high profit-margin expectations. They want the Ledger, for instance, to have like 25 percent profit margins, which it had for a long time. So in bad times, the profit margin could drop to 10 or 15 percent, and they have to lay off workers, morale tanks, etc., to respond to stock drops. And it means they've made truly stupid decisions such as sensationalizing crime and abdicating local-news responsibility in order to try to keep certain advertisers and shareholders happy.
And Gannett forces many of the wrong layoffs, instead of getting rid of some of the "leaders" who have no idea how to build morale on the part of their staff.
The problem is that it's going to be hard for them to turn it around as long as they're owned by Gannett and ruled by shareholders without a stake in our community.
Any newspaper company that decides they can't give their employees free coffee has a huge, huge problem.