Gannett Lays off 700 Journalists, National Association of Black Journalists Will Assist Its Members

    June 22, 2011 19:52 UTC

    Gannett Lays off 700 Journalists, National Association of Black
    Journalists Will Assist Its Members

    Longtime NABJ member and Louisville columnist Betty Baye is among 700
    employees laid off Tuesday by Gannett?s newspaper division. The National
    Association of Black Journalists received reports that there are fewer
    or no people of color working as reporters at some Gannett newspapers.

    NABJ is concerned about its members who are among the 2 percent of
    Gannett?s current workforce who are being dismissed as company
    executives are rewarded with bonuses that exceed $1 million. According
    to a Gannett report provided to the Securities and Exchange Commission,
    Gannett CEO Craig Dubow?s total compensation doubled, going from $4.7
    million in 2009 to $9.4 million in 2010. His bonus was reported as $1.75
    million in 2010.

    ?We want Gannett to do the right thing, and if its leadership needs our
    assistance, we are prepared to help them as they make decisions that
    affect diversity,? said NABJ President Kathy Y. Times. ?This news is a
    bitter pill to swallow as executives continue taking home big bonuses.?

    Gannett?s vice president of Talent Acquisition and Diversity, Virgil
    Smith, told NABJ the company went through a painstaking process to make
    sure no group is affected disparately. NABJ knows the varied communities
    our members serve will lose their chance to be heard if everyone in the
    newsroom has the same background.

    NABJ will compile a list of laid-off members to send them special
    assistance packages and provide job placement support. Membership for
    all laid-off employees will be extended six months from their current
    expiration dates so that these members will have access to services such
    as job postings at
    These displaced members also will be eligible for financial assistance
    to attend this year?s Convention and Career Fair, scheduled Aug. 3-7 in

    From a business perspective, NABJ wants to remind Gannett that some
    corporations are strengthening their commitment to diversity as our
    nation becomes more brown and black. NABJ believes it makes good
    business sense.

    What is deeply troubling, according to NABJ, is that many Gannett
    employees will lose their jobs not because of performance or seniority,
    but solely to slash newsroom budgets within one of the nation?s largest
    newspaper chains. Among the Gannett newsrooms affected by cuts are The
    Indianapolis Star and Arizona Republic.

    ?It is important to note that these decisions do not reflect individual
    performance and we thank and respect those employees for their work,?
    said a statement to employees by Bob Dickey, president of Gannett?s U.S.
    Community Publishing. ?We will do everything we can to help them and to
    minimize the impact on our other employees going forward. In an effort
    to reduce the number of people being let go, there will be furloughs in
    the coming months but they will be limited only to those on the USCP
    corporate payroll who make over a certain salary.?

    Gannett cited the slow economic recovery as part of the reason for
    making the cuts.


    National Association of Black Journalists
    Aprill O. Turner

    Source: National Association of Black Journalists