Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Gazette Makes More Cuts

Following is the text of an internal memo sent to Gazette staff last week by CEO Chuck Lyons discussing more cuts.

To: All Employees
From: Chuck Lyons
Re: Gazette Changes

In an effort to further stabilize The Gazette financial situation, its management team is making adjustments that will create considerable savings primarily in printing and distribution costs.

In Frederick County, we will be closing our Mt. Airy office which has very little activity, adjusting circulation by 5,000 copies, and reducing staff by one position.

In Prince George's County, we will put in place a five-zone, 161,000 circulation plan that will allow us to meet the needs of our advertisers and the communities we serve. There will be some re-structuring of the editorial department as we will have fewer pages to lay out but also will be producing an additional page of community news for The Washington Post. There will be a reduction in editorial positions - two full time and one part time - which we hope will be managed primarily through transfers to open positions and attrition.

In Montgomery County, the G2 advance section will be published in three instead of four zones. Circulation will be adjusted by 5,000 copies. The collective savings we hope will contribute to making 2010 a "turnaround year" as we climb out of this deep recession.
It is hard to understate the difficulties faced by the Gazette at the moment. Their calamitous layoffs of last year, the recent departures of the great Janel Davis and two editors and their rock-bottom salary scale threaten to erode their content quality. Now, the loss of three more editors in Prince George's County will exacerbate the situation further.

The Gazette cannot be examined in isolation from its parent, the Washington Post Company. Soon enough we will look at the Post Company's approach to its newspaper operations in more detail.