“Black Wednesday” has become “Black Thursday.”
Layoffs continued for a second day at The Gannett Co.’s newspaper holdings, including The Cincinnati Enquirer. Because The Enquirer is so notoriously tight-lipped about the names or job titles of staffers who are let go, CityBeat is slowly confirming names from various sources and cobbling together a more complete list.—-
Meanwhile, Publisher Margaret Buchanan posted an entry on an Enquirer blog this afternoon, informing readers that the total number of layoffs is 101 people.
Before the most recent layoffs, different sources had placed the newspaper’s total workforce between 800 and 920.
“As we announced last week, our parent company, Gannett, is tightening its workforce as a step to ensure it remains profitable so we can grow when the economy rebounds,” Buchanan wrote. “Our continued viability is not only important to our employees, readers, advertisers, vendors and shareholders – it’s important to our community. At Enquirer Media, 101 positions were eliminated in the last two days.
“The Cincinnati Enquirer has been around for 168 years – making it one of the oldest local institutions in Greater Cincinnati – and has survived 19 economic downturns, including the Great Depression. As the local economy recovers, we’ll be around to cover this story too.”
In a separate memo to employees, Buchanan wrote, "I wanted to let you know that as of 5 p.m. today, we have completed our meetings with employees whose positions were included in the workforce reduction. This is a sad and difficult day for all of us. It’s the last day for many employees, whom we felt, in these trying circumstances, would not want to work much beyond today. There may be a few cases where employees will stay another day or so to wrap things up."
Overall it's believed that Gannett has laid off 657 people in its newspaper division as of Thursday evening.
Among those laid off at The Enquirer are editorial assistant Terron Austin; longtime head librarian Sally Besten; assistant sports editor Tim Curtis; page one deputy news editor Bill Ferguson; Susan McHugh, general manager/editor at Community Press; page designer Blaine Mullins; online producer Christina Osborne; page designer Steve Sharp; and designer Ronson Slagle.
Some Enquirer employees — past and present — also are upset by an entry that Editor Tom Callinan wrote as his Facebook status the night before layoffs began. Some people deem the entry, which quotes Death Row inmate Gary Gilmore and a passenger on the doomed United 93 flight, merely as stoic but it strikes others as self-aggrandizing and insensitive.
Callinan’s post stated, “Dating myself: Last words of Gary Gilmore come to mind: Let’s do it. More recent from 9/11: Let’s roll. No easy way to face tomorrow. No exit from it, though. No one else to do the job. It’s my job. Period. Then, back to good work and the future. Let’s do it.”
CityBeat will update its coverage as warranted.