Redesign and Layoffs at Gannett


(Photo: Arikah.com)

A Berliner is a donut. A Berliner is what President John F. Kennedy called himself when he spoke at the Berlin Wall. A Berliner is also a name for a newspaper format.

Gannett Corp. has announced it will introduce the first “Berliner” formatted newspapers in Greater Cincinnati. Beginning May 7, the Community Press and Recorder suburban weeklies will be 12 inches in width by 18.5 inches in depth. This format has been widely adopted in Europe, according to a company spokesman.

Gannett Corp., which owns The Cincinnati Enquirer, bought the 27 Community Press and Recorder newspapers two years ago. The company also announced that it will shift production for the weeklies to its new print facility in Lafayette, Ind. The move means the loss of 31 jobs here. Gannett has provided severance and benefits options, job opening information and outplacement services, according to a memo to Enquirer employees from Marianne Navin, assistant to the president.

— Gregory Flannery

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11 Comments on “Redesign and Layoffs at Gannett”

  1. Natasha Says:

    Wait a minute… I have rulers and yardsticks, but never measured CityBeat. Isn’t CB nearly the same dimensions as any “Berliner” formatted newspaper?

  2. Gregory Flannery Says:

    Natasha, I’d be happy to answer your question, but it’s a trade secret.

  3. Natasha Says:

    And then you’d have to kill me, right?! Geeze, who knew the newspaper biz would be so cut throat?

  4. The Dean Says:

    You’re welcome, again.

  5. Gregory Flannery Says:

    All knowledge about current events begins with the Dean, at least in his own mind.

  6. John Fox Says:

    Actually, the big news here is that Gannett is cutting 31 printing plant jobs and moving the printing of its “community” newspapers out of the community — out of state, in fact. Unknown yet is the impact this move will have on other true community newspapers like The Cincinnati Herald, The Downtowner, UC News Record and others that do their printing at the Community Press facility in Bond Hill. Will they also be moved to Indiana or possibly tossed to the curb?

    Despite The Dean’s bluster above and Greg’s response, Dean’s Cincinnati Beacon web site has a good roundup of the situation, comparing Cincinnati Business Courier coverage and a post on the anti-Enquirer News Ache site to Gannett’s official pronouncements and spin (see the Beacon story here: http://www.cincinnatibeacon.com/index.php/content/comments/three_spins_on_job_loss_the_enquirer_cincy_news_ache_and_the_business_couri/). Here’s the full internal memo sent from Marianne Navin to Enquirer employees, as mentioned in Greg’s initial post.

    TO: All Enquirer Employees
    RE: Community Press

    This morning, I announced that much of the production process at the Community Press, including all press operations, will be moved to the Journal and Courier, a Gannett newspaper in Lafayette, Indiana, in May, and we will be reducing the workforce by 31 positions. Employees whose jobs are being eliminated have been notified about the move and what their options are.

    This decision, as difficult as it is, will result in significantly improved product features that provide enhanced benefits for readers and advertisers.

    Lafayette’s new presses will allow us to provide readers and advertisers with full color on every page and a new “Berliner” size format that readers prefer because of its easier-to-use size.

    The printing of all Community Press and Community Recorder newspapers, along with our specialty publications, will be printed at the Lafayette site.

    Our goal is that carriers, readers and advertisers will not be impacted by this change.

    To help affected employees with this transition, the company has provided severance and benefits options, job opening information and outplacement services. Human Resources will be available on site at the Community Press offices on Para Drive through Wednesday to provide one-on-one consultation for any affected employees.

    If you have any questions about this, please feel free to call or see me.

  7. Natasha Says:

    Mr. Fox, the job growth that our president expounded upon last evening is reflected here, you see. All these “affected employees” will be lucky to get into the service industry; i.e., food service.

  8. The King Says:

    What is the difference between Jason Haap and God?
    God doesn’t think he’s Jason Haap.

  9. Sam Robinson Says:

    There’s more to this story than color availability and reader’s preference. The size change will affect ad portability.

    Full color is already available on every page at the commercial insert press at Gannett/Community Press’ Norwood printing plant (which is also being shut down). They already accept community newspaper orders there, so color’s not a new benefit. The reader’s preference evidence cited in favor of the Berliner format references commuters on European subways. That’s not an issue in Cincinnati.

    Currently, with slight adjustments, standard ad sizes can be placed in CityBeat, CIN Weekly or any tabloid format community newspaper. This allows advertisers to place ads in one tabloid paper or another without incurring extra production costs. But play around with page fractions on a Berliner tab and you’ll see that none of the standard tabloid ad sizes translate.

    If CIN Weekly –the biggest weekly news job run at the Para Street plant– goes to the new format their ads will no longer be portable to CityBeat, The Herald, Downtowner or Q City News. And vice versa.

    Buyers who currently split ad buys between small community, alt news/entertainment (CityBeat) and pure fluff (CIN) could look at this change as a new incentive to favor CIN over the alternatives. At the least it will further differentiate CIN in the local market, possibly in a way that will be perceived as making CIN more attractive.

    Personally, I like the new size. For now my Gannett sales rep says they’ll keep printing Q City News at the new plant. I’ll be happy if I can just get my full year’s supply of deluxe full color rate cards distributed before April, when all of the current ad sizes go kaput.

  10. Peter Deane Says:

    What the Enquirer is doing to kill jobs in their own community is nothing short of abondonment. Aren’t there enough people struggling already in Hamilton County?

  11. The Dean Says:

    King, I was talking to God last night, and he thought that joke was really funny!


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