Executives at the Tucson Citizen and Tucson Newspapers said Wednesday that fewer than 12 employees will be laid off as a result of cuts ordered by their corporate parent, the Gannett Co.
Gannett in October ordered all of the newspapers in its U.S. Community Publishing Division to cut payroll costs by 10 percent.
That could have meant as many as seven Tucson Citizen full-time employees and 41 full-time Tucson Newspapers staffers would be laid off.
But Citizen Interim Editor Jennifer Boice said she was able to reduce the number of layoffs by reducing the work hours of some staff, eliminating open positions and implementing an across-the-board salary freeze for 2009.
Two Citizen employees were laid off and one employee volunteered to take a severance package. Boice did not want them named, “out of respect” for their privacy.
Tucson Newspapers President Mike Jameson said in an e-mail that he has yet to finish making cuts at his company, which performs the non-news functions, such as advertising sales, printing and distribution, for the Citizen and the Arizona Daily Star. The Star is owned by Lee Enterprises and was not affected by the cuts.
Jameson said in his e-mail that he used some of the same methods Boice did, including reducing hours and eliminating open positions.
Despite those efforts, the company will still have to lay off staffers, he said. Jameson said he expects the number of employees laid off at Tucson Newspaper to be “in the single digits.”
Jameson said some of the affected staff won’t be notified until Monday and declined to talk more about the issue until then.
There are more than 80 newspapers in Gannett’s Community Publishing Division and about 30,000 employees.
Company officials in October said the economic downturn was causing advertising revenue to plummet, prompting the need for the 10 percent cut, which followed a smaller cut in August. The company allowed each publication to determine how it would meet the mandatory reduction, Boice said.
Thursday, Tara Connell, Gannett’s vice president of corporate communications, told Editor & Publisher, an industry trade publication, that the company expects about 2,000 employees to be laid off by the end of this week.