Stunning losses at the Star

Dateline: Thu 09 Jul 2009

Here is the final brutal tally --- 37 people in all. A Guild officer is the source:

")Thomas, Jackie AME/Features
2)Greenberg, Allen Assistant Metro Editor/State Government
3)Seifert, Channon Features Art Director
4)Carr, Ricky building services-GC (guild contract)
5)Baugh, Vanessa building services-GC
6)Abney, William building services-GC
7)Barber, Steven building services-GC
8)Fazle, Rasheed online-GC
9) Demaree, Rosalyn V -- editor in the Fishers-based north office
10) Reichanadter, Jeri -- photographer, picture desk, Fishers-GC
11) Cooper, Melinda -- calendar desk, Fishers-GC
12) Eggert, Donna -- West bureau paraprofessional-GC
13) Gouveia, Marisol - features copy desk-GC
14) Hawn, John -- features copy desk chief
15) Jordan, Chris -- features designer-GC
16) Jonason, Bob -- online/calendar desk
17) Petrina, Renee -- copy desk-GC
18) Dunkin, Zach -- features (travel) reporter-GC
19) Halladay, Sylvia -- news researcher. Also secretary of Indy News Guild and secretary on contract bargaining team -GC
20) Watson, Michelle -- copy desk. Also member of the contract bargaining team. -GC
21) Roberts, Shirley -- business copy desk

"The Indianapolis Star as a whole lost 37 people today.

"Included in that were news professionals: The Guild lost 14 members (10 who are in the newsroom and 4 in building services), leaving the Guild with 184 people it represents.

"Seven editors are gone -- one-fourth of the management team

"Two magazine editors were laid off June 19.

"In addition, four employees departed on their own, which spared more layoffs. Those leaving include Heather Charles-photo-GC, Keith Manring, news editor-GC, Konrad Marshall-features-GC, and Brendan O'Shaughnessy-news reporter-GC."

This amount of carnage indicates how deep the troubles run in the Gannett company, and how managaement prefers to solve them -- firing good workers in the rank and file. Where are the losses from corporate headquarters? Those jobs remain safe.


stuteville [unverified] said:

-30- in the worst possible way

2009-07-09 20:43:26

TravelMan [unverified] said: heart sank when I read Zach Dunkin's name. He's escaped the previous layoffs. But this one got him. I shouldn't be shocked, but I am. Very sorry to see him go. He was so dedicated to the travel page in recent years - their only reporter on the travel beat - and he did great work for local and state tourism. A great go-to guy when you had a travel story to share. What a shame.

2009-07-09 20:48:44

ruthholl [Member] said:

Zach and I were lucky enough to be named arts/entertainment and lifestyle editors respectively at the newspaper. I never saw a guy happier and more proud to be a part of the paper; he was so excited that day the announcements were made -- we were in the big leagues now, a merged section, ready to rock and roll.
He is a consummate features guy: great instincts, great stories. I hope he enjoys his next Margarita. Deserved.

2009-07-09 20:59:33

starmanz1228 [Member] said:

Ruth, that was the greatest day of my life. After all those years of covering sports and rock and roll, I had finally gotten my dream job. The staff was fat with talent like the Star has never been and I had the honor of letting it take me for the ride. We had a voice then. We had power. We told people what was good and what sucked and how to spend their money. I'm kinda in shock right now but I'll never forget those days. look. It's sad to see most of that goneI'm kinda. in shock at the

2009-07-09 21:52:32 [Member] said:

This is from GannettBlog. Could be said about many here in Indy. You, and Jim, are doing a great job, but I can understand why he's moving on -- it's too sad:
Anonymous said...
After 30 yrs of faithful service at the AZ Republic, my husband received the 'dreaded call' around 4:30pm Wednesday..this is the thanks he got for his loyalty, honesty, dedication and dependability. How many times has he gone in to work for a colleague who habitually called in sick with a 'hangnail'; how many times did he drop everything, including scrapping dinner plans with me, to go in to work on short notice? How many times did he work 2 weeks straight without a day off? Oh, the colleague who always called off sick? She's still there. Screw you Gannett..I hope all of you upper management people enjoy your bonuses and stock options at the expense of former 'slaves' like my husband. But we are going to be alright, because my husband will find a job with a company that is worthy of his loyalty, not some crappy outfit like yours. You did him a big favor. Bitter? Yes, I am bitter..and Mr. Pulliam is spinning in his grave...I believe the count at the AZ Republic is 104..middle management mostly..thanks Jim, for doing this Blog..

2009-07-10 03:31:41

John Howard [unverified] said:

What I've found in the past is when employees being leaving of their own accord while massive layoffs occur, that is the death knell for the company.

The remaining employees have 'seen the writing on the wall' and are so demoralized they leave voluntarily.

2009-07-10 06:10:49

Skip Berry [unverified] said:

The irony is, if this keeps up, all those corporate suits who've been protecting themselves are going to be the only ones left in the building. I guess that means they're going to get down in the trenches and do the work required to continue putting out a daily newspaper, even if it is only an e-version.

2009-07-10 06:37:18

hendy [Member] said:

I'm telling you guys: the Indianapolis Times ought to be revived. The talent at The Star was eviscerated. Yes, there area few key writers/journalists left.... but it's a bad day. Time to do the smart thing and reform competitively.

2009-07-10 08:31:57

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Such sad news. But here's what I don't get:

Were these layoffs based on seniority? If so, are they chopping off the most-expensive? Or was there some sort of systematic task review, that lopped off those least-needed (in the narrow minds of management)?

I ask because I can count a few reporters who were not in that mix, who are, for the most part, much less-experienced and cheaper, I'd guess. And with whom I've dealt numerous times. One is a perfectly lousy reporter.
Yet that reporter i still there, redefining mediocrity hourly.

So what gives?

I'm hoping against hope that times improve and these folks get called back. But times are tough. I'm 55, and in my circle of eight friends, four are laid off after long careers. We're doing a lot of potlucks and trying to prop one another up.

The human carnage in this recession is deep and wide, and terribly sad.

2009-07-10 09:02:45

B2 [unverified] said:

The Pulliam heirs violated the family trust by selling out to Gannett. I remember getting call from a friend at another Gannett newspaper the day the sale was announced. His first words were, "If you're smart, you'll get out as soon as you can."
How right he was.
And how sad this is.

2009-07-10 09:23:59

John Howard [unverified] said:

B2 points out something that has shown itself through all types of US corporations: The Buyout.

Companies buying each other and becoming mega-corporations - this has been the downfall of our economy in my opinion.

2 decades ago the courts recognized a huge 'Ma Bell' was a bad thing and it was split up.

But huge insurance, financial, publishing companies built from multiple purchases of smaller ones has proven time and again to do one thing:

Enrich a handful of upper management then collapse into ruin.

This is, in effect, another type of Ponzi scheme which (like all of them) only lasts until it collapses under its own weight. And that is usually not very long.

2009-07-10 09:47:11

varangianguard [Member] said:

Very disheartening.

2009-07-10 10:34:42

Christy Thompson [unverified] said:

Wow. Just wow.

That's brutal.

Sympathies and best wishes for all of you. Have a beer and know that there's life after Gannett.

2009-07-10 11:05:29

Ol' Red [unverified] said:

Maybe Myrta can explain to us again how her father and grandfather would have approved of selling to Gannett.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

2009-07-10 14:55:54

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

"I'm 55, and in my circle of eight friends, four are laid off after long careers. We're doing a lot of potlucks and trying to prop one another up."

I'm with ya, TTT. Good thing for me that I'm a vegetarian because I couldn't afford to buy hamhocks to toss into that lucky pot even if I ate meat.

These are devastating times for journalists. If you don't believe me, I'll show you my last income tax statement.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of these fine people who were "let go." Hang in there! The sun really does come up with each new day. And I can testify based on personal experience.

I'm sure right now it looks pretty hazy outside for you, though.

2009-07-10 15:13:04

Ex-Star guy [unverified] said:

I left the Star voluntarily four years ago after +20 years. I'm really, really glad I did and can vouch for the fact that there is a much happier life awaiting post-Gannett.

However, I still feel like a part of the Star "family" and it really hurts to see all these old friends treated so poorly.

I wish you all the best and hope you get on with the next part of your life soon, and live happily ever after. Once you get going again, you'll be glad you're not there anymore.

2009-07-10 15:59:24

Mike Kent [unverified] said:

I'm stunned. They let go some of the most experienced people.

2009-07-10 16:50:38

ruthholl [Member] said:

I wonder if Myrta still works at the building. As my husband said, her laundry bill will go up, with all the people spitting on her.
Sorry. I had to get that out.

2009-07-10 22:36:27

It'sMe [unverified] said:


Thanks for getting that out. I so agree. I wonder how well she and Russ sleep at night?

2009-07-11 22:53:59

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