More age discrimination lawsuits for Gannett

Dateline: Mon 27 Feb 2012

http://richardbrenneman.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/blood-on-the-newsroom-floor-and-lots-of-it/

The above blogger Richard Brenneman, a longtime journalist, reports 2-19 on the as many as 8 job losses at the Indianapolis Star (design moves to Louisville, which the Guild fought but was doomed to lose).

That's a side note, however, to what Brenneman says on said blog about the state of American journalism and pending lawsuits against Gannett re: age discrimination:

"The bodies are falling fast, as American journalism goes through another round of contractions. We’ve also got another closing of a non-profit, and allegations of censorship and of age discrimination in layoffs."

FYI the non-profit is the Chicago News Cooperative.

Given Susan Guyett's age discrimination suit against the Indianapolis Star and Gannett, the age discrimination pattern is especially pertinent. Writes Brenneman:

"While the mantra of the new newspaper is pandering to the immediate, good journalism has always depended on situating events in a broader context of the community and its history.

"Newsrooms benefit from a multigenerational staff, with younger reporters attuned to news that matters for their peers, and older reporters serving as both representatives of their own generations and as resources for helping younger reporters contextual their stories and steering them towards contacts and resources gained over the course of decades of experience.

"But in today’s downsizing world of journalism, where corporate bean counters rule the roost, older reporters are the first to go because of their larger paychecks, higher insurance costs, and accumulated pensions.

"So it’s not surprising to hear that age discrimination is alleged in litigation filed by a brace of discarded editors.

"From Dave Malaska of City Beat in Cincinnati, Ohio:

"'As The Enquirer staff braces for another reduction in staff, the paper and its parent company might not yet have seen the full fallout of its decision to cut staff last year. Two of the newspaper’s former editors, Joe Fenton and Cathy Ruetter, have filed an age discrimination lawsuit against the newspaper and The Gannett Co. that soon could snowball into a much larger legal action.

'According to Fenton and Reutter’s attorney, Brian Gillian, the case is headed back to court this week where he will seek a motion for leave to amend.

“I would anticipate that there will end up being at least three and perhaps as many as four or five additional plaintiffs added to the case,” he says.

"Gillian declined to comment further, adding only that the original complaint spells out his clients’ case “very clearly.”

"In both cases, according to the original complaint, the plaintiffs — along with several other individuals The Enquirer laid off in February 2011 — were targeted because of their seniority. All were nearly 50 years old or older, while younger staffers — some who had been hired long after those let go — were kept on. In some cases, the newspaper ended up hiring younger people to assume their jobs, the complaint states.

"Gannett representatives didn’t respond to a request for comment."

Comments

hendy [Member] said:

A pattern of discrimination? Say it ain't so! If they don't behave, get justice until they do behave. Corporate sociopathic behavior shouldn't be rewarded.

Caveats: not a medical or legal professional in any jurisdiction and all the comments are my opinion as a civilian.

2012-02-28 05:31:42

Ms. Cynical [unverified] said:

IMHO, it's like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

2012-02-28 16:56:29

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Corporate sociopathic behavior. Damn that nails it on the head, Hendy.

How is Susan's lawsuit going, Ruthie? Any news?

Good karma Susan's way.

2012-03-01 16:35:47

fnqcfuiruzt [unverified] said:

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2012-03-02 00:27:17

Anonymous [unverified] said:

At the Indianapolis Star, they fired reporters this last time around, used the summer interns to take their places and cover what turned out to be front page stories, then permanently hired two of the former interns to take their places on the basis of the experience they got after the layoffs. How can they get away with that?

2012-03-02 11:06:11

Mile0 [unverified] said:

IBJ: Star settles suit with Guyett.
http://www.ibj.com/star-settles-agediscrimination-suit-with-excolumnist/PARAMS/article/33035

Dennis blew that one. All they had to do was rename/rebrand the column. The content/focus changed enough to support that.

2012-03-02 11:59:25

Gene Marx [unverified] said:

A briefly trained lemur could replace most of the newspaper reporters in the country.

2012-03-03 14:46:16

hendy [Member] said:

Thanks, Gene. I love broad observations made in a way that with a broad stroke, duns many hardworking people.

2012-03-04 11:57:32

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

A briefly trained aardvark could replace most of the corporate CEOs in the country.

2012-03-04 12:58:31

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