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Friday, July 10,2009

LSJ layoff news

Blog says LSJ will cut 28 in total, LSJ says 26

by Neal McNamara

The Lansing State Journal has let go at least nine employees, including two executives, as part of a new round of layoffs ordered by its parent company, Gannett, sources confirm.

According to a letter from LSJ Publisher Brian Priester to the paper's employees posted Thursday night on a blog covering the layoffs, 28 employees will be cut in total. However, a story posted Thursday night on the LSJ's Web site puts the total cuts at 26.

"To ease any additional anxiety I asked each department head to meet with their staff when they were finished meeting with all individuals impacted by these layoffs. Because we operate 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, all of the required layoffs could not be completed today. But layoff notification has been given to all affected employees scheduled to work today," Priester wrote in his letter.


According to Priester's letter, no reporters were cut. However, the blog Gannettoid is reporting (click here to view the thread) that an LSJ source says a reporter/copy editor was let go. The blog also says that the dispute between an official LSJ story claiming 26 layoffs and Priester's letter claiming 28 is because two laid off employees work for a regional Gannett entity, but are based in the Lansing office.

Last year, the LSJ laid off 40.

The latest employees confirmed to be gone are:

Librarian Pam Gawronski

Copy Editor Ellen Wolkensperg


Circulation Director Diana Kennedy

Controller Mike Wieber

Four employees in the circulation department

One employee from the business department


Several sources report that at least five have been cut from the advertising department.

City Pulse will update the numbers and names of those cut as we learn more.

In a  July 1 memo, Gannett executive Bob Dickey said he was ordering 1,400 layoffs company wide. Gannett owns 102 newspapers in the U.S. and Great Britain, including USA Today. Dickey said the cuts were to take place by today.

City Pulse has contacted Priester for comment, but he has yet to return the call.

Like all Gannett newspapers, the LSJ has been forced to furlough employees. Its layoffs last year  included the entire staff of the young reader publication, Noise, and longtime entertainment writer Mike Hughes.

Older stories about LSJ layoffs can be found here (http://www.lansingcitypulse.com/lansing/article-2407-more-with-less.html) and here (http://www.lansingcitypulse.com/lansing/article-3094-capitol-news-coverage-dying.html) .

Other cuts of note at Gannett include 132 at the Detroit Free Press.

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