Thirty-seven people were laid off at the Indianapolis Star yesterday and today as part of Virginia-based parent
Gannett Co. Inc.’s attempt to grapple with the swooning economy and falling advertising revenue.
Seventeen of those
laid off were in the newsroom of the state’s largest daily newspaper, including seven editors, which constitutes one-fourth
of the editorial management team.
The recent voluntary departure of four newsroom staffers spared more layoffs,
said Indianapolis Newspaper Guild officials.
“It’s one of the worst days in the Star’s
history in terms of losing valuable co-workers,” said Tom Spalding, Star business reporter and Guild president.
“We lost a lot of very valuable talent.”
Spalding called this week’s events among the worst in
the newsroom since the closing of the Star’s sister publication—The Indianapolis News—in
The Guild is in the process of negotiating a new contract for its members, who on June 30 voted down a new
pact which called for 12-percent pay cuts. Spalding said he is unsure how today’s announced layoffs will affect the
ongoing contract negotiations.
Prior to this week’s cuts, Star staffers have endured four rounds
of layoffs since August that resulted in the termination of 30 newsroom employees.
After today’s cuts, Spalding
said the union now represents 184 members, including newsroom and building services staffers.
The layoffs at the
Star were part of massive layoffs across all Gannett properties, which includes 85 daily newspapers, most notably
USA Today. Gannett officials said they plan to shed 1,400 jobs, or about 3 percent of its total work force. Gannett
axed 10 percent of its staff last year.
Star management officials did not return calls seeking comment.