WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
August 2nd, 2013 By German Lopez | News | Posted In: News, Media

‘Enquirer’ Restructures Kentucky, West Chester Offices

Parent company Gannett lays off 400-plus around nation

enquirer2Prototype of the new tabloid-style Enquirer. - Image: The Cincinnati Enquirer

Although it’s moving staff out of its offices in Kentucky, The Cincinnati Enquirer intends to continue publishing a daily Kentucky edition with unique content for Northern Kentucky.

Editor Steve Wilson was among those laid off from The Kentucky Enquirer yesterday. He will remain at the newspaper for four weeks, along with several colleagues who were also laid off.

Wilson told CityBeat that The Enquirer isn’t backing away from its commitment to northern Kentucky, but acknowledges problems posed by the layoffs.

“Clearly, all things being equal, you want to have reporters based in the area they’re covering. That just makes sense. Everybody would agree with that,” Wilson says. “But in this case, they apparently had their reasons that made sense to them.”

Wilson won’t speculate on the reasons, but he cites cost concerns as an ongoing problem. “Gannett, like most companies, is very bottom-line-driven, and they had to do something to reduce expenses,” he says, pointing to the continuing trend of downsizing in the news industry.

Following the demise of The Cincinnati Post in 2007, The Cincinnati Enquirer and its Kentucky edition made strides to appeal to northern Kentucky readers. One example: The newspaper stopped referring to the region as “Greater Cincinnati,” instead adopting “Greater Cincinnati and northern Kentucky” — a lede-unfriendly moniker that was meant to show The Enquirer was serious about reaching out.

But a source close to The Enquirer who asked to remain anonymous questioned the success of those efforts, given yesterdays layoffs.

Gannett Blog claims 23 people were laid off at Enquirer offices, but it’s difficult to confirm the report because of Gannett’s secrecy with staffing issues.

More than 400 people lost their jobs at Gannett newspapers around the nation, according to the blog.

Based on information gathered so far, the local layoffs span through the Cincinnati and Kentucky versions of The Enquirer, Community Press and Community Recorder.

A source close to the situation told CityBeat that eight reporters, two editors and one photographer are moving from the Kentucky offices to downtown Cincinnati, with the remaining Kentucky staff members laid off. Staff members were also moved from the newspaper’s West Chester office, which covered Butler and Warren counties.

Original reports claimed the Kentucky and West Chester offices were closing, but they will apparently remain open for reporters in a limited capacity.

The source gave the names of five people who were laid off: Wilson; Bill Cieslewicz, a mid-level editor; Jackie Demaline, theatre critic and arts writer; Paul McKibben, breaking news reporter; and Ealer Wadlington, listing coordinator.

When asked about the layoffs, Gannett spokesperson Jeremy Gaines told journalism industry blogger Jim Romenesko, “Some USCP (U.S. Community Publishing) sites are making cuts to align their business plans with local market conditions.”

The nationwide layoffs come a couple weeks after Gannett CEO Gracia Martore proudly claimed on July 22, “We are accelerating our transformation into the ‘New Gannett’ every day.”

Updated on Nov. 4 at 12:03 p.m.: Added final layoff numbers from Gannett Blog.

Updated on Aug. 6 at 11:13 a.m.: Added the latest layoff numbers from Gannett Blog.

Updated on Aug. 6 at 10:47 a.m.: Reports now say that The Enquirer will keep its Kentucky and West Chester offices open in a limited capacity. The story was updated to reflect the latest news.

 
 
08.02.2013 at 03:26 Reply

Very sad to hear all this. Thanks for keeping tabs on the layoffs, German.

The loss of Demaline is a particular blow to the local arts community and to readers, who are now left without a full-time theater critic in a city that's brimming with talent at CCM and regional theaters. Demaline wrote plenty of reviews, of course, but she also did a lot to help up-and-coming writers, working with local high schoolers interested in arts criticism. 

I've been impressed by many of editor Carolyn Washburn's moves at the Enquirer, including the hiring of Julie Irwin Zimmerman for the opinion section and James Pilcher for investigations. 

But cutting one of the last staffers focused on arts seems like a dumb move to me.

 

08.03.2013 at 03:00

Thanks for your comment. We'd like to note that CityBeat's Rick Pender has been covering local theater since 1986 and has been doing so for CityBeat since its inception in 1994. He's pretty much a full-time critic even though he has a bunch of other stuff to do...

 

08.04.2013 at 08:19

@Danny Cross, great point. I certainly didn't mean to leave out Rick, who's been an exceptional and steady critic for years. We're lucky to have him in the city and as readers of CityBeat.

 

 
 
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