Gazette reduces staff

Thursday, January 15, 2009
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— The Daily Gazette today laid off 16 employees.

The cuts, which included newsroom staffers, were prompted by adverse

business conditions, particularly by declines in advertising revenue and

the high cost of newsprint.

In the past six months, the paper has taken other steps to boost revenue

and reduce costs, including earlier staff reductions and elimination of

the weekly TV supplement.

The measures are similar to those taken by newspapers across the country.

"Our staff will continue to produce a high quality newspaper that will

serve our readers and advertisers in the Capital Region," said Dan Beck,

the company's general manager.

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January 15, 2009
4:13 p.m.
timsloan says...

Or, you could end publication, entirely.

Which you will.

January 15, 2009
4:28 p.m.
Katee says...

That is extremely rude. Please take your bitterness somewhere else.

January 15, 2009
5:31 p.m.

Last one to leave should turn off the lights.
Seriously, this sucks. As far as the statement about "we'll continue to produce a high-quality product," from management, that's crap. When you cut staff for the fourth time (at least) the product suffers. And morale, which was ridiculously low three years ago, must be non-existent now.
And they just raised the price by 50 percent. Nice management there.

January 15, 2009
5:49 p.m.
rdf8585 says...

A lot of big city newspapers are struggling to survive, so how much longer can The Gazette realistically last?

"Scores of papers, large and small, will fold this year. Newspaper expert Alan Mutter recently wrote that any paper in a major city with two dailies is in tremendous trouble." -

January 15, 2009
6:57 p.m.
PatZ says...

I am truly sorry to hear this. I've always regarded this newspaper highly.

January 15, 2009
7:36 p.m.
Johnny says...

I travel a lot and the DG is a good newspaper. They do a good job with local events, but when I lived in Rochester, they cut the work force then complained that production was down. You need people to make the product work.

However, I'm tired of hearing about the high cost of newsprint. Everybody uses that line. For years, I have asked the Gazette to deliver in places like Delmar, but they refuse. Why not try to expand the market and sell more. The Times Union is a not a very good newspaper; the Gazette's local section is better. Why not take the TU on in Albany County?

I really think newspapers are giving up and moreover, I think they want to give up. They want to get rid of the printed editions and will deliver via email for a subscription price. This will increase the profit margins tremendously.

They will print enough editions to deliver to the Stewart's and Price Choppers, but home delivery will be a thing of the past. If you're home, you'll read the "paper" online; if you're on the road, you'll pick up a copy for 75 cents.

And, young people---those under 35---don't even know how to read a newspaper, but will they pay for an online newspaper? Not sure.

This is what they want. The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press only home deliver on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The rest of the week is online, or buy in stores. The rest will follow suit.

January 15, 2009
8:25 p.m.
saratogasal says...

My heart goes out to the dedicated staffers of The Gazette newsroom who were laid off today. For years, these editors, reporters and photographers endured relatively low wages and no raises because of their passion for delivering the unfiltered truth. I hope they all land somewhere that they can continue doing what they're best at -- deliverying the truth, without censor, bias or judgment.

January 15, 2009
8:35 p.m.
PastorFuzzy says...

Put a fork in the Gazette cause it is done.

January 15, 2009
10:16 p.m.
RCordone says...

That birdcage liner printer over on Albany Shaker RD reports that many of the cuts are in the Life and Arts section. That is a shame. The Gazette has long had the best arts and entertainment reporting in the Capital District.

I hope you folks can weather the storm and bring back the high quality reporting we have long enjoyed from The Gazette

January 15, 2009
10:43 p.m.
choerilus says...

The Gazette was the paper I grew up with, but the reality is that we are in a recession. Not to mention we have four, count that, four newspapers covering the capital district. Not enough news happens around here to warrant that many.

Top this with this crazy, new invention called the internet where news is updated in real time, and you can see why The Gazette is struggling. Maybe they should make their publication available exclusively online.

But, I'm sure someone would complain about that, too.

January 15, 2009
11:13 p.m.
Craig_Johnson says...

The Gazette is the best newspaper in this area. Print quality, local news reporting, photography, Arts & Entertainment, everything goes way beyond what the TU just throws out there. You want to know what's going on in Istanbul then pick up the TU. You want to know what goes on in your own back yard, pick up the Gazette. Advertisers don't have that extra to set aside and run an ad at this time. It would be unfortunate to see the Gazette close it's doors in the future or near future with the economy the way it is. I will keep reading the Gazette.

Also, Adirondackal, for someone who has such a gripe and some kind of "problem" with the Gazette, you sure do spend a lot of time commenting on the web polls, stories, opinions and what not. You must not hate it as much as you say/blog you do. Something is obviously keeping your attention.

January 16, 2009
2:27 a.m.
schdy says...

I am sorry to hear of the cutbacks. Considering these economic times and the reports of so many newspapers doing the same thing or even going out of business it is disturbing to lose privately owned newspaper organizations or have cut backs that limit their ability to fully cover events in their community. I stutter at the thought of someday the only news gathering in a community is subsidized and run by the government. Sounds far fetched? Is it really?

I look forward to reading the paper each morning but I never buy the paper copy for a number of reasons one is the mess collecting then getting rid of the copy. The second is the ability to respond to an article via the internet.

I am hoping that the Gazette can recover via the electronic version.

May God be with each and everyone of these people who will be starting the new year on a rough road.

January 16, 2009
7:20 a.m.
KeepingItReal says...

Dear Gazette, it's going to take big changes to stop the bleeding and start the healing process, not little steps that result in a long ugly death.

January 16, 2009
8:27 a.m.
marylouA says...

The Gazette was a great paper at one time. Now, they have closed many of the local bureaus. This has resulted in no local news being reported. In Stillwater the tax collector quit, in Mechanicville audits have not been done in three years, in Mechanicville they bought a $750,000.00 fire truck, in Stillwater taxes went up more than 20%. The public is unaware of most of this important news because there is no one from the Gazette here to report it or to keep the public informed. What a shame! It seems they are gutting the heart and soul of the paper and the result is clear. The paper is no longer worth buying because it's mostly copy and paste AP and other wire news. We can all get that from the internet for free. It's time management at the Daily Gazette takes the hit. How many upper management have been laid off? Probably none. I understand the need to cut back in area because of the economic conditions but taking out reporters and closing bureau’s is only going result in a quicker death of the paper. Reinvest and reinvent yourself. Hire reporters, dig for news and give your readers what they want and need. If management can't find or recognize the opportunities with the changing media then fire them and hire new people with fresh idea's and new thinking. The Gazette could take advantage of the internet but thus far the web-site lacks anything really inviting. Get back into the local news business and hire people who think outside the box before it's too late. I'm not renewing my subscription when it expires unless something changes real soon. It's very sad.

January 16, 2009
9:15 a.m.
tweedle_dum says...

My guess is that the Gazette has no plan to deal with the crisis, other than to shed staff.

It has closed most of its bureaus will probably condense sections --- but these are only stop-gaps. there will be more layoffs, more changes... eventually, it will look like a tab and have less than 10 reporters. and then it will be sold or it will close.

maybe the owners are trying to sell it now, and the layoffs make the paper look profitable on paper to a potential buyer?

who knows?

January 16, 2009
12:21 p.m.
myshortpencil says...

Here's how the Gazette can survive and make a profit:

1. Create online outlines of how-to instructions for writing articles, columns and feature stories or find suitable alternatives already in existence.

2. Turn the outlines into 6, 10-minute video segments for each type of story and post them on You-Tube.

3. Create or find a reverse auction site where the editors describe the kinds of stories they're looking for, the deadlines, and readers bid to write the stories. The site should also permit readers to submit story ideas. The essence of transforming the paper is here because the variety of content for publication should explode. Essentially, most reporters become independent contract workers paid via PayPal and reporting becomes a part-time endeavor.

4. Have para-editors review and correct stories before publication. These positions can be contract-bid, telecommuting jobs and they can be structured via piecemeal work so the para-editorial group "grabs" stories to edit from an online supply with a turnaround time of 30 minutes . . . and lots of other details.

5. Permit readers to vote/rank/rate stories online, so local favorites can be identified. The most successful writers can be awarded some type of bidding advantage.

6. Keep innovating. The demand for newspapers cannot be based on traditional news content because, like music, it's available everywhere for free. It has to be based on local celebrity, like Strock O.o, local perceptions and local interests.

7. Innovate some more. Advertising works best when it's targeted to what an individual wants. It tells her/him how to get the best product or service by the fastest, cheapest, means. You have to do this both online and in print.

8. There's more but it comes after refining the new structure and honing the content.

January 16, 2009
4:29 p.m.
timsloan says...

The Corporate structure is not your friend, Katee.

Or, don't you read the papers?

January 17, 2009
12:14 a.m.

It's a sad day in Whoville and my heart goes out to those who were affected by this recent round of cuts. I'm so sorry.

January 17, 2009
9:39 a.m.
Johnny says...

When the internet was booming, newspapers charged to read the paper online. Then, they were duped to give the paper away for free. Now, people could read the paper online for free, so the need for home delivery or buying it at Stewart's was gone. The devalued their own product. Then, the profit margins went down, and staffs were cut.

In order to survive, local papers have to be "more local than ever," to get people to buy what they can get for free elsewhere. Like him or hate him (I like), Carl Strock is a reason why I buy the paper on Tuesdays and Thursdays and sometimes Sundays. Cutting staff makes the paper less local and that is not good , my friends.

I know the Gazette has an E-edition that costs $2.95 per week. I wonder how that's doing? Are there people subscribing to it. The free online edition is very good, but it's not the whole paper. Has the free edition hurt the paid online edition.

There are a lot of comments here. I hope somebody from the Gazette will respond.

January 17, 2009
12:01 p.m.
marylouA says...

Johnny, my point exactly. The Gazette no longer provides the local news. Copy and paste wire news will not bring the Gazette back. If they don't provide "good" local coverage of what is happening in our schools, city's towns and villages then why subscribe. It may be too late for them to get their priorities in order but I hope not. They said that they will "continue" to provide a good quality newspaper. Well, it's not happening and hasn't for a while now. As readers, we know they are not. What a shame. Good luck to the folks laid off and I pray for you all to find good, fulfilling work

January 17, 2009
1:38 p.m.
jpatrick says...

As managing editor of The Gazette, it's heartening to see so much interest in our work. We want input.

For the record, I think we cover local news very well now. Sure, I'm biased, but here are some examples from Friday's paper: stories about the debate over all-day kindergarten in Scotia-Glenville, a bid by Niskayuna to receive aid for ice storm damages, increased fees at the Saratoga Spa State Park, an explosion that destroyed a house in Broadalbin, a status report on snow removal in the city of Schenectady, the lockdown of a Schenectady school after a neighborhood shooting, an update on the Gloversville mayoral campaign, a feature on a cancer fundraiser in Saratoga Springs, a civil confinement hearing for a sex offender in Fulton County, efforts in Glenville to streamline the planning process, work at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake schools to reduce next year's budget, an update on a pedestrian struck by an SUV in Moreau, news of rising foreclosure rates in the region, an update on falling milk prices, the local impact of the upcoming switch to digital TV and an update on the city of Amsterdam landlord registration law.

Judy Patrick

January 17, 2009
2:41 p.m.
marylouA says...

Ms. Patrick,
you did show some examples of local coverage.

That being said, Mechanicville and Stillwater have no coverage and a lot is happening. The citizens of our community are all talking and none appears to bode well for the Gazette. Hard news from Clifton Park and Halfmoon is non-existent as well.

I bet if a house blows up in Stillwater your paper will cover it but as local government implodes here no one will know by reading the Gazette. This is not meant to beat up the Gazette. Rather, it is to let you and your managment know how we feel.

January 17, 2009
6:50 p.m.
Johnny says...

Your local news has always been good, but with less staff, I wonder how that will continue and not become the Times Union awful Capital Region section.

January 18, 2009
8:12 a.m.
PastorFuzzy says...

Judy, For the record, You cover local news ok, not very well. You don't seem to know what "local" is. Some of your examples are not local they are regional. Who cares about Broadalbin, Gloversville, Fulton County and Amsterdam if you live in or near Schenectady? No one, that's who.

January 18, 2009
12:01 p.m.
Johnny says...

I think that's a bit unfair. The Gazette publishes three editions: Schenectady, Saratoga, Fulton-Montgomery, so to say that nobody cares about Amsterdam and Fulton County is absurd. I'm sure the people who live there and BUY the paper care.

If papers want to stay alive, I don't think they can skimp on local news. Local news coverage is what will seperate newspapers from the Yahoos of the world. Of course, the local TV stations and Capital News 9 have websites as well, but for many, that is not the first place they look for news, is it?

Once the local news section goes, then the local newspaper, to me, will be done. Section A is mostly national and world news and that comes from ther Associated Press. Yes, a top story like the church closings will be in that section, but much of section A is obtained through news services.

The Local section has to be unique and it can't be all puff. The Times Union Capital Region section is the worst local section I have ever seen and I read plenty of newspapers. Page 2 is a waste with the community almanac, that is not news, that is puff and all of that stuff is sent in by groups and organizations. The Gazette has local news and not a lot of that community crap that the TU does, but I feel that with all the cuts in staffing, the DG is going to resemble the TU in the future. Please, DON'T DO THAT!

As for Mechanicville and Stillwater, doesn't The Saratogian cover them a bit more than the DG? I know that the newspapers can't cover everything, but I certainly understand if one lives in those two areas, they would want more coverage.

The key to the future is three words: Local, Local, Local.

January 19, 2009
7:49 a.m.
marylouA says...

My final comment. Johnny hit the nail on the head when he said the future of the DG or any other newspaper is three words: Local, Local, Local. With poor, little or no local coverage no one will buy the paper. Why would they? All the other "stuff" can be found on the internet without any trouble. The reporters that are left are spread too thin to do local coverage justice so the only local news we'll hear about is a house blowing up or a murder. Local government will run wild and no one will report it, dig for it or attend meetings. Other than the politician’s spoon feeding fluff to a reporter we're left in the dark without the real news that we're willing to pay to get. It's very troubling indeed and I don't see management or the ownership waking up in time to turn things around.

January 19, 2009
11:32 a.m.
Johnny says...

Excellent points by Retired and MarylouA. I have had it with the local TU. The fact that I would like to subscribe to the Gazette, but can't says a lot about the Daily Gazette. If I could convince my wife to read the paper online, I too could save the $260 per year that the TU costs.

I have read newspapers since I was 8 years old. I used to fight over the paper with my father (it came in the evening back then), but now, I sit down with my coffee, and look at it in about five minutes because there is nothing there. The Local sections are thinner and thinner each and everyday, and the Sunday paper is just not worth the $2.00 cover price. If you take out the ads and the fluff, it is no bigger than the Thursday editions, which usually have the weekend/coming attractions section.

Trimming staffs, eliminating the Life section from the daily paper (as the TU has done), is just another example of the newspaper giving up. In Detroit, they only deliver the News and the Free Press on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The rest of the week, you read online or buy it at a store. Another give up.

I may be wrong, but most newspapers still have better than normal profit margins. I once heard that newspapers enjoyed 30 percent profit margins; now they are in the 10-12 percent range. The bottom line is that they are still making money, but not as much money as they used to, but most businesses would "kill" for 12 percent margins. Maybe my facts are off, but something tells me that I'm close here.

Maybe there are too many local papers in the Capital Region. Maybe we don't need the Times Union, Gazette, Troy Record, Saratogian, Amsterdam Recorder, and Gloversville Leader-Herald. But, the fear is that if some or all go, the Times Union will be left standing and will get worse than it already is.

The Gazette should increase its marketing, and expand home delivery to places like Ravena, Delmar, etc. They used to advertise on TV and radio, "Take Another Look," but have since given up on that. What happened there?

I know many local papers have a Newspapers in Education program, but when I visit schools (my job), I see them bundled in string near or in the Main Office. Delivering the newspaper is not enough, why doesn't the Gazette get somebody in the schools to help teachers and students use the papers. They usually give me a paper so there is less to throw away, err, recycle.

Dropping them off doesn't get the job done, and these are your future readers.

I'll stop now, because I could keep going, but it is frustrating.

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