Gannett’s Design Centers Providing New Layoff Strategy

Marie Reeves ran her car into a tattoo parlor

All kinds of giggles going on in the news – topped by the story of a drunk woman who rammed her car into a tattoo store. A responsible tattoo parlor operator refused to tat up 50-year-old Marie Reeves. Of course, she did what anyone refused tattoo service would do — got in her car and rammed the front of the store.  She was able to back her car up, head on down the road, where she plowed into a couple of gravestones at a cemetery.  Naturally, her next move was to catch a cab from the cemetery down to Hotel Nightclub at 4th Street Live, where, somehow, she was finally apprehended.

And that, friends, is why it’s fun to be in the media and write about crime.

What’s not fun, though, is working at the Gannett-owned Courier-Journal.  There were at least seven layoffs at Sixth and Broadway around Christmas-time, with the news kept on the down-low.  Currently, another round of furloughs is underway, with employees expected to take a week of unpaid leave this quarter, my sources tell me.

But there’s some silver amongst the gray clouds, at least in Louisville. In Gannett’s effort to cut staff and streamline its national operation, it is creating several regional Design Centers. One of these Centers, rumored to result in an increase of up to 70 local jobs, will be located here. According to this memo, it is one of five design centers nationally and will begin operations here in May.

Newspapers in Cincinnati, Lansing, Lafayette, Muncie and Richmond will be produced here in Phase 1, with Indianapolis, Port Huron, Battle Creek and Newark joining in 2012.  Next month, Gannett is scheduled to begin interviews for designers and copy editors here.

The Design Center employees will do all design and pagination for Gannett papers, in theory allowing Gannett to lay off more people nationally. Content creation and copy editing will remain at local sites. At least until Gannett execs figure out a way to outsource reporting on local issues.