Tuesday 8 February 2011

Sports ed's farewell column blames 'corporate greed' for job cuts at Newsquest's US parent

I am sure many redundant British journalists will identify with the last column by laid-off sports editor Frank DiLeo for the Daily Record in Parsippany, New Jersey, owned by Gannett, the US parent company of Newsquest.

The Record is one of three Gannett dailies losing nearly half their combined 99 newsroom employees in a "work consolidation". DiLeo's column is unsurprisingly not on the Daily Record's website but has been picked up by the independent Gannett blog.

DiLeo writes: "The Daily Record sports department has strived over the years to bring you the best coverage of Morris County athletics as possible. Whether it was online or in print, in a weekly newspaper or a daily, we took great pride in the service that we provided for the community.

But all that work, all the sacrifices we made are worth nothing.

For the second time in two years, I am being laid off from my job as sports editor of the Daily Record. This despite being a 35-year-old manager who has received nothing but praise and exceptional reviews, always put his employees first, and truly cared for the community. In my 12 years with the company (Gannett), I have received almost every local, state and national award for my field, from headline writing to page designing and much more.

I even won the first New Jersey Press Association award for innovation a few years back.

It's ironic that in such a short time, I became a dinosaur.

Why was I laid off . . . again? I wish I knew, as do the other great folks here who put in decades of service only to see their career come to an end with no explanation.

I worked hard to build my career, only to be left with a few weeks of severance and reminders of what used to be.

Those of you who know me well know that I don't put much stock in emotion. But I can't help but to feel like a rube on the midway for thinking that someone as young, talented and loyal as I was would be able to stick with a company after proving time and time again that there was nothing I couldn't or wouldn't do for the good of the corporation.

I've worked through pneumonia many times, bronchitis, pleurisy, broken ribs, migraines, a gallbladder that stopped functioning for six months and many other ailments that I ignored doctors orders to stay home. All for the good of the company. This is where it got me.

But I am not alone in my bitterness.

Many great people worked their last day at the Daily Record on Friday. Nearly half the staff has been let go from an already thin crew. Folks that have been for over 30 years had to reapply for their positions and drive to Neptune, some of us had to do it four times in a span of two weeks, to be asked the exact same questions as the previous trip.


You'll have to ask Gannett management that question yourself, because I've never received anything resembling an explanation.

My guess is that we're all victims of corporate greed, just like millions of folks out there going through the same thing.

Things like truth, honor, work ethic and integrity mean nothing on an Excel spreadsheet. It's all about profit margins.

Gannett is not alone in this new world order of treating customers like an annoyance and employees like dogs who should be happy with whatever scraps are leftover.

Pick any major company, and you'll find an indifference to customer service and quality.

The Daily Record, more so its parent company Gannett, is no different.

Many talented, innovative, caring people were let go today. Meanwhile, the empty suits at corporate collect six and seven-figure salaries while accepting massive bonuses.

Please don't take this as knock against the Daily Record's bosses. They're great people who truly care about the community and this newspaper. Corporate greed everywhere has run amok, and we the people are left to deal with the consequences of its wake.

But it still hurts . . . again."

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