GateHouse’s Patriot Ledger of Quincy has posted an admirably straightforward story about what’s going on inside the ailing newspaper chain. The article, by Jon Chesto, describes the 7.75 percent pay cut announced by GateHouse New England chief executive Rick Daniels as “temporary.” The goal, Chesto writes, is to save $2.5 million this year.
The size of the pay reduction will vary depending on an employee’s salary, ranging from 7 percent up to just under 15 percent for the company’s top earners.
The average pay cut would be 7.75 percent. If the reduction lasts through the end of 2009, it would have the effect of an average pay cut of 4.5 percent for the full year. They will take effect next week except at the chain’s three [not two, as I wrote earlier] unionized papers: the Ledger, the Enterprise of Brockton and the Herald News of Fall River.
We also learn more about the downsizing that’s taken place recently. According to Chesto, “GateHouse cut its New England work force by about 10.5 percent since the start of the year through a mix of layoffs, voluntary buyouts, attrition and work-week reductions. After the latest round of job cuts, GateHouse Media New England will have the equivalent of more than 1,100 full-time employees.”
That amounts to a bit more than 100 positions lost since the beginning of the year.
This is miserable news if you’re a GateHouse employee. But it’s encouraging that Daniels has committed himself to reversing the pay cuts if and when the advertising market recovers. I’m also impressed that GateHouse — like my friends at the Boston Phoenix — is cutting higher-paid employees by a larger percentage than those at the bottom of the pay scale.