Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Neosho Daily, Carthage Press owner offers voluntary buyouts, layoffs may be ahead

GateHouse Media is offering its employees at hundreds of papers across the nation, including the Neosho Daily News, Carthage Press, and Pittsburg Morning Sun in this area, a voluntary severance offer.

If the company does not receive enough volunteers, the implication is that layoffs will be made that are not voluntary.

The New York-based newspaper company recently emerged from bankruptcy after years of buying small and medium sized newspapers, then cutting staff and merging operations with nearby newspapers.

The company also owns the Big Nickel in Joplin, the Aurora Advertiser and other Missouri newspapers in communities including Hannibal, Chillicothe, Moberly, Mexico, Boonville, Kirksville, Camdenton, and Rolla.

The text of Davis' letter to GateHouse employees is printed below:

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

To: All GateHouse Media Eligible Employees 
FROM: Kirk Davis, CEO, GateHouse Media, LLC

Today GateHouse Media is announcing a Voluntary Severance Offer (VSO). The action supports ongoing efforts across our organization to reduce costs. While we continue to make progress toward our goal of being revenue positive by 2018 and year-to-date our revenue performance has improved and outperformed our industry peers, we continue to see revenue declines and must align our expenses accordingly.

Eligible GateHouse Media employees will have until 2:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, August 29, 2016 to express interest in participating in the VSO. The Company will make a final decision as to which interested employees will be offered participation in the VSO by Wednesday, September 7, 2016. For those employees who ultimately participate in the VSO, their last date of employment will generally occur on Friday, September 16, 2016.

For employees represented by a union, the Company has contacted your leadership to discuss participation, if any, in this Voluntary Severance Offer.

The terms of the VSO eligibility are as follows:

-A GateHouse Media employee, excluding those in Propel Business Services (which includes Propel Marketing, ThriveHive, SureWest, ViWo, BestRide, and W-Systems), BridgeTower Media, the Center for News & Design (CND), and GateHouse Media New England, in an active status -- meaning not on a leave of absence.

-An employee on military leave will be eligible to participate.

-A temporary employee is not eligible to participate.

An employee must (a) accept offered participation in the VSO (following his or her expression of interest) and (b) sign and not revoke the separation and release agreement that will be provided.
The terms of the VSO offer are as follows:

-An employee participating in the VSO will receive (1) week of severance pay at his/her base pay rate for each year of service completed, with a minimum severance amount of one (1) week of base pay and a maximum severance amount of 13 weeks of base pay.

-An employee with twenty (20) years or more of service will receive severance payments equal to 17 weeks of base pay.

-Service shall be determined based on the number of FULL years completed with the Company, with the exception being that if the termination date falls 60 days or less before a service anniversary, then this last year of service shall be counted as a full year.

If you are interested in receiving this offer, please sign the attached form and return it to Human Resources by 2:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, August 29, 2016 at email address: or FAX number (585) 248-2631.

Please understand that even though you express interest in the offer by submitting the attached form, the Company will determine who participates based upon a variety of business factors. We will notify employees who submitted their interest in participating by August 29, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. EDT, and whom the Company selects to participate in the VSO, by Wednesday, September 7, 2016. 

After the Company has considered all of the employees who have expressed interest in the offer, only those that are selected by the Company will receive the actual separation and release agreement for further consideration.

If you are selected to participate in the VSO and you accept such offer, in most cases, your employment would end on Friday, September 16, 2016. 

If you are selected, you will receive a draft of your separation and release agreement by Wednesday, September 7, 2016. Unless you indicate in writing by 5:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, September 8, 2016 that you no longer want to participate in the VSO, your expression of interest to participate in the VSO shall be deemed irrevocable.

-If you are at least 40 years old, you will have 45 days to consider the separation and release agreement from the date you receive the separation and release agreement. You can accept the separation and release agreement at any time during such 45 day period. If you accept the separation and release agreement, you will have seven (7) days after the date of your acceptance of the separation and release agreement to revoke your agreement.

-If you are not at least 40 years old, you will have 10 days to consider the separation and release agreement from the date you receive the separation and release agreement and you will not have any revocation right.

-Note that your period to consider the separation and release agreement and whether or not you accept the separation and release agreement does not affect your termination date once you have been deemed to have irrevocably accepted the offer to participate in the VSO. For an employee who ultimately participates in the VSO, his/her last date of employment will generally occur on Friday, September 16, 2016.

-In order to receive the severance payments you must sign and return, and not revoke, if applicable, the separation and release agreement.

This is a voluntary offer and your decision should be based on your individual assessment and personal circumstances.

If you have questions that are not addressed in the attached Frequently Asked Questions document, please contact your local Human Resource Representatives.



Anonymous said...

I'll miss the Press.

Anonymous said...

New and Improved!

Executive bonuses and stock options that is. Not so much the newspaper you used to read.

Anonymous said...

Uh oh.....wonder what this might mean for the papers that it prints for other towns????

Anonymous said...

The way things are at the globe.......look for it to be a weekly within five years.

Anonymous said...

Kiss community newspapers good bye. I'm so glad and fortunate not to be in the business anymore. There is not one thing I miss about it.

Anonymous said...

Community newspapers are here to stay and are actually thriving in a majority of communities. The problem is with the poorly managed ones, such as GateHouse.

Buzz Ball said...

I agree that community newspapers are needed. But they are being gutted so much, it is impossible to comprehensively cover a community like it should. That is why the community newspapers as we once knew them, are a thing of the past.The "powers that be" have no idea how to run local, community newspapers. All they see are dollar signs. Yet, instead of leaving it up to the professionals (those who trained and grew up in the business), they interfere, make drastic cuts, charge for news and lose the trust of the most important people - the readership. I stand by my first comment - Kiss community newspapers good bye.

Anonymous said...

The old time local newspapers had their fingers on the pulse of the community. Those papers will filled with all the boring information that the residents of the town wanted to see. They not only reported who had died, they reported who was in the hospital, who got engaged, who got married, who had a new addition to the family, who opened a new business, who won at the local bridge club, who was arrested and who went to jail. There were always notices of what meetings and activities were scheduled and what was showing at the local theater. Those papers always allocated a lot of of reporting to local sports and city government. In short, that local paper was a clear snapshot of what was happening in that town that day. Alas, in this day where privacy trumps news, this type of paper will never be again.