By paulgillin | March 18, 2009 - 7:47 am - Posted in Facebook

It ain’t over yet for the Tucson Citizen.  The struggling Arizona paper was set to close on Saturday — and had even prepared a farewell edition — but now two prospective buyers have emerged and Gannett Co. has announced that the Citizen will continue to publish on a “day-to-day basis” until negotiations are completed.

Talks are in progress with two “very interested buyers,” according to Robert Dickey, president of U.S. Community Publishing for Gannett Co. in a memo to staffers. Reporter Renee Horton dug up the name of one likely party: Santa Monica Media Corp., a “blank check company” that exists solely to perform mergers and acquisitions.

Staffers were stunned by the news, since many have already landed new jobs or had made plans for how to spend the severance they were promised.  About 25 of the paper’s 65 employees would have been eligible for at least 20 weeks of pay under the severance deal, according to the story in the Citizen.  Several staffers were none too pleased about the news.

Randy Harris, a staff artist who presumably is not looking forward to continuing his employment at the paper, said the news was “just one more instance where they are screwing us over one last time.”

More coverage by the Associated Press.



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  1. March 18, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

    Here’s a new one. A paper being saved and the employees are pissed off because their jobs are saved and they won’t get 20 weeks of paid vacation? Give me a break. These are the same people who’ll be standing in the unemployment line after the severence runs out.

    Reading that, who would buy that paper knowing the workers don’t care? Better yet, who would buy it? Unfortunately, there are way too many worthless employees dragging down most newspapers. They should have gotten out years ago. Right, they wouldn’t because they have jobs and do little work.

    Posted by Newspaper Fan
  2. March 18, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

    […] day that the Tucson Citizen, which had been left for dead by its own parent earlier this week, was pulled back from the brink by the emergence of two potential buyers.  However there is no guarantee that the negotiations will rescue the Citizen, which was […]

  3. March 19, 2009 @ 9:31 am

    To Newspaper Fan:

    Please take a moment to consider the disruption this has caused in the lives of all Citizen employees.
    The anouncement of the closure came as a shock and a life-changing event my collegues and I have either been in states of panic, of, even more commonly, grief. We have been job hunting in a market that has no jobs. We had little or no hope of anyone being
    enough to buy the paper without Gannett being willing to sell the joint operating agreement. That someone seems to
    be that crazy is no source of comfort. Put yourself in our shoes, and you’ll see that it is intolerably cruel to
    keep us hanging on on a “day-to-day basis.” Gannett has never seemed to show much interest in anything
    other than the bottom line. They’re the Devil we know. Maybe a new buyer will be an Angel, who knows? What
    is the probability that many of us who have grieved and thought we were moving on, won’t be kicked to the curb again?

    Posted by Randy Harris
  4. March 19, 2009 @ 11:52 am

    Randy, I regretted my comment as soon as I posted it. Unfortunately, we can’t pull it back. I was just shocked to see people upset the paper was being saved because, like you said, it’s tough to find a job out there.

    Posted by Newspaper Fan
  5. March 19, 2009 @ 1:39 pm

    Newspaper Fan,

    Thank you for printing a retraction. 🙂 I think we have something in common. I, too, regretted my “screwed” comment as soon as it was published on the internet (minutes after I’d made it). It will now live electronically forever. Not that I didn’t have reason to make it, but I justwish that I’d been able to give it some context as I was able to do here. I can assure you that as far as seeing the Citizen close, employees to a person are unanimous as seeing it as a sin if not a crime. However, none of us is confident that the Citizen we know and have worked and sweated for will exist in the future as anything other than the name. Thanks for letting me be a bit more articulate.

    Posted by Randy Harris
  6. March 19, 2009 @ 2:58 pm

    I thought your comment was justified and more classy than my initial post deserved. Good luck.

    Posted by Newspaper Fan
  7. March 22, 2009 @ 9:27 pm

    I understand the employees will get their severance and be allowed to move on even if the newspaper is sold.
    Maybe, just maybe, the prosective buyers are reading this and REALLY CARE ABOUT PEOPLE.
    Maybe we will find out someday.
    For sure if newspaers are to be saved the newspaper model must change.
    For sure if newspapers are to be save it will be by people who know and love them as opposed to big corporations and Wall Streat who demand more profits.

    Posted by Saving Newspapers is Important
  8. March 24, 2009 @ 12:12 am

    I know the buyers personally, and I will see to it that they read all the comments. I assure you, they are humane, well intentioned people. Give them a little time and patience. You may be pleasantly surprised.

    Posted by Napoleon Bonaparte