Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On heels of layoff announcement, CEO Junck says 'thanks'

A week after Hanford (Calif.) Sentinel employees learned finance jobs would be outsourced to an Illinois paper, Lee Enterprises CEO Mary Junck sent this e-mail to Hanford employees:

May 24, 2010

Dear Lee Employee:

As we enter the final months of Lee’s 2010 fiscal year and prepare for 2011, I’d like to give you an update on the direction of our company. I believe it is exactly right.

Revenue trends have improved steadily in recent months, and the clouds are beginning to lift. Still, revenue continues to lag below last year, and challenges remain. Meanwhile, we have taken many wise steps to streamline operations while building on our position as, by far, the premier provider of local news, information and advertising in our markets.

As the economy slowly recovers, our advertising customers are becoming more willing to restore their marketing programs. We are presenting them with an increasing array of capabilities for delivering their messages to print and digital audiences.

With the help of publishers, editors, advertising executives, members of management teams and others across Lee, we have created a strong plan for resuming growth. If we execute as well as I know we can, 2011 looks like a turnaround year.

Our aggressive plan is built on four key themes – optimism about the economy and our future, a huge emphasis on increasing our market share, rapid growth of digital/wireless opportunities, and an urgency to move even faster to meet emerging needs of audiences and advertisers.

Initiatives include new print and digital products, aggressive new sales programs, intensified sales training, adding sales people where revenue opportunities exist, and improved technology in our newsrooms to help us continue expanding our print, online, niche and mobile audiences.

You’ll learn more about the initiatives in meetings with your publisher over the next few weeks.

In previous updates, I have assured you that Lee will begin improving benefits and compensation opportunities as soon as economic conditions allow. While we are not yet at that point, I am hopeful that, with continued cooperation from the economy and our ever-harder push to resume revenue growth, the process can begin to some degree later this year.

Thank you for all you do for Lee. I continue to be grateful for your perseverance in what has been an extraordinary time of challenge.

With very best wishes and deep appreciation,

Mary Junck

While this one was addressed to Hanford, it reads like an e-mail all Lee employees have found or will soon find in their inboxes.

(Via e-mail; send tips and e-mails to lee.ent.watch@gmail.com.)

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