Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lee asks for fewer expense reports

Expense reports are getting out of hand.

According to a memo from corporate, the must-use electronic expense reporting service has been swamped with reports -- more than Lee's monthly allotment, at least. Instead of changing the number of expense reports that can be submitted and accepted, employees are asked to only submit fewer reports.

The memo:
As we are now doing all of our out of pockets expenses through Concur, as well as credit card expenses, the number of reports per month has jumped. We do have to pay a fee for all reports submitted over our set monthly number. In order to watch these costs we are checking the dates employees are submitting their reports.

UNLESS an employee travels every week reports should be done about twice a month. If they are behind in submitting DO NOT submit separate reports for each month’s expenses. Please discuss this with your employees.

(Via e-mail. Send tips and memos to

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lee Lodge: Most of the pieces are still for sale

Lee Enterprises broke up its Lee Lodge near Polson, Mont., and is selling the pieces. Of the 14 lots, four have sold. Prices range from $629,900 to $62,900; lots range from 0.53 acres to 0.23 acres. Some have houses; some don't. The property is listed with Lambros Real Estate.

(Via e-mail. Send tips and e-mails to

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lee ranks first for inefficiencies

Ranked according to revenue-per-employee, analysts say Lee Enterprises is the most inefficient company in the publishing industry. Media General comes in second.

Is this a sign of layoffs to come?

(Via e-mail. Send tips to

Monday, August 9, 2010

Keeping track of Lee real estate

Thanks to e-mails from current and former employees at The Times of Northwest Indiana in Munster, Ind., I can report that the paper is not leasing part of its building. For several years, even before the paper was bought by Lee Enterprises in 2002, the Times had leased and used a building next door; tipsters tell me it was cleverly called "Building B." The Times has given up the lease on that building, and another company has moved in.

However, Lee papers in other areas are selling real estate.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier has been trying to sell its building to the city of Waterloo, Iowa, for about a year, a tipster tells me. The deal appeared to be so close to final that employees were told to start packing to move to another building. That deal still has not been completed.

The Winona Daily News building was sold earlier this year and the paper has moved into rented space elsewhere in Winona, Minn., another tipster reports. This deal had been in the works for some time; Winona's presses were moved to another Lee paper in 1999.

Since we're talking about real estate, does anyone know what ever happened to the Lee Lodge? It was listed with various real estate agencies for more than a year. Did it finally sell? Did Lee change its mind? Leave a comment or e-mail

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Is Lee Enterprises selling newspaper buildings?

Here's an interesting question from a reader: "Has The Times of Northwest Indiana sold part of its building? There is a rumor they have a new tenant or sold the building."

The Times is located in Munster, Ind. Here's the Google Streetview of the paper:

View Larger Map

Has Lee resorted to selling real estate? Anyone in Indiana know what's going on? Leave a comment or e-mail

Monday, August 2, 2010

Layoffs coming to Wisconsin State Journal

At least four full-time employees in the sports and video departments of the Wisconsin State Journal and Capital Times are being targeted in a buyout offer.

Here's the memo that was sent to Capital Newspaper employees on behalf of Wisconsin State Journal publisher Bill Johnson and Capital Times publisher Clayton Frink:

We are nearing completion of our operating budget for the next fiscal year, and we now know that we are going to have to reduce staffing at Capital Newspapers. We have looked at all areas of our operation for efficiencies and budget cuts, but we are not able to reach our budget expectations through non-personnel reductions.

We need to eliminate multiple positions in the combined newsrooms, and the sports and video departments are the primary areas which will experience the reductions. Initial estimates indicate that this will involve the reduction of approximately four full-time positions.

The full-time employees in sports and video are being provided with information on a voluntary severance program opportunity. The package consists of two weeks for every full year of service, up to a maximum of 52 weeks plus outplacement assistance and other benefits.

Capital Newspapers is jointly owned by Lee and The Capital Times Co. The Madison, Wis., papers cut 15 employees in August 2009.

Lee has entered the last quarter of its fiscal year, which in recent years has meant layoffs. Send tips to

(Via e-mail.)