Saturday, April 05, 2008

Gannett meeting rules bad news for Huffington

[Taj Banal? Shareholders will meet at the McLean, Va., headquarters]

There'll be no live-blogging by journalists during Gannett's annual shareholders meeting, as I interpret the latest event coverage rules for me, Arianna Huffington (left) and the mob of other mojos no doubt scrambling to cover the April 30 event. And yet:

1. I've attended plenty of these no-news snoozers at other companies, but never Gannett's. Do reporters really show up to cover it? And has Corporate always published such detailed rules about credentialing?

2. Gannett says it embraces new technologies. So, how come it's enforcing a rule that effectively bans bloggers in the meeting from, well, blogging?

3. Eeek! Corporate has stamped me with the dreaded Unaffiliated Blogger label. I guess an "affiliated" blogger would be, say, someone who works for USA Today. But I've got thousands of Gannett employees reading me weekly. Isn't that affiliation enough?

Your thoughts, in the comments section, below. Use this link to e-mail feedback, tips, snarky notes, etc. See Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.


  1. Comment from John Misner, KPNX/Phoenix's general manager: "The basis of a free and independent media is based on the public's right to know about the activities and expenditures of public officials." Funny how that doesn't apply to Gannett corporate officers, who run a publicly traded company, not a private one. Seems like a disservice to the shareholders, and we all know how Gannett feels about serving its shareholders. Shareholder come first, then advertisers. The public is down the list somewhere.

  2. Jim,

    Aren't you a shareholder? If so, why do you need a credential in the first place?

  3. What an insightful question! ;)

  4. Is this the same Gannett that protested so vehemently a rule that prevented reporters from live blogging at last year's College World Series?

    From Poynter:
    The Courier-Journal is clearly pressing the issue, which they believe violates the First Amendment. "It's clearly a First Amendment issue," Courier-Journal executive editor Bennie L. Ivory said in his own newspaper. "This is part of the evolution of how we present the news to our readers. It's what we did during the Orange Bowl. It's what we did during the NCAA basketball tournament. It's what we do."

  5. Plain and simple. They're scared of you, Jim. And they're doing everything they can to keep you from telling the truth.

    Keep shining the light in the darkest corners. It's working. They'll never admit that. But it's working.

  6. From the website:

    No one will be admitted to the meeting without credentials or a shareholder’s ticket. Any electronic devices must be turned off during the meeting.

    Do you not have a shareholder's ticket? It appears that you only need one or the other.

  7. Anon5:34 p.m.: Great quote. Go, Bennie! (Ivory was my editor when I worked at the Louisville paper.) That quote is from this story:

  8. I can get into the meeting one way or another; that's not the issue.

    How distracting can a blogger be? The directors up on the stage aren't going to be heard over the sound of a very distant keyboard clicking? Gimme a break!

    This is one more example of how Corporate doesn't get it: technology is changing the way we communicate. Work with it, or get mowed over by it.

    I'd love to know what Chief Digital Officer Chris Saridakis thinks about this no-bloggers rule.

  9. i don't get it. youre a shareholder and can get it. you can write about it. other bloggers can get credentials and get in. they can write about it. help me understand the no-bloggers rule? if it's just that you can't live-blog, who cares? it's not a baseball game.

  10. How does a ban on live-blogging demonstrate Gannett's commitment to new forms of digital journalism? How does it reflect the company's commitment to giving employees and shareholders timely access to information?

  11. It's interesting to note Google's policy on recording and electronic devices at their annual meeting which can be found at

    If You Plan to Attend the Annual Meeting:

    * It is important that you let us know in advance by marking the appropriate box on your proxy card if you requested to receive printed proxy materials, or, if you vote by telephone or Internet, indicating your plans when prompted.
    * Please note that space limitations make it necessary for us to limit attendance to our stockholders—Google stockholders as of the close of business on March 11, 2008 are entitled to attend our Annual Meeting.
    * Admission will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that check-in and registration begins at 12:30 pm. Google will be serving lunch to attendees.
    * Each stockholder should be prepared to present:
    o (1) Valid photo identification, such as a driver’s license or passport; and
    o (2) Stockholders holding their shares through a broker, bank, trustee or nominee will need to bring proof of beneficial ownership as of the Record Date, such as their most recent account statement reflecting their stock ownership prior to March 11, 2008 or a copy of the voting instruction card provided by their broker, bank, trustee or nominee or similar evidence of ownership.
    * Cameras, recording devices and other electronic devices will not be permitted at the meeting.
    * Please allow ample time for check-in. For security reasons, you and your bags will be subject to search prior to your admittance to the meeting.
    * You must be registered to be admitted to the meeting. Registration will take place at the Shoreline Amphitheatre.
    * If you are a beneficial owner, like a vast majority of our stockholders, you may not vote your shares in person at the Annual Meeting unless you obtain a “legal proxy” from the broker, bank, trustee or nominee that holds your shares giving you the right to vote the shares at the meeting. Even if you plan to attend the Annual Meeting, we recommend that you also submit your proxy or voting instructions as described in the proxy statement so that your vote will be counted if you later decide not to attend the meeting.

    Of course the relevant item is that Google, the maker of the tool that you use to blog, doesn't allow electronic devices to be used during their annual meeting.

  12. Amen sister! That shut Jim right up!

  13. Why doesn't Gannett stream the meeting over the internet and provide its shareholders with a secure username / password to access the live feed?

    A proactive measure that allows access to every shareholder.

    Similar online credentials could be afforded established media.

    If the concern is the distraction of someone typing during the meeting, this would eliminate that distraction.

    Just a thought ...

  14. Time Warner streams their meeting as one example.


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.