Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Inside the secret world of Gannett Blog

There's a sort of parallel version of this blog -- one that exists behind the scenes, comprising back-channel communications with insiders who help drive Gannett Blog's public content. It is raw corporate politics at its finest: alliances and grudge matches played out between current and former employees in occasionally acid e-mails I receive, and often-anonymous comments you see at the bottom of posts. It's tricky to navigate. I do my best to smoke out any agendas people have in sharing information with me -- the same reality check any journalist does in trying to assess why a source is leaking information. Still, Gannett has 33,000 often-gossipy employees, and that includes enough people at Corporate and at the local operating level to make things very interesting.

Miscellaneous disclosures
  • San Francisco is my base, but that doesn't mean I'm there at any one time.
  • Freedom Forum consultant John Quinn and my mother have been acquainted since 1960, through their former shared employment at The Providence (R.I.) Journal.
  • Several senior executives join me in tracing their employment to the now-shuttered Arkansas Gazette, in Little Rock, where I was business-news editor and a reporter from 1987-91.
[Photo: from an unidentified film,]


  1. Jim, it is all about self-preservation, economics, self-pride, and satisfaction.

    People hate all aspects of its transformation.

    Comments here are raw at times...because of the appearance of fairness in running a business.
    At times, fairness does not rule, the true axiom. None of it is personal. But tell that to the 200employees of the Seattle Times.

    Alas, even with mismanagement, and poor direction, the cycle will have to take its toll.

  2. The level of hatred directed at certain managers -- especially at Corporate -- is shocking, based on my private e-mail and occasional phone conversations. I sure hope the Big Cheeses at McLean, Va., are reading this blog, because they have an enormous credibility problem, and I'm not sure they realize what an obstacle it has become in trying to save Gannett.

  3. The credibility problem is a huge issue but, alas, I do not believe it will be addressed. Anything negative will continue to be seen as sour grapes and/or people who cannot accept change.

    This, I believe, is one of the saddest things about what the Gannett Company has become--a few fair-haired people who are led to believe they rule the world and all they are doing is good. Unfortunately, for the rest of us, we are being led down a path of destruction and no one will be at the end of the path to save us.

  4. I've been away from the beast for several years. Save your money, go back to college, choose a new industry, and a new fork in the road. It will be hard...I still have ink in my veins...but at some point the insanity is purely unhealthy.

    The minions at some of the Gannett properties, the lower-level managers, take all their stride from the McLean swagger. Much the same from Curley, Watson, and McCorky...all poor true leaders.

  5. Personal agendas are not necessarily a bad thing. If someone has an axe to grind, what do you care? As long as there is a factual basis to the information, don't sound so judgmental. Let it out.

  6. jim,
    You did not post my previous comment about Dubow vs. Martore and who is in control. Please do, as I think your readers and contributors will certainly agree. I even bet a few of them will respond vehemently to this one and add a lot more color than I did. I used to work at Gannett and know how people feel in and outside this forum.

  7. I've worked at many publishing companies and quite honestly have NEVER worked at a company that is so out of touch with their employees. All one of the publishers have to do one day is walk the floor, the newsroom, the pressroom, heck even the cafeteria! and get to know people's names and get out of their ivory towers. If they did, they might SEE the MANY incompetent managers, many of whom have been there 20 + years and haven't had a creative idea since the l980s...

    GET RID OF THOSE at the top if YOU REALLY want to see change...

  8. I think sucks on Nov 2nd they told us no one would loose there job if we took the forced 5% pay cut and then two weeks later I get told that I am getting laid off and still endure the 5% pay cut


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."

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