Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tipster: Conference today on Info Center's future

A reader tells me that newspaper division President Bob Dickey will host a telephone conference call this afternoon on the "next steps in the Info Center." Others leading the phone conference, the reader says: Chief Digital Officer Chris Saridakis; Information Center concept co-creator Jennifer Carroll, and News Department Senior Vice President Phil Currie.

"The Information Center" was the new name adopted in fall 2006 for Gannett's newsrooms, when CEO Craig Dubow unveiled key details of his now-laughable strategic plan.

Earlier: Carroll, Marymont in big digital promotions

Can anyone confirm -- and add details? Post a note in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, use this link from a non-work computer; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.


  1. Maybe the DICs (Digital Information Centers) are moving to India.

  2. A wag over at had a nice one-liner: "What's the difference between a newsroom and an Information Center?"
    "About 20 reporters." (and editors, too)

  3. I believe the DIG has already moved to India, for all the impact we're seeing out here in overhead land.

  4. That linke posted above is HORRIFYING. I was under the impression that readers totally rejected the Miami Herald's experimentation with this issue... am I wrong?

    The India company states on its Web site that "Confidentiality is maintained throughout." Way to go! That's the sort of openness and transparency the Orange County Register and other U.S. newspapers demand of their sources.

  5. From the Mindworks Web site, I do not understand what this means.... Can someone please translate the part about "some of these writers can be posted with the publication's core team" ?? This is the confusing part:

    A significant percentage of stories for a publication can be written from anywhere - provided a high level of domain expertise is combined with journalistic skills. Information can be gathered, analyzed and the content written in an engaging manner. There are many domains, such as technology, business, management, sports and health, for which skilled writers with subject expertise can deliver high-quality content remotely.

    Mindworks employs writers with substantial subject expertise across several domains. In our operational model, if necessary, some of these writers can also be posted with the publication's core team for smoother workflow and processes.

    Our teams can help publications expand editorial coverage to new areas or create sub-products/supplements or special sections. We can deliver the product in any format that the client wants - from concept to print, at the frequency needed.

  6. The call today was actually very informative and seemed well coordinated. Saradakis and Dickey spoke about how they are working close together and that the old newspaper regime is gone and we should expect new ideas and better communication from the top. Encouraging at least.

    In fact the digital chief rattled off about 8 or so papers he has visited over the past two months. Impressive that any exec even finds the time to visit us.

    I might be the minority on this blog, but I came out of that call a lot more positive then when I entered it.

  7. No idea what was said during the conference call, but most of the editors at my paper, as well as the publisher, attended. Most came out of it in a good mood, so that was encouraging. Not that that necessarily means good things were said, but if it had been something dire, I think they would have been less chipper.

  8. Don't have details on today's presentation, but Saradakis visited our LIC a few weeks back and I was impressed with his demeanor and honesty. He didn't flinch when we told him what was wrong with GO4 design. He also didn't offer up broad "solutions," which is a nice change from bigwigs who think they their "answers" will work for every site. Instead he admitted individual sites will have to find out what works for them. Hopefully we can do that before the sky falls completely.

  9. There was a striking difference in presentation style between between Currie and Dickey, the print guys, and Saridakis, the digital guy. They were stilted and obviously reading prepared statements while he seemed to be speaking off the top of his head - and no less effectively. I kept thinking, "There's the difference made incarnate: Stiffly following a predetermined plan vs. being able to adapt and act quickly."

    Of course, you could also make the comparison of old and trustworthy vs. new and eager to say whatever he thinks the minions want to hear. We'll see.

  10. I also liked what I heard during the meeting on Wednesday. None of us are ready to throw in the towel just yet.

    Has anyone read another opinion?

  11. Yes, I have read another opinion, entitled "How Low will Gannett Go?":

    Then there's also this video:

    FYI ... GCI closed the day down 96 cents / share at a new 52-week and 16-year low of $21.79.

  12. OK, let's just pack it all in, we're doomed, DOOMED I tell you. It's no use, we're bad bad bad newspaper people and there no way we can ever be great again. boo hoo boo hoo, we're so ashamed of us.

    HOW in the HECK did ANY of you EVER become newspaper people in the first place? Wow. What a bunch of whiney, unsatisfied by anything dolts.

    enuff said.

  13. shut up craig, your not a newspaper person anyway, your a tv person

  14. Here is Phil Currie's Newswatch report on the teleconference:

    All is apparently well. According to Phil: "We are proud of what has been accomplished thus far ... We intend to remain industry leaders in this challenging time of change ... "

    The new plan to help the Information Centers:

    • Building a deep Web site providing guidance and background in all of these areas. The site is replete with examples and “how-to” items.

    • Looking to training in areas sought by editors, including work in databases which has been one of the most effective new elements of the Information Centers.

    • Calling on staffers in Information Centers and digital departments to offer up fresh ideas for innovation and assuring them that innovations at one location will have the opportunity to bloom into something bigger across the company.

    • Providing a series of Connect (teleconference) sessions dealing with multiple aspects of Information Center development.

  15. The report is indeed encouraging, but a little different spin than what I read here. Saridakis has been out in the field to know what's real, but have Phil and Jennifer? Is Phil sugar-coating it, or are his points true and valid?

    Are the pain and concerns brought forth on Gannettblog natural and acceptable levels brought upon by a transition of this magnitude - which, over time, will pass - or are there real issues that need to be addressed that are impeding progress?

    The one concept I've heard / read a lot, but can't get a handle on is this one: "Write for online, update for print." Since online is truly dynamic, don't you want to update for - not print? Can someone please help me understand. Thank you.


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