Thursday, July 10, 2008

Memo: Two high-profile reporters quit USA Today

As with long-time top designer J. Ford Huffman, the impending departure of entertainment reporter Will Keck and healthcare writer Bob Davis is a loss for all of Gannett, because USA Today provides so many stories to Gannett News Service, and so the entire company. From a memo by Life Managing Editor Susan Weiss:
  • Keck will be joining TV Guide magazine, where he'll be writing a weekly TV column. Will never grew tired or cynical about covering Hollywood -- and he approached each and every assignment with enthusiasm. Will also embraced change, he learned new video skills and put in extra hours to make sure that our web readers had the late night news out of Los Angeles. We will miss his passion, commitment and positive energy. His last day will be Friday, July 11.
  • Davis started working for USA Today in 1992, as a reporter in News. He came to Life six years later, and we had the privilege of watching his career grow and flourish. We are losing a tremendous talent, but Bob has found his "dream job." He will be moving to the Department of Homeland Security as the director of external affairs for the office of health affairs. To put it simply, Bob will be the point person for the team of emergency doctors who respond to disasters. We will not only miss Bob's contributions as a gifted reporter, but as a friend and counsel in life matters -- both little and big. Bob's last day will be July 18.
Earlier: Tipster says Gannett News Service shutting down

Big personnel changes at your Gannett workplace? Post a memo or other such announcement 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. I am hearing that Jeff Webber VP Advertising USA Today is on his way out. He was recently moved out of his posh office after being pushed aside last month for the new guy.

  2. To all of the editors out there concerned about their jobs, may I suggest that you stop worrying about how All-American scores will affect your salaries and instead commit yourselves to serving your readers across multiple platforms with context, transparency, crowd-sourcing and hyper-local content aggregation. This is a new media spectrum and we’ve designed your Local Information Center as a parallel transformative strategy to ensure that Gannett products will maintain an authoritative tone and aggregated reach in the communities that they serve. This local conversation bond with readers and viewers is no accident – it is the cumulative work begun by such revered journalists as Gary Watson, John Curley and, of course, myself. If you have any questions, please contact one of the many semi-retired experts at corporate, who are available to tell you how it should be done and record the conversation in case we may need to reassign you to Guam.
    -- Regards, Phil

  3. 9:19 AM
    That was priceless. :-)

  4. TV Guide is in worst shape then Gannett? The new owners do not want this enormous hog of money. Have made no secret of the fact, that they want to sell it, or shut it down?

  5. In a better economy, many of USAT's qualified people would have been gone by now. Sad to see them go, but can't blame them. Working at this newspaper, especially since the merger, has become a constant stream of disrespect and needless obstacles. They threw us all (online and print) into a pit and said, "Here, fight for what little resources are left." And, while you're at it, get along, play nice, disregard the backstabbing and crushing workloads. Brilliant management, eh? That is the extent of the editorial leadership at USAT. They take a "Lord of the Flies" approach to merging, then wonder why people aren't smiling. Well, actually, some people are smiling, fearful of losing their jobs if they don't or just content to get a bag of free popcorn now and then. The top editors pretend like all is going well because they need to protect their fat paychecks. One look at this blog would indicate otherwise. USAT is a miserable place for any journalist, reporter or graphics person to work right now, especially if they still believe in the print product. Mid-mangers are burned out by the demands from the top and the lack of resources to even do the basics of the job anymore. Most of us understand the need to push ahead on the online platform, but we don't understand blowing up the paper so quickly, lies about the merger from top managers and the lack of vision to merge more efficiently and respectfully. It almost feels like management wants to degrade people as much as possible, without getting sued, of course, so that they would leave on their own, without more buyouts. Gannett and USAT have created such an environment of mistrust and phoniness, that theories are running wild and morale is sinking to historic lows. Not a healthy way to work. Of course, some still enjoy the country club life at USAT and will reject what I've written here.

  6. Sad facts of Gannett, America, and the working stiff. It once was IBM, General Foods, GE, Kodak, along with Gannett, MediaNews, etc.

    Screw the working man down into oblivion...pushed into the corner.

    Moon, promoted by Watson, a product of the old regime mentality. Old shit, new shit, its still shit.

  7. Bob Davis is a class act. I worked with him in Life several years ago and USA Today should be very sorry to see him go.

  8. Bob Davis is one heck of a journalist, and USA TODAY is going to miss him terribly.

  9. Check on if your Yahoo Messenger friends are on Invisible mode or not. Also, on this site, you can read others conversations without the requirement to know their credentials.


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