I've always said that Gannett Blog was planned as a short-term project: two or three years max. That was because I assumed management intended to break up the company -- something it might have accomplished, if the board of directors hadn't waited until it was too late (i.e. the real estate bust and the credit crisis that followed).
My plan did not, however, anticipate the rate at which readers would post comments: I am now anticipating at least 50,000 over the next 12 months. For both news-gathering and ethical reasons, I am committed to reading them all.
That would be OK, except the tone of comments shifted in December -- for entirely understandable reasons. Many of Gannett's 41,500 employees came to understand what was taking place in the company. They are now fear-filled, desperate, angry -- even suicidal, on occasion. Blogging can be very stressful, of course, Now, I'm finding it may be psychologically harmful, too.
This is not about Corporate winning or losing; this is about adhering to my plan.
The bottom line: I began publishing Gannett Blog on Sept. 11, 2007. On Oct. 1, 2009, I will stop active management. I intend to lock the blog in place, with all content and comments visible. No more comments will be allowed, nor removed. Basically, Gannett Blog will become a point-in-time snapshot of a Fortune 500 company in transition. I hope to find a permanent custodian for the content, in lieu of Google's Blogger division.
I am no longer soliciting or accepting donations, as I've now got my exit strategy on the calendar. I look forward to working with you, although on a more limited basis, through Sept. 30.
Earlier: My year of blogging, dangerously. Plus: Five questions
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[Photo: Mystical Es Vedra island, from Cala d'Hort beach Ibiza, Spain]