An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
For Part 1 of this comment thread, please go here.
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So Henry M. Freeman likes to proclaim himself "Founding Sports Editor" of USA Today. Question... Who was the "Founding Business Editor"? "Founding Life Editor"? Ummm ... "Founding Janitor"?
Anything More On First quarter furloughs and wage freezes for next year? Ho! Ho ! Ho !
Anyone hear anymore on first quarter furloughs and wage freezes?
1. Confirmed that Gannett will reduce employee count by 5,000 in 2011. 2011 budget has been approved and includes a significant reduction in employees and potentially a Q1 furlough.2. Pointroll CEO Jason Tafler has officially resigned and will leave beginning of 2011. Gracia Martore is now scrambling to find a replacement. No word of where he is going to land. Speculation is he is joining Saridakis at GIS Commerce.3. Mr. Dubow is set to present his "Vision for Growth" Strategic Plan to the Board after he missed the deadline set over 5 months ago. He received significant help from several outside consultants and racked up several million dollars in consulting fees.4. Gannett Local is performing well below budget and losing significant money. Bob Dickey has contemplated shuttering the business in Q1.5. The Bold Italic has received $3 million funding for 2011 to continue blogging in SFO and work on a plan to build a second blog in another city.6. Gannett-Yahoo Ad Sales Partnership is a total disaster. Technologically Yahoo's platform does not work. Operationally, no one is in charge and there is significant channel conflict and financially Gannett is losing money. Mr. Dickey promised tens of millions of dollars in new "incremental" revenue, but has now backed away from his forecast.
the board was presented robin pence's multi million dollar gannett advertising campaign starting in february
How do you spell disaster?G-a-n-n-e-t-t
Here we go: outside consultants once again. Oh, when, Oh, when are they going to learn from the drastic mistakes they have made relying on outside consultants. These consultants have become the oracles of our industry with their projections accepted as writ. But they hardly speak with the voice of certainty. Content doesn't matter?
Well hello My Boss. Thanks for the update. Wonder when official word will filter down to the troops?
Regarding any job cuts as high as 5,000: Keep in mind that many, many jobs can be eliminated through attrition, as opposed to layoffs. Gannett cut around 6,000 jobs in 2009, but many weren't through layoffs.
On Tafler: PointRoll's website still lists him as CEO.
The comments by my Boss are probably correct.But,haven't we all known this was coming.Or at least those of us who are living in reality.Revenues continue to fall,budgets are not being met.In Gannettland when this happens and continues to trend in down revenue,that means cost cutting.There are no more ways to cutexcept in employee expense,which is by far the largest area on the expense side.So,for the third year in row,we are faced with not knowing....employed or unemployed....beforethe holidays .This freaking corporation !Making good,loyal,hardworking employees go through this hell in 3 consequetive years at the Christmas season.God Bless us all.
And how many total jobs will be eliminated through the establishment of the new design hubs? Design, layout and wire copy editor positions will all consolidate at the hubs, and how many employees will actually pull up roots to make the transfer, sometimes over hundreds of miles? And that is assuming employees are actually offered a position at a salary somewhat commensurate with what they are making now? Just saying, that's all.
I took a buyout in 2009 and haven't looked back. The specter of continued layoffs, furloughs and an ever-declining pay check was what propelled me out the door.That, and the ever-increasing greed of corporate leadership coupled with the useless local management team - Westchester - that simply went along with whatever corporate wanted.Please everyone, hone your skills for new careers. Or if you're at a stage beyond that, stash away every available dollar. Don't just sit there and wait for your turn on the chopping block.
I got laid off in 2009 and I don't understand why everyone is so upset with Gannett about laying people off. The company is a mess and eventually (whether it is 1 year or 10 years) will cease to exist. The have to lay off people, good for them it is the only thing they are actually doing correctly and they should be laying off way more people. Listening to people complain and stress about being laid off is tiresome and ridiculous. Everyone should go to work everyday expecting it to be their last day no matter what company or organization you work for that way you are always prepared and have no surprises and if it doesn't happen then well great. And to all the whiners about ohhhh I can't afford it blah blah blah, you should always live on half of your income whether it is $10,000 per year or $1,000,000 dollars per year. Enough already, I'm sure most of you will ignore this and go back to your whining about layoffs anyway.
11:18 -- While you're right that nobody has job security, we've reached a sad state if everyone in the country SHOULD have to go to work each day expecting to be fired. What kind of a life is that? A better idea would be for all of us to start demanding more of our politicians and corporate leaders so that we get this corporate greed under control and return America to its once-great stature. Also, 11:18, since you apparently wrote your post with a straight face, I hope you are making ends meet on $5,000 per year. I understand that your point is that people need to save. But you need to have the sense to understand that many people working for Gannett barely make enough money to pay for housing, clothes, medical care and food. For instance, if I made only $10,000 per year, I would only have $4,000 left over after paying for a crappy one-bedroom apartment in the city where I live. Since more than half of my income would have gone to rent (utilities not included) there's no way in hell I could save 50% of what I made. Your points are steeped in good advice, but a lot of people here throw out such advice with a condescending tone, even though they clearly don't understand the position that many people find themselves in. And the problem is not them ... it's the corporate monsters that have driven our whole nation to this point.
So, let me get this straight. We pay Dubow millions because he's a genius CEO who knows how to make a company succeed. But ... because he's really just a stuffed suit ... he then pays millions to consultants who then tell him what to do.What a joke this company has become!
12/08/2010 8:51 AM, what Gannett advertising campaign? You don't mean USA Today's silly What America Wants campaign is coming back? Or is marketing now going to waste money on a Gannett campaign? What does Gannett have to sell or are they trying to sell something like USA Today or Point Roll?
Patch, Patch, Patch
@12:05 PM, the campaign is designed to promote Gannett as a brand itself, rather than just a holding pen for its individual properties' brands. The work is based largely on the Core Strategy Group's efforts over the last year or so. (Yes, they're expensive consultants.)
11:32am obviously you don't get it.....you need to fend for youself and stop asking and blaming politicians, corporate management. In a perfect world we wouldn't have all these crutches like unemployment insurance, social security, welfare and the list goes on with all of these ridiculous and expensive government programs. People need to take responsibility for themselves pure capitalism is the only way to go...... PS I bet you voted for Obama.
The comments by "My Boss" are pretty far from the truth. Maybe some of the past predictions scored better but these 6 will be lucky to get 1-2 right.
1:32 My Boss has been pretty consistent about another 5,000 cuts coming next year. I seem to recall a previous post on this subject. We shall see.I know the one about Yahoo is true. It has been a costly debacle. But no one wants to pull the plus, leaving that issue for the new chief digital officer to decide. Trouble is, as we all know, there is no new chief digital officer anywhere in sight.
1:32 Your comment that My Boss will be wrong.You must then know some majical way thatGannett is going to produce more revenuesto meet budgets !No company will ignore declining revenuesthat are continuously trending downwardwithout trying to compensate on the expense side.Let us know what that plan is !My site was down just 5% in profits in 09,not even in the red by 5% just profit down 5%, and many,many were laid off.
Hey 12:32pm ....In 1982, Founding Managing Editors were:Money: J. Taylor BuckleyLife: Sheryl BillsGraphics: Richard CurtisNews: Can't recall because there was a scrum of big-heads at the top with Little Big Al, John Curley, Gianella ... I think it might have been Ron Martin. Or Pritchard? Hank, as he hated to be called, was ME/Sports. And he was actually very good at the sports part of it. He had good story/coverage ideas.But Hank did have the cliche personality flaws that plagued all of USAT's height-challenged leadership that Al liked to hire.
Ha! Gannett a brand!!?? Most people, even those who invest in stocks, pronounce it with the accent on the first syllable and with a sharp short A, as it Sackett. I see nothing but conflict in promoting an umbrella national brand while trying to build up community newspapers and websites as brands themselves. Not even Procter & Gamble promotes itself as a "brand." It promotes its individual products: Tide, Crest, Gillette, Bounty, Swiffer, Bounce, etc.
I've removed several comments today that are just too far off-topic. Let's please stick closer to Gannett and media-related subjects. I don't want threads weighed down in partisan political/philosophical debates.
4:03 Big Al sure did like 'em on the short side, didn't he?
@ 4:29pmI totally agree. I worked for GAN-et (as the world pronounced it) for more than 30 years and even at the end, the USAT brand became the default brand.I have an even better example from back in the mergers and acquisitions madness days in the early 80s. Remember the TV ads that carouseled several different products/brands -- from foods to fuels to farms? The tagline was: "We're Beatrice" Marketing lore/legend is that the ad was really created for the Beatrice CEO because he didn't know what the hell he owned and oversaw. But regardless, it was also an expensive effort to create a brand from scratch. And it failed.Modern ego-driven Gannett leadership believes corporate is the brand. Old-school, Rochester-based Gannett knew that the product was the brand.
blah blah blah 4:42pm
Jim said... Big Al sure did like 'em on the short side, didn't he?He really did. And that's the reason the urinals were all so low in the Silver Bullet. In May '82, we early loaners were surrounded by lots of construction. One day, construction guys were lowering the urinals on the 14th floor (really the 13th, but the buttons went from 12 to 14). We asked why. They said they were told to lower them after complaints from "the short guys in charge" about having to stand on tip-toes to pee.Were they BS-ing us? Maybe. But I do know Al was such a demanding control freak on the decor that the construction guys really, really did not like him or his stunted henchmen. They openly complained about him and his change requests. And they made more fun than we did of his "referee" shirt -- an expensive pullover that had vertical b&w stripes. He wore it on launch night.
5:15 I'm saving this one for Neuharth's advance obit (which I need to get on). Now, what was the Silver Bullet?
Gannett is known for hiring midgets, the two guys under the publisher JZ and the Arizona Republic had some major height challenges. LOL
i have always worked hard & worked my job @ 180% faithfully for for the GANNETT company.never complained, I got paid less than i deserved- did more than my share, have worked with a lot of really great people- employees & management , but I will tell you that right now this company has the worst management, morale is extremely low due to this management, the schedules suck, the work is going away, the friendships are getting stepped on, the strain of doing this job anymore is a shamI am waiting for a voluntary layoff so that at least i can say that i got something for all my work & time that i put in. after all this place will go away. on a good note - i have really enjoyed all of my co workers- it used to be a blast
12/08/2010 4:55 PM said... blah blah blah 4:42pmWow, you wordsmith, you. You really cut me off at the knees with that wickedly crafted and insightful rejoinder. You must feel so proud to be able to parade that sharp wit so brazenly. I am chastised and profoundly repentant.And I do apologize for using many multiple syllable words. Your preference and understanding level is clearly with using the same 4-letter word repeatedly. It's limiting, but works when one has nothing to add but the verbal equivalent of passing gas.
The "Silver Bullet" was what we called the USAT building in Rosslyn, on the banks of the Potomac at 1000 Wilson Blvd. Its twin followed a few years later and became Gannett HQ. There was originally supposed to be a triplet tower across the street. But it was deemed to be too dangerous because of the too-many to count incidents of 727s flying too low on the approach to National Airport. So instead, the third building was built shorter and not silver. It became the original Freedom Forum/Newseum home.
The original Freedom Forum/Newseum home -- with Al's luxe bachelor pad on top.
5:15pm: I wonder if Big Al had any say in the positioning of the toilet paper dispensers in the stalls of men's rooms throughout the Crystal Palace. The confined any man above 5'8" when using the stall; many opted for the spacious handicapped stall.Wouldn't surprise me if Al had something to say about it one bit.Silver Bullet - great name. Boy, the HVAC in that joint was horrible!
We all know Scotch tape and Post-It Notes. Fewer know that the owner is 3M. We all know Kleenex and Scott towels, but have a fuzzier notion of Kimberly-Clark. Same thing with Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Jose Cuervo and Tanqueray and their owner, Diageo. Gannett should know better than to throw millions into a hole.
Mr. Observer says...2011 is projected one of the toughest years yet as both furloughs and attrition play together against one of the touts revenue years we'll see. January number likely will send projections to worse and it'll have a hunker down mentality rule rather than growth. The cuts will not come as hard or fast but there will be no positive reinforcement or opportunities for the passionate and astute who will lose faith. Once the folks many tied their coat tails bail, "What's left for me to run" will meet an empty promise of "Congrats, you now run the show" with no stage to stand on.The losses inth e second wave of leadership will leave those who have onlythis job as their only hope in a tough economy will help hold it together for one more year.
I can't comment on 5 of My Boss' predictions, but one I know to be true.Yahoo! is a disaster. Two years too late, an act of desparation, and a procedural mess.I have officially moved my marker to: this company is toast.
There will be 1st quarter furloughs and maybe 2nd quarter furloughs depending on the 1st quarter earnings. Wage freeze will take place in March 2011. Count on it.
@7:29 You're totally right that parent companies shouldn't try to be the brand. The only reason I see for a Gannett brand campaign is to boost Gannett's cross-company sales efforts.
Meanwhile, GCI stock is soaring upward this week, rewarding those of us who bought in 4-5 months ago. Go, GCI, Go!!! Wall Street likes what it is seeing.
4:42 and 7:29 -- you're missing an important point. People don't buy stock in Scotch Tape or Post-Its. They buy 3M. Promoting Gannett as a super-brand is designed to drive stock sales. Other than fattening top execs' pockets, the stock is what this is all about.
To 5:50pm and 6:18pm, great 80's history on USAT in Rosslyn. On occasion those planes came frighteningly close to the towers, especially on an overcast day. And the HVAC worked better in GCI/Tower II, built after the USAT Tower. They turned a garage level in the USAT tower into office space and I always wondered if that caused all the temp issues. Do you recall the suspicions about Tower miscarriages resulting from contaminated drinking water? Female employees were asked, badgered even, to partipate in an invasive govt. survey about their personal health issues for the purpose of establishing any possible links in a rash of miscarriages and the one thing everyone had in common, the drinking water. The questions were extremely personal, including if you'd ever had an abortion. Those records probably exist to this day. Did the "s" hit the fan on that one! The DC/VA metropolitan area has and continues to have problems with unhealthy lead levels in their public water supplies. Of course nothing was ever proven. Before the tech explosion it was easier to sweep things under a rug and move on. Ah, the unnoticed havoc one could wreck in a pre-digital age! Today its much harder though not impossible to mask wrongdoing in a world functioning with a 24 hour global news cycle, constant internet access and realtime communications. But there were sooo many Tower stories, lots you could never reveal. Long live journalism, wherever its still being practiced.
Those of us in on the Gannett branding debacle-in-the-making feel the same way as the rest of you. To the degree that the campaign plays up the strength of any of the individual brands, that's great. But Gracia's obsession with having Gannett known as a media name unto itself, among marketers and agencies, is just idiotic. It shows you just how out of touch this woman is with the day-to-day realities of the business. But, hey, let's have the finance types run the operation all the way into the dirt.
Just heard that Carol Hudler of the Tennessean showed up at the Clarksville Leaf advertiser country ham breakfast with what she said was her "trophy" husband. The two stayed at one of Clarksville's most expensive hotels so she could spend 35 minutes at the breakfast before returning to Nashville. So much for expense cuts.
Back in February, a reader told me that the tagline for this rumored branding campaign was: "Gannett . . . Connecting you to your world."Who knows?
My Boss has been way over the top in his/her/its estimates of layoffs, even with the spin Jim puts on the numbers to make them work. I'm sure the same applies here. Nothing to get in a sweat about. Same old attention seeking behavior at work.
Folks My Boss is repurposing rumors bouncing around the C Palace. Literally no truth to most of them. His/her credibilitymust be questioned. Tafler is still on the job do MB is lying.
For Part 3 of this comment thread, please go here.
Nice to see the Gannett trolls back trying to discredit My Boss. My question is this: If you know everything that's planned for 2011, why don't you pass the information on?Your posts smell of a desperate attempt to try to discredit a mole that's spreading news you don't like. As for Tafler, My Boss said he would remain on the job until January. The fact that he hasn't officially announced a resignation and walked out of the building doesn't mean he hasn't laid the groundwork. We'll know on that one soon enough. So, if he does walk be sure to come on back and tell us just how wrong My Boss was.
Is the Super 8 the most expensive hotel in Clarksville, or did the Days Inn upgrade the pool already?
@7:01 - LMAO! the pool has NOT been upgraded, so yes, the Days Inn... :P
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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