Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Furloughs | In a cartoon, connecting the dots

Rob Tornoe, the former Daily Record cartoonist in Parsippany, N.J., offers his view on Gannett's new round of furloughs in the February issue of Editor & Publisher. "Don't worry,'' it says, "we're keeping your unpaid furlough money in this chest for safe keeping." That chest, of course, is labeled "executive bonuses."

Earlier: How furloughs helped spur $3.5 million in executive bonuses. Plus: Tornoe's previous take on furloughs


  1. Furloughed Fury1/26/2011 10:17 PM

    Amen brother, this furlough money isn't going in to new computers, upgraded software, new presses, cameras, or even pens and pads. It is going into the pockets of five greedy individuals who can't even come up with a decent business plan (BTW, that is your job). Keep cutting boys and soon you'll be cutting your own jobs, because you will have no company left. Ok trolls, come out and retort so you get your $5

  2. 10:17 -- You're dead on. Sad thing is it won't matter if they eventually lose their own jobs because the company folds. They've taken such obscene profits from the organization over the years that they're set for life unless they're just financially incompetent.

    And if the board actually tires of them (unlikely) and gets rid of them it would be even better because their golden parachutes would assure an even bigger payday.

    That's the trouble with our corporate system today. Top executives are grossly paid and there is no accountability. Succeed and they make obscene money. Fail and they make ridiculously good money. The only people who get hurt are shareholders and employees.

  3. Old Money Bags in the cartoon looks like "Ole Ebenezer" McCorkindale.

    Should have included a little caricature of the "Prince of Pumpkin Island" riding his tricycle in circles around that money chest: "Weeee!"

  4. Brilliant cartoon, shameless management. As evidenced by the fact that the DR -- soon to be basically a bureau of APP -- still supports both a publisher and an EE. Why?

  5. Gannett could start another Website called "Great American Greed"

    Dubow, Dickey, Martore, McCorkindale, and Big Al could all run daily blogs about how greed made them great.

    There could be spinoffs like "The Mean, the Nasty, the Ugly," wherein Gannett managers could explain how they were trained to torture their troops and to enjoy it!

    The Gannett management model is simply one of the strangest around. It rewards incompetence - the stock buy back is one glaring example - and moves destructive management teams from place to place so they can spread the cancer.

    This is a major American company? This is the nation's largest newspaper publisher? What a shame.

  6. Sadly, as entertaining as all of this exchange has been, we're missing the point.

    The root of all evil, so to speak, came years ago when we agreed to be a publicly held company. When we did this, the stockholders, and returning maximum value to stockholders, became our No. 1 focus.

    When times were good and margins large, we could serve the shareholders and still do good journalism, public service, rich content and the like. As margins dropped, and with our No. 1 focus (and, truly, our duty) being to maintain and grew shareholder value to the best of our ability, we had to cut the quality.

    I have sat around the table with a group president and heard this executive say, to paraphrase, "Stop talking about readers and audience and quality. I really don't care about that. Start talking about how we can move our numbers." Now, it was said with a smile and intended to be sarcastic. But, sadly, in this setting, it was more truth than humor. Content is often seen as an expense, rather than the element of what we do that makes us special. Of course, if we can manage to do good content with reduced resources, we will give lip-service to its value and worth. But little more.

    Our Chairman/CEO, our President, our Division President and, most important, our Board of Directors are first and foremost charged and required to do everything in their power to maximize shareholder value. Everything else is secondary. So, while a private company might be willing to say, "Let's settle with an XX-percent margin because I know first-hand the good we are doing for our communities," our corporate, publicly held structure renders such notions as quaint, nostalgic and, frankly, irresponsible to our shareholders who want a return from their investment right now, not a few years down the road.

    We're not a non-profit. We're not a not-for-profit. We're not owned by a benevolant billionaire who sees us a public resource. We are a profit organization.

    More profit, or at least the most profit we can get, is expected, required and rewarded.

  7. 1:55pm.... Given what has just happened on Wall Street the last couple years, why should I invest my money in any corporation that operates like Gannett? Seems to me Corporate America is just moping up America's middle class, extracting every last dollar of profit that used to reside in the working man and woman's pocket. I can see no other way around the fix we working stiffs are in right now. Why should I pony up money only to be furloughed, have my pay cut, have more work heaped on me, and eventually lose my job as many of us have? Why should I subsidize a corporation that is sticking it to me?

  8. In light of 9:46's comments about how execs handle the money of the company's they run, here's an interesting piece(from the Young Turks).


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