Sunday, February 06, 2011

Indy | To climb Corporate's ranks, start very young

From Publisher Karen Crotchfelt's column today in The Indianapolis Star; she was promoted to the Star's top job on Dec. 22:

I was walking from my car to the Republic Media building in Phoenix, checking my BlackBerry, when I saw the e-mail. It said something cryptic and simple -- like, please call the president of the Gannett Co. Community Publishing Division at 10 a.m. today. My head spun. What could he want?

Maybe he would congratulate my team's recent strong revenue performance? Maybe there is a new project he wants me to handle? Or maybe, just maybe, this is the call I had been working for and wishing for since I was 18.

Turns out, it was the last: I was asked -- would I be interested in moving to Indianapolis to be the president and publisher of Star Media? For me, it was an easy answer. HECK, YES!

Earlier: Indy's Kane is reassigned; Crotchfelt is in


  1. When you were 18, what were you wishing for?

  2. Just so I'm clear, we're making fun of this person because they've achieved the job they were hoping to have since they were 18? Did you not have dreams or career goals at 18? Weak.

  3. What's the making-fun part of this post?

  4. Jim, this thread and the one about Mr. Majik show what a fool you are. I think a previous post said you "sucked shit" or something like that. I would have to agree.

  5. Hmmmm. What is it that bothers me about an 18 year-old with such balls-out ambition? Indy needs to hope she's as ready as she is eager. And Dubow better watch out because she probably started dreaming of his job at, oh, 21 or 22, don't ya think?

  6. Let's hope her teenaged aspirations included doing first-rate journalism.
    Star Editor Denny Ryerson could certainly use her help.

  7. Typical of making a deal with the devil - the higher you rise in Gannett or large corporation, the more you are expected to put work first. I'm sure she got enough of a raise and relocation benefits to rake in more $ than most of this blog's readers - and on a single income. But from what I've seen happen to friends in high places in Gannett, you end up doing things that would break anyone with a conscience and then are discarded for the next ambitious wannabe...
    "The answer was not as easy for my husband, Kevin, a virtual stranger to the Midwest, a lover of the heat in Phoenix and the owner of a small business in Scottsdale. Before we could commit to the move to Indianapolis, we needed to decide whether it was best for both of us and our two young children.

  8. I remember being in a meeting when I worked for the Arizona Republic. Karen Crotchfelt was speaking and going on and on about her beginnings with Gannett. The most interesting thing was that she said, she started in advertising and was NEVER any good at it and go out as quickly as should could and ended up in circulation. Well over the next couple of years she was put in charge of circulation and eventually all of advertising at the Arizona Republic, the people that she worked with in the marketing division were some of the most incompetent I had ever come across. Basically KC was a complete failure at the Arizona Republic, but revenue numbers were always twisted and revenue buckets moved to make her performance look stellar. It was so not a secret that she was a sub par employee as far as performance went but she definitely walked and talked the Gannett way. So seeing and knowing her first hand shows very clearly why Gannett is not an innovative company at all because mediocre people are promoted on a regular basis.

  9. This woman is either extremely naive, a brainwashed Gannettoid, or a calculating bean counter just drooling to get her hooks into Indy's spreadsheets.

    Whoever, in recent memory, heard of Gannett manager heading to a property to make the product better?

    It simply doesn't happen.

    Indy could be another Cincy in no time!

  10. Yikes. Those comments suggest that KC might be another in a long line of one-time Gannett stars over-endowed in corporatemanship but lacking in the attributes that make a leader worth following.
    Usually, the heat of battle brings out the best and the worst in people, so it shouldn't take long to find out if corporate's call is a blessing or curse for Indy's Star-ites.
    Euphoria or further damnation? Time will tell.

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. Having worked for Karen I can tell you that she is very smart, willing to try new and bold things, very organized, great direction and is very driven.
    She will do very well.
    I am not a "corporate troll", in fact I was laid off on December 2008.

  13. Karen is extremely smart, in fact newspaper Assoc of America, Dec. 2004 said- "Karen Crotchfelt is finding the "sweet spots" in Phoenix's competitive, fast-growing market. As vice president of business development at The Arizona Republic, Crotchfelt has launched five community magazines that will generate more than $1 million in net revenues in their first year."

    Those revenues were "borrowed" from existing ad contracts, and nearly all publications were gone in a short time. She then received credit for getting rid of them and the people who were "responsible" for their demise.

    Crazy world.

  14. Hey 11:55pm... you are right on target. I was working in advertising at the Arizona Republic during those years and those magazines were a complete JOKE. There was no content to speak of and all the advertisers were these high end retailers and restaurants that appealed to a very very small audience. The magazines actually never made a dime and even stealing revenue from other existing contracts it was still not enough to cover expenses. And to 8:21PM you may have worked for Karen but were obviously drinking the koolaide... She definitely put in the hours and talked a good talked but in the end she produced absolutely nothing, NOTHING, the whole entire business development team and department produced absolutely nothing NOTHING. They use to present all this data from scarbough and other research firms about trends and other BS. Basically they were a department that existed to produce reports that could have just been emailed to sales reps or clients by an administrative assistant. Oh I one more thing to be in with Karen you definitely had to be in with her women's group that would meet at her house for wine and hor devours on a regular basis. Again not surprised that she was promoted because she fit the Gannett corporate executive to a tee, but just a perfect illustration of the weak type of people that Gannett thinks are leaders, outside of Gannett they would be fired for incompetence and weak results.

  15. Look out Indy - Y'all fixin' to be in a world of hurt.

    This bright-eyed, eager young "driven" Gannettoid with tons of sparklin' new ideas will just bowl over eberyone with her enthusiasm! She will come up with all kind of crazy "innovative" ideas (ones she's already retreaded elsewhere) and get just everyone who "counts" at Indy on board...

    All these great new ideas will take a ton of time, and money, and effort by staff there... they will be launched...

    They will then get heaps of praise... for a while..

    Then they will fail miserably.

    Oh, but doncha worry none about KC, she will have been long gone by then... a new "President's Ring" in hand, she will have moved up to the next, larger unsuspecting paper or corporate position.

    And at poor Indy? The survivors will be left to pick up the pieces of the mess she left behind...

    Oh, and Indy newsroom... watch yer butts... quality ain't her strong suit.

    I've seen this over and over at Gannett... some young "rising star" makes a complete mess everywhere they go... and The Tower just smiles and nods...

  16. Her name is not really Crotchfelt, is it?

  17. From what I know of Indy, it would benefit from a gush of innovative thinking. They'd also benefit from goals that last more than a couple months.
    Friends tell me that Star management likes to keep employees guessing. They've learned to survive by avoiding clear-cut goals. Clear-cut goals would make them accountable. They prefer to adjust things daily to serve their own interests. To employees, it resembles the old shell game. It makes defining good jobs impossible because no one really knows what's expected.
    KC would be wise to ask DRs to share their departmental goals with her so she can chart their progress. Employees would love her for taking that simple step.

  18. 10:42 AM - right on target.... I bet we know each other... I worked at the arizona republic for 12 years and watched it detoriate into a shell of its former self.

  19. 8:43 is not only correct but opens up a very dark secret that everybody in Phoenix wouldn't talk about. In the few years before KC leaving a lot more men left her departments than women. And not of their choice! Amazing it hasn't been picked up on. 8:43 was also right on the money when mentioning those crazy studies. No matter how clear and specific the findings were, they were always interpreted in such a way to support the Marketing Departments desires. Or better put, KC's plan. Her "I want everybody to agree with me" management style also apparently overrode facts and details. It was so bad, her Marketing ladies couldn't find viable partnership opportunities and the one's they found were given the world. A tip to Indy, agree with KC and be female.

  20. I worked in Phoenix and yes, Karen is certainly smart, driven and looking forward. Although in her case, being driven and looking forward is the alternative to looking back and seeing who she's hurt. She was surrounded by a small group of females who matched her reactions in meetings, supported her every whim and were incapable of thinking on their own.

  21. I was totally cracking up when I read the story. Is the yearlong "journey" Beyond the big game anything like the "journey to world class" she raved about for the az republic/azcentral group. World class ...right watch out Indy, if azr is your example, RUN!


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