Saturday, February 26, 2011

Week Feb. 21-27 | Your News & Comments: Part 4

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  1. For Part 3 of this comment thread, please go here.

  2. Can anyone shed any light on working at The News Journal in Delaware? Noticed they have an opening, and wondering if it's worth my time

  3. Delaware News Journal not worth the time. Place is a mess.

  4. Heard from a colleague that Fla. Today lost 3-4 newsroom employees a couple days ago, including a woman photo journalist with 6 years in who had recently bought a house.

    Now that's cold.

  5. Wilmington is a mess. But a profitable mess. Unlike other sites that will be shut down. We'll stay open.

    Not that I'd encourage ANYONE to move anwhere for a job in this company. But pressman jobs are hard to find.

  6. Questions regarding GPC from yesterday: What was either unrecognized or ignored was that at many sites, the designers had a much longer working relationship with accounts than the sales people did.

    Because of historic relative turnover rates, a 20 year designer would often work with a six month sales person. And it worked, because the skills complemented and we could get the advertiser what they wanted in a timely manner. We bitched about each other in both directions, but the customer was served and ads were sold.

    Now, that six month rep has to learn a hundred products from online and print, deal with an atrociously slow ordering system, learn how to design ads, babysit the proofing process, etc - and when something does run, the lack of a local finance department means they also have to follow up with late payers or investigating credits for bad ads.

    The publishers/ad directors see reps sitting at their desks working on paperwork - so low-wage assistants are hired. They might have office skills, but no sales or design experience. We add in a layer which increases chances for miscommunication and delays - and the rep then has to manage that workflow too.

    No wonder we have reps leaving for web, radio, TV and outdoor. It's easier to sell a product with a tiny audience instead of the huge audience many of our properties still have.

  7. 7:27: So you're reps are leaving for something else that's "easier" to do? Sounds like the kind of people that make lousy employees anyway.

  8. @7:27

    I never realized it before, but you're right. All the artists in my dept. have been there at least six years and all of us have previous newspaper experience. We're a pretty stable group and if not for the consolidation, none of us would consider leaving even though none of our salaries are all that high.

    On the other hand, our sales department has been a revolving door. The reps who quit leave their client files in disarray. The newbies who take over the territory come to me frequently with a copy of an ad that the client supposedly built, wondering if we can recreate it. I can tell just by looking whether it was built in-house, the artist who built it, and sometimes even when it ran!

    We are in desperate need of revenue. Let reps do what they do best--sell! Now we have reps asking about fonts which is ridiculous. Don't turn them into artists. Don't turn them into data entry clerks. I really feel for all of them, they don't deserve this kind of treatment.

  9. 8:02 - if the job title says sales, they should be sales. Why wouldn't they go work where they can use their talents, without being dragged down by non-sales work?

    15% time for non-sales work is ok. 85% is not.

  10. Another day in Gannettland.
    How many will be gone after today?
    We know there will be many ,and also in the coming weeks and months.
    Will you be one of them that is unemployed on Monday.
    Who knows ,it's ramdon selection.
    You could be the best of the best and still
    not have a job Monday.What a way to live.

  11. Furloughs now very, very likely in the 3rd quarter, but only following a site-by-site trim in payroll and other expenses in the 2nd quarter. USCP site budgets for 2011 were "recalculated" for the third time this month to account for less robust numbers in majors and digital (Yahoo!). Publishers and controllers were directed to "feather" in 3rd quarter reductions in July, but were told they might not be needed if Evan could get better newsprint pricing. Now, however, it's looking likely.

    There will be no further "company-wide reductions" announced. Corporate, through the group presidents, will guide local leadership in timing and scope of future reductions, all under the guise of "local site decisions."

    Design studio employees will be getting the news shortly that many of them will be getting pay cuts (a few, coming up from smaller papers, will fare better). But, since we've burned our boats upon arriving at this New World, they will be confronted with a love-it-or-leave-it choice.

    Three continuing directives: Consolidation, outsourcing and downsizing (or "rightsizing to get in line with revenue expectations"). This will include salary pay cuts at more sites.

    Next positions to be targeted: Advertising Directors. Almost all NT-32 papers will be headed by GMs who will serve also as the ad directors (in some cases, the "publisher" will be allowed to keep his/her title, but will be serving also as ad director). Publisher titles at those properties to be phased out, as you are already witnessing.

  12. What does Kate Marymont, the so-called chief journalist of the community newspapers, do these days?

  13. @9:43 a.m.: What's an NT-32 paper? Does that refer to circulation? BTW, thanks for the thorough post.

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  15. The Tennessean is experimenting with cuts in the workday - people going from 40 hours a week to 37.5. Pilot program with a few, then looking to expand out to more.

  16. Following is an edited version of a comment posted at 10:17 a.m.:

    If you can't see that those remaining at the top of each division are INEPT and just sucking their last big bucks out of this company, you are blind. It's hard to accept; brilliant people once ran this company.

    The board knows nothing, Dubow knows nothing, Gracia is only a cold-blooded cutter.

    The real "leadership" comes from Dickey, Hunke, etc., and their blind leadership teams. Jim: Take a look at E. Ray and M. Krans. How in the world did Krans get to that job? It's a story you would enjoy. Ray is a good cutter, but he runs things like Mafioso [XXXXX] and hasn't got a strategic thought in his head, except regarding his own exit.

    As for those of you remaining, if you are not set up to retire within 18 months, you are crazy not to run to a new opportunity, even at a fraction of the pay (if you are highly paid now. If not, you can probably replace your income.)

    No, don't "just quit," as the trolls say here. But it is only really possible to get a job while you have one. So get your head around this:

    The only reason you are showing up Monday morning is to spend your time looking for a new job!

  17. Showing up for work at a gannett site with your primary objective being searching for a way out while taking a paycheck is absolutely the right mindset! As we are all seeing, gannett doesn't give a damn about any of us. Screw them over any way you can. When they lie (as they always do) just smile and let these butt holes think you're accepting their ongoing BS.

  18. USAT already has faced a mass exodus, with more on the way. Susan Weiss is holding meetings with editors to find out how many reporters have prospects for departure. Most of the editors have their resumes out too!

  19. Fisch had to know the axe was coming. Especially after leaving Honolulu in a mess and then repeating his bad hire after bad hire in Westchester like he did in Hawaii.

  20. It depends on what the job is at The News Journal. If it is for a press position you should be fine. We now also print the Salisbury papers, plus USA Today.

    The News Journal is still a good place to work but it is concerning that almost all our VPs have jumped ship including our publisher. Tells me they must know something we don't

  21. Today was my last day at Gannett. I'm fortunate that I've already got a new job lined up starting Monday. Going to miss my co-workers.

  22. 8:02 is a joke. And the exact reason why talented sales people bail on this crap company. I should know. Just go the job offer i was waithning for. Sayonara APP.....

  23. Newsquest London seeks redundancy volunteers

    25 February 2011
    By Oliver Luft

    Regional publisher Newsquest has told staff working on its papers in London that it would accept requests for voluntary redundancy.

    Roger Mills, managing director for Newsquest London, briefed staff yesterday that due to worsening trading conditions the company had opened a redundancy programme.

    Employees have been given a relatively short window to register their interest as requests have to be with Newsquest London’s HR department by close of business on Monday.

    The company announcement issued by Mills did not detail the terms being offered by Newsquest for those wishing to take up its offer of voluntary redundancy nor specify how many volunteers the company is seeking.

    The opening of the voluntary redundancy programme has raised fears amongst staff about the long term future of a number of Newsquest’s titles in the capital.

    A number of Newsquest weekly papers in South and West London have undergone pagination cuts in recent weeks with key editorial pages in some titles reduced by half.

    Pagination has been reduced across Newsquest’s Guardian series of papers, the Surrey Comet and the Richmond & Twickenham Times in recent weeks.

    Newsquest London declined to comment.

  24. 8:02 -- Clearly you don't know anything about sales. You make money based on SALES, not the challenge you present yourself with. Almost any good sales person would leave for the opportunity for an easier sale. It would mean more money. If what the original poster said was true, it's a no brainer.

    Would you want to sell the product that requires you to spend hours shuffling through paperwork or the one that's a quick sell and that gets you back on the street?

    You may like challenges, but most sales people are in it primarily for the money, and easy money is better than the alternative.

  25. 8:19 Congratulations on getting out. There are many who wish they were in your shoes. This company is withering from within and morale has reached the point of no return. It is sad to see a once vibrant newsroom turn into a tomb. Craig Dubow is like the Crypt Keeper, only fat.

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  27. Ted power move out of RGJ is delayed.
    Seems like Reno is having trouble finding a new publisher. Or whoever they've chosen isn't ready to make the move.
    Anyone with any other insight?

  28. Jim,
    I was just looking at the 10K and I noticed that Ripple6 is no longer mentioned. In fact, it was not even listed under the title of 2008 Strategic Acquisitions/Investments in the 10K.

    I also confirmed from the de facto head of Gannett Digital that Ripple6 has been shuttered shortly after Sang Kim abruptly resigned last June. He also told me that the Ripple6 Founder and Investors were paid out millions prior to the end of 2010 so Gannett can take an impairment charge and write it off.

    Also, if you type in, it redirects to Poin rolls main website and there is no mention of Ripple6 at all.

  29. Anyone know what's going on with national sales. I hear they're losing people at around 1/week. Who is running that team now?

  30. Ha! Not surprising about Ripple 6. Those of us who were at the Arkansas Gazette when it closed in 1991 soon noticed that it had been erased from Gannett's corporate history, as if the company had never owned it.

    Right down the old memory hole.

  31. Shouldn't selling be easy for a "World Class Sales Force"?

    To bad this "World Class Salesperson" doesn't have "World Class Administrative Support", or "World Class Ad Design", or "World Class Management" or even "stupid freakin' damned world class sales material".

    There is a reason our sales are down. BECAUSE WE HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING OURSELVES!!!!

    This company doesn't have a "World Class Sales Force". It has "World Administrators".

  32. Gannett keeps tweaking systems for more efficient selling.
    Our site spent a fortune on laptops to equip all the sales people with one so they could enter orders as they got them, or when they were done with their calls for the day.
    One problem is that the Genesys system shut down at 7 pm so it could start running overnight batches, starting with Circulation which had to happen early enough to get the morning papers out.
    Another problem is that it took so freakin' long to key anything in Genesys that no one was done when the system shut down, and orders were missed.
    The laptops were also supposed to make it easier for the reps to process customer credits. Some of the reps never bothered, or ignored requests, either because they weren't trained or because they didn't want to mess with their goal numbers. Because the process was fairly confusing, for audit reasons, it was easy to claim that they had not seen a complaint.
    So the next strategy was to designate assistants in the office who could do all this paperwork for the reps. That was fine except that the assistants had system access that the reps didn't and if they were out of the office (vacation, sick, furlough, whatever), the rep couldn't get anything done because the mapping couldn't accommodate enough flexibility. The assistants only had authority for certain rep IDs so an assistant couldn't help out a rep they weren't mapped to. No one in Sales, not even the Ad Managers, really understood the mapping process or how to change it, and IT could only do what it was asked to do. If you didn't ask the right questions, you couldn't get anything done.
    In the meantime, what happened to all of the laptops......?

  33. Responding to 10:17's post on how Michelle Krans got her job. I've know Michelle for more than 20 years - She is a very smart, talented and visionary woman. Period. If you have any other reason say so and sign your name. Easy to cast shadows and hide behind anon. Tina McManama

  34. Hello Des Moines people!
    Why have we not heard from any one there?
    The wimps.I guess they are still too afraid to post here for whatever reasons might be.
    In fact,there are several weekies also associated
    with the DM Reg and there never seems to be posts
    from any of them either.Iowa wimps, and if you check this out,Iowa has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country,meaning there are other jobs to be had.So why the hell put up
    with the Gannett tyrants.It is one thing to be
    sticking to Gannett for fear of not being able to find another job...not the case in Iowa!

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  36. Come on Register folks,the mother ship will not
    find you ....
    You can do it ,get some guts and let us know
    what is happening there at the Reg.

  37. If the GPS's are so terrible, why not contact your favorite artist(s) whom have since been let go? Most former Gannett graphic designers would love an opportunity to build some ads again. At the bottom of this blog is an "advertise here" space. Why not offer a classified-style section for graphic designers to offer their services? It could go state by state and utilize by-the-line pricing or small ad pricing. Good for Gannett Blog/good for laid-off artists.

  38. Put Maness in Westchester.

  39. 12:47....yeah, that would work. (dripping sarcasm.....)

  40. 12:47 - now how would both TD AND maness be able to fit their ego-inflated heads through the entrance?

  41. I guess everyone in Des Moines just loves their
    dearest L. Hollingsworth....
    and her decisions......

  42. If Newsquest can make redundancy offers, why not Gannett? I know people at my site who would take it (me included, if the terms were even slightly favorable). This would likely save the jobs of people who really want to be there.

    There are many of us who have paved the way toward new careers but can't just quit without any severance or unemployment to make the transition. If Gannett offered buyouts to volunteers it would be a win-win.

    I'm sure they would still have to lay a few people off, but it could lessen the blow.

  43. No way Susan Weiss is holding meetings about people leaving. There's nothing pre-emptive to get people to stay, other than "you should be happy to have a job." Susan's prevailing attitude is if you are unhappy, you should leave. There is too much other crap to worry about than unhappy workers.

  44. Anyone seen Hillkirk lately other than on his way to Healthworks or a meeting?

  45. @2:47pm Newsquest is part of Gannett. Our fellow workers across the pond. And we all know what happens when Gannett doesn't get enough volunteers

  46. I believe there were 5 layoffs in WI on Thursday or Friday of last week. I heard about 2 (finance and sales)in Appleton and 3 (part-time ad services)in GB.

  47. Anonymous said... westchechester site gannet need to promote tony simmon to publisher and president who can save the day ASP in my opinion.

  48. Any ideas of who they plan on bringing to Reno? Its a big mess to clean up and I don't think anyone wants it.

  49. Westchester needs Maness!!!

  50. Just an idea for the leadership of Gannett.
    And I use the term leadership VERY LOOSELY.

    How about you rudderless captains take your hands off the wheel of this ship?
    You know, this ship you are deliberately steering into the rocks. Just so you can loot the gold in the holds. Let someone else steer the ship.
    Someone who wants to save the company. None of you are in the savior category. Not one of you.
    You all can go play golf or something.

    Picking off your employees one by one, all over the country is just SHAMEFUL...What a horrible way to treat the people that make your product.
    Imagine what that does to your workforce's psyche?
    Are you capable of understanding how your workers feel at all?

    And, how about you stop treating the papers as if they were a giant jug of homogenized milk?
    Cities and towns are different. Did you forget about that, oh fearless "leaders"..

    Stop looting the place. The whole country can see that's what you are doing. Elitist top level management, sucking the blood, sweat, and tears from the people that have made bucketloads of money, just for you.

    Shame, shame shame on you, and your lack of leadership.

    Now, go look in the mirror and tell yourself you are doing the right thing. Do that every time you make the next lame decision. mmmkay?

  51. 9:55
    They only care about their take in the money
    pot.The only other consideration is the stock holders,who are apparently in the dark or only care also about bottom line.I would guess they do not even think,for one moment,about the good workers who have given entire lives to their
    location.Only to be cast aside like useless machin ery.
    What about the loyal Des Moines Reg workers.
    Not a word from them or affiliates.
    Seems pretty wimpish to me after all the other sites reporting in about thier particular layoff
    situations.They are either incredible cowards or else still dedicated to the Gannett bottom line.

  52. In Des Moines there are several factors in play.
    A) People are more laid back/less confrontational.
    B) The economy isn't too bad so fed up people moved on.
    C) Management moved the stronger willed ones out.
    Believe's as whacked as any other location. If Brad Robertson can get multiple promotions you know it's messed up. I've never heard a guy talk so much and say so little.

  53. Westchester needs to be shut down. Period. This freefall has gone on long enough and is now bringing down the whole company!

  54. @10:46

    9:55 here
    You're right. And it's pathetic.
    I've never seen company do it this way.
    Take the money and run. Go so far as to even save money on firing people by converting the severance process into that TPP. Not even a real severance anymore. It's just plain sickening.
    Imagine every day, driving to work and wondering if you will be able to log into your computer.

    A big rock hanging over your head, just waiting to drop. People still like their professions, and that's why they stay. Working until your name has been put on the list. Then poof, you're gone. Just like that, it's over.

    Surely there is some real leadership left somewhere. I'd love to see a management coup. Anything would be better than what is up there now. Dim bulbs, cutting instead of innovating.
    That's what tells me it's all about looting what's left.

    So sad. Shame on the pathetic leadership.

  55. If you want Westchester to die quickly send in Brad Robertson. He killed off the Press Citizen community papers in Des Moines about 2 years before their time. He is a circ guy (give it away to keep numbers up) trying to be an ad guy.

    He focused the reps on easily sold low priced Auto and Real Estate ads, drove up newsprint use, paid the reps the same commission % and the reps forgot about the column inches the papers actually made money on........Recipe for disaster.

  56. 11:30 - Well, new Journal News "interim" publisher Tom Donovan was a classified ad guy whose cocky demeanor was misconstrued as confident leadership, allowing him to move up the chain. He proved to be in way over his head, of sub-par intellectual capacity for the job, and further, an emperor with no clothes. Those who know his real history realize that's a double entendre!

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  58. Reno needs Maness!!!

  59. Heh stopped jumping on my boy Brad R! He was groomed by Sue Clark Johnson and we all know how good she was at identifying future leaders!!!!

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

  61. Brad Robertson was not perfect in DM but he inspired many by his work ethic, willingness to experiment/fail/learn and energetic personality. Westchester would be lucky to have him.

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  63. I thought west chester was already filled?

  64. sick of shouting iceberg2/27/2011 8:25 PM

    Dear Newsquest people: If the severance package (ie: buyout) is there, take it. You will never see another one, as what happened in the states. I still joke with the ex-colleagues who took the buyout about what they knew and when they knew it.So many people stepped forward at my site, they had to tell some of them they couldn't go. After that, "severance" consisted of applying for unemployment (Thank the taxpayers, Gannett) and then they'd pay the difference.
    This ship is going down.


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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