An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
For Part 1 of this comment thread, please go here.
When are they going to stop being called furloughs and declare us working a 48 week year plus vacation. I only wish we could take our four weeks all together. Sure it's a pay cut, but if we know it's the state of being, we can start getting used to it rather than living false hope that we'll somehow get ahead. Stock owners must love it. We are skimping on quality while retaining revenue lines. We are still reducing expenses. If a newspaper fails, we'll just close it and move on maximizing revenue. We a a revenue machine, not a journalism powerhouse anymore.
As much as furloughs suck, they are even worse when you have no advanced warning like in Q1.Corporate doesn't grasp that someone earning $32k might change their spending habits if they knew that in three weeks their paychecks were going to decrease by 10%.
xxx Corporate doesn't grasp that someone earning $32k might xxxxx Corporate doesn't know about that, and doesn't care to know. It's up to you to balance your checkbook.
Ah, here comes the corporate doesn't care for you message from 9:43 AM. True, some companies do not care about their employees. They are typically well-known for degrading policies toward their workers. These companies are often considered shysters who skirt the law to make a few extra bucks. Please know that Gannett's mistreatment of its employees is not the norm in America. Many companies truly value their workers and show it by doing things that prove that they care.Gannett's a bad exception on the employee relations front, so let's not buy the crap these bloggers are trying to sell. That'd be like saying all investment brokers operate like Bernie Madoff.
I think it's important for all of us to remember that during transformations such as ours, human assets, particularly those who insist upon being weighted down by gooey notions of putting community service before corporate profits, are expendable. In other words, to use a tired cliche, we must break many eggs to make the new omelets we're going to sell. I need not say who are the eggs.Yes, we will have furloughs. Yes, we will have pay cuts. Yes, we will have additional RIFs. And yes, some of us who remain will be "right-sized" into new jobs with new duties and, sadly, lower pay. "My Boss," whose insightful comments help make this site relevant, is right on target. The New Gannett will be smaller, more focused and less burdened by the tenets that built the old corporation.Sadly, and unfortunately, this has meant that our top corporate leadership has developed emotional callouses. They've hardened their hearts to the pain that their actions will inflict at the sites. They can't expend the energy to mourn for those who are fired, displaced or downsized; if they did, they would be paralyzed by grief and unable to focus clearly upon profits. Through the remnants of "local autonomy," they delegate the messy human contact to the site managers, most of whom are in agony as they execute these directives and some know well that likely the bell will toll for them as well.One of the posters on this thread lamented that it would be great if corporate would just tell them that furloughs were coming in the 2nd Quarter and that other, more ominous stuff is on the horizon. Truthfully, we've been planning for the worst since corporate handed down the first versions of the 2011 site budgets in November. But we can't, or won't, tell you that. Why should we? We hope the draconian stuff will not be needed; to tell you that we've anticipated the worst would be taken as a sign that we've surrendered to the inevitable. Ours is to fight to the very end and stave off the end times as long as we can until the New Gannett takes hold. Such courtesies to our employees, sad to say, is bad business.
If you are making $32,000 a year you should be living like you earn $16,000 per year and have $16,000 per year in the bank. Always live at 50% of your pay no matter what your pay and you will be really well off.
Who the hell does Ed Maclaughlin of ShopLocal think he is? Seriously, this guy has come into PointRoll and is spewing a lot of crap to each of his team leaders. He has no respect for the existing developers and dba's here. This is clearly a Rob Gatto special "Chicago-style".Someone should investigate this immediately!!!
11:14, a very compelling commentary there. I agree in part and disagree in other. Mainly: I fail to see how destroying product quality is good business. The ultimate litmus test is what the WSJ is doing to its product and what USAT is doing. What would you buy in an airport on a Friday and why? The choice is obvious to me.
@11:47 - You're kidding, right? When was the last time you tried living on $16,000 per year? You'd need food stamps and Medicaid to carry it off. And if you earn $32,000, they're probably not going to give you either.
11:47, that may or may not be realistic. If single, yeah, why not? What if married, with kids? What if you were able to live on 50 percent at one point, then found out your kid had Asperger's or something else and you needed to sink hundreds of non-covered dollars into treatment because that's what parents are supposed to do for their kids? Don't judge people with such a broad, tsk-tsk stroke and assume they're broke because they're bad savers.As for generating cash flow: If you can freelance your talents, DO IT! If you can create a salable side business, DO IT! Make sure it's ok with your boss and go for it. You'll work hard. But you'll reduce the threat of financial harm, and, when you get downsized, you'll have the infrastructure in place to keep cash coming in until you get back on your feet career-wise.
7:56: I have as many problems with corporate as anyone -- probably more -- but if you haven't already adjusted your budget to account for furloughs in quarters two, three and four I wonder why. Are you not paying attention?You will never face negative consequences by being a little too conservative with your financials. Then, if furloughs don't happen, you can look at the extra money as a bonus and stick it in savings to help you out the next time they do come along. Or, you'll have a little money in the bank in case you're laid off. The company is in downsizing mode and it will continue to cut costs through furloughs, layoffs or both. That is obvious and nobody should require a corporate memo explaining this. I REALLY feel for your situation, but pretending the current climate is different than it actually is isn't healthy for anyone. Budget for the furloughs. Then bank the extra money if they don't happen. 11:47 -- I think the basic principle of your advice is sound, but financial advisers always toss numbers around like this without looking at reality. In many places in the country it would be nearly impossible to live on $16,000 a year. I don't know where the original poster is from, but where I live, a dirt cheap one-bedroom apartment in a lousy neighborhood runs $500 a month. That's $6,000 a year right there. If you wanted to live in a safe neighborhood (a reasonable choice I think since no amount of savings will do you any good if you are murdered or severely injured in a mugging), you would be looking at about $9,000 a year for a one-bedroom apartment. That means you would be left with about $585 a month for utilities, food, clothing, your contribution to health insurance, car insurance, etc. Assuming you maintain the health insurance (something that I would argue is much more important than a huge savings account) I don't think you could do it. You could, no doubt, survive, but only if you were willing to give up one current necessity (insurance, clothing, etc.) in order to save for the future. Whether we like it or not, corporate culture has left many, many Americans in a position where they simply don't make enough money to pay for all of their current necessities and save for retirement. Everything changes if you're talking about somebody making $100,000, $90,000 or even $80,000 a year. Those people can arguable save half of their income. But when you're at $40,000 a year or lower it's very difficult if not impossible.
I worked for many years as a reporter in Gannett. I felt the frustration of layoffs (was never a victim but knew many who were), was saddled with mounting workloads, more responsibilities for less pay, a declining benefits package and a boss who didn't treat me well. Eventually, I left the company for a new industry. I have never looked back and am glad I did. Believe it or not, in very short time, I was promoted up into senior management of our organization of 1,200 people serving as Vice President of Communications and Marketing. After so many years of being the worker bee who was angry at management, I am now what I despised. But, it's been an important learning experience for me and has offered me a more well-rounded, more informed worldly view. We are currently going through a staff reduction right now. Many good employees are losing their jobs, many whom dedicated their career to this company. Being in the room with the executive management committee when these decisions are made, I can tell you that no one is grinding personal axes. Indeed, we are cutting positions not people. In fact, the people making the decisions about which POSITIONS to cut don't even know the PEOPLE in them. We have to take this approach because we're trying to set the company, of which every employee relies on for salary, benefits, etc., more stable moving forward. At my suggestion, the company created an anonymous comment board where employees post thoughts, opinions, concerns that are read by corporate. We receive a lot of the same criticism on the board as Gannett does here on this blog. The experience has changed my view since my reporter days. During tough times, when people are being laid off, emotions run high. They assume the worst and make things personal. "Can you believe they let John at site X go? His wife just had a baby! They have no heart." We've heard that on our comment board. I've read similar thoughts here. But, the simple fact is, the person who erased "John's" POSITION from the spreadsheet didn't know "John," didn't know he had a wife, or a new baby or a mortgage that he just signed. His POSITION was simply one that the company could no longer justify paying for during these difficult economic times. My point, I guess, is to say that I used to think management was bad, that they had it out for employees and that they didn't care about being humane. Now that I am able to see the other side, I can tell you that isn't true. Management does care, but they have to make difficult decisions. Have you ever had to tell someone they don't have a job anymore? It's a tough thing to do. But, sometimes it has to be done. Now, none of us take big bonuses at the end of the year. And, I think that is not acceptable in times like this. Every Gannett employee has a right to be angry about that. I would be too. But, to come on here and call management heartless, cold, uncaring people whose only concern in life is themselves, shows how unaware and singularly minded such posters are. I am not here to defend all management or managers. There are bad apples in every barrel. But, it's hard to put credence in the people who act as if management is always bad, all of the time, no matter what. Such obtuse perspectives may explain why they are where they are today.
12:24 The average income for high school graduates in the United States is $26,000. So after considering taxes, etc., yes people are making it on $1,000 a month.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_income_in_the_United_States
You have to have the savings 50% part from the very beginning... Just think when you got your first job.. you went from zero to something. So you start saving 50% from that point forward. Even the 50% reduction is more than zero. You continue doing that your whole life. As your pay and/or jobs change and increase your pay, the 50% becomes greater and your savings becomes huge. So when you need emergency things, you have cash to pay for it. All this whining about Wawawa I don't have enough money, I can't afford this, you have to make common sense financial decisions from the very beginning and continue them forever. And you have a family and kids and are only making $32,000 a year, you probably should have decided if that was a good idea. People live to live way below and within their means, you can only blame yourself if you are in a bad financial situation. Job come and go, income goes up and down, that should not be a surprise to anyone and if it is then you are an idiot.
11:14 said" "Sadly, and unfortunately, this has meant that our top corporate leadership has developed emotional callouses. They've hardened their hearts to the pain that their actions will inflict at the sites."You mean they actually have hearts?
11:14 What transformations? I am waiting to see some signs of any, and until I do I am going to continue to believe this talk of transformation was all a fraud designed to hide the layoffs and furloughs. There is no sign -- absolutely no sign -- of any change in our operation, except we are doing it all with fewer peopleland not as well as we used to. Other than that, where is the change?
Wonder who's on furlough this week? Here's one of the top stories on the Northwestern's Web site. Nice headline!(No heading) 37 minutes ago
11:47 and 2:31 - Thanks for the financial guidance. Does this apply to journalism school grads with $50k in tuition loans who may want to live on their own, have a car, eat regularly, access the Internet, etc.? Maybe you've got the start of an advice column...putzes.
Re 12:24 p.m. People are "making it" at $1,000 a month, huh? Where are they doing this and how many dependents do they have?
4:19PM you are the perfect example of lack of common sense. Why would you go to college and go in debt for $50K for a journalism degree that is a relatively low paying job except for the truly elite. Any yes if you do save 1/2 your money you would be better off, it may not be the exact place you want to live but and you might have to drive an older car and not go out to eat, but at least you would be saving money in the bank for investing and the future. That is the problem with most folks, you can get by on any wage and still save money, provided you haven't extended yourself which seems to be the American way now.
I can't imagine anyone throwing money away these days on a masters in journalism. Sorry Columbia U., it just ain't worth it.
To 11:24 p.m....Where do these $1,000-a-month and making it folks live? In straw huts, dog houses, highway overpasses?Hey, I wonder if Big Al would consider renting out his tree house? That way he could deduct the depreciation from his income taxes.
According to my calculations, I spend, rock bottom, $15,000 annually in mortgage, food, gas and car payments, on my $32K income (gross, not take-home), which leaves me, if I saved 50 percent, $500 for medical expenses, things that break, furniture, things that break, utilities, and things that break, etc. Not easy.
12:24 Those are the figures. They are doing it all over this country. They have done it that way since this country was created. Maybe you haven't heard this before, but if you want to get rich, newspapering isn't the way to do it. As for those who amassed all that debt for a graduate degree in journalism, no one promised you a job when you started this. These people made a decision to go for journalism and now can't expect anyone to have any sympathy for their questionable judgement. The story of a dying newspaper industry isn't really that new.
4:34 - It must be nice to have your career and finances mapped out by the time you're 19. Try living on $75k a year in the biggest cities which GCI publishes a paper or runs a station. Most, and I am not a journalism grad, probably pursued that degree because it was their passion and likely took out student loans to pursue that passion, I'm sure if you polled the reporters and editors at GCI they would agree. My point is these folks shouldn't be penalized or demeaned for that decision and forced to live marginally above the poverty line when the morons running GCI into the ground are eking by with seven-figure annual compensations. Would you have the Courts Reporter for the Indy Star makes his own clothes too?
Courts reporter position was eliminated in 2008. Defendants, lawyers, judges and cops are encouraged to blog on IndyJustice.com.
Hey 5:00pm looks like you do pretty good, but you should never have a car payment, not a mortgage and should be sharing an apt. or rooming with somebody to have cheaper housing costs. And 4:34pm you can live anywhere in this country very well on $75K per year and still save your money. Obviously you don't that is why you are complaining, I bet you have car payments, mortgage and other debt that you can't afford. And to 4:49pm you can live on $1000/mo, you share an apt. with some for $250/mo, you don't eat out, you don't have a car and if you do you buy a clunker that is reliable but not pretty. And if you are trying to provide for someone other than yourself at that pay, then you should never be in a relationship that requires that or have kids.Wake up people and stop blaming others for your horrible financial decisions.
4:49 I gave you the link. Look at the numbers for yourself. If I've got it right, Jim, the operator of this blog, seems to be doing it on that sort of income. He's living in high-priced San Francisco and seems to have access to all the modern and expensive technologies like smartphones, etc., which carry regular access fees. Look back on this blog, and he's shown you the room where he lives, so we know he's not making his home under a highway overpass.
I flipped on CNBC, saw the G A N N E T T ad.Uhh, ok.A few minutes later, they ran the "subscribe to the New York Times" ad.Hands down, MUCH better ad.The difference is like night and day.
Maybe journalism education is over-rated. Here's a line from our education reporter in an online story.Supporters of the legislation say it’s a crucial step toward long-term financial stability because it allows for reigning in compensation costs.
5:10 -- I bought a house, then got laid off. I don't have good access to public transportation, and I need a car to travel on my job. Also, how many reliable clunkers are there to drive? These things break down rather often, and repairs are expensive. Not every financial decision made is horrible. But we're getting off the track here. Bottom line: Major in journalism at your own risk. Thirty years ago it was a viable option. Not anymore.
So college journalism professors, who are supposed to teach their students to seek the truth, are themselves making a living on The Biggest Lie: that journalism jobs will be available to graduates.Oh, the irony.
5:10 - I suggest lining up your facts. You're naivete about how far $75k goes reflects a booming social life for a 38-year-old sleeping on his parent's couch in the basement 45 miles from work. Look at the Washington, DC area, where GCI HQ and WUSA are located. The Glass Castle is in Fairfax County, VA. which has the 2nd highest median household value in the country. Do you know what's #1? Montgomery County, MD - directly across the Potomac River. Guess what's #4? Loudon County, VA, 10 miles west of HQ.
5:33 PM - Journalism professors are teachers NOT job recruiters and they DON'T guarantee you any employment with a degree NO University does. Professors are employed by the Universities to teach students..... PERIOD, THAT IS IT, NO MORE. Quit blaming others on your own stupid decisions.
5:51 PM - I do live in the Washington DC area and make less than $75K a year and live in a very nice apt in Arlington with two roomates. Yup you can't have everything you want, but you can still live very well. Again I don't overspend and live within my means. You must be one of those people who can't budget their money and I bet that no matter how much money you made, you still wouldn't be able to make ends meet because you are an idiot.
Don't blame the journalism professors. They are telling their students about the precarious nature of the profession these days, so there is due warning about the snakepit people are entering expecting to become the next Woodward and Bernstein.
$75K is an incredible salary, and a salary bracket Congress is certain to target when lawmakers get around to the tax "reform" bill. If your finances aren't in order on $75K, then God help you because this recession has really narrowed those sort of jobs and you will have to settle for less if you lose this one.
Im a sales rep and the reps in my department have been issued unattainable goals since Q3 of 2010. Each and every month it gets worse and worse. People on this message board have complained about lazy ad reps – saying they goof off or have coffee instead of being on sales calls. If you knew that it would take an absolute miracle to make your numbers (numbers set so intentionally high so they can save on paying commission)- and if that miracle sale happened your goal would be jacked up the following month to ensure a commission payout would not continue- would you be working your tail off? While being reimbursed 28 cents a mile when gas is over $3.75 a gallon? When your base pay that is now your only income is comparable to working at Walmart? When the $100K + per month you bring in for ad revenue is total gravy for corporate? While every ad you sell (which is not going to give you a payout in commission because you have not achieved your revenue goal) is a complete nightmare now that we must deal with GPC? What do you think motivates sales people these days to sell? When you address these issues with management they tell you that at least we still have jobs? We are facing close to 50% reduction in pay this year…..so quit complaining about 10% cut in pay for furlough (oh - we have those too, so add that on to our pay reduction) and how lazy we can be….I used to work hard and love it….but now we are all feeling like schmucks and like we are being taken advantage of. Not much incentive to be out pounding the pavement and selling our hearts out.
Jim, please stop this nonsense. Many folks are facing financial challenges. I had no idea GCI had that many financial advisors in the ranks.
6:32 PM - Many people are facing financial challenges because they are idiots can can't save a dime or prepare for the future, or live right to their income limits or above. So stop your whining too, you sound like an immature child.
Seriously. You people are so easily baited. Obviously Robin's group is employing psyche warefare again and you people are eating it up. If somebody says something really stupid (like whay can't you live $16k a year). Don't respond. I just had to scroll though a mile of crap.Does anyone have anything pertinent to say about Gannett?Like..... How's Yahoo doing. It's tanking in NJ.Not hard.
6:55 PM - Dude Don't know who Robin is but I used to work for GCI and was laid off in July 2009. And agree with all of the posts about how people should better manage their money and at least save 1/2 of it. And yes you can live on $16K a year, its not that hard. You seem like an idiot that can't live within their means.
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I left a Gannett paper after meeting my sales goals- which were up 28% from the prior year. I kept asking my VP why I didn't get my commission his response was "Because I don't feel like it". From that day forward he made my life a living hell until I suffered a mental breakdown and haven't been able to work since.Six months later he got fired...too badit wasn't sooner.
7:37 PM - Nice made up story and if even a little part of it was true WHO CARES!!
to 6:08 pm - sales is your job and if you don't like it - leave. Today an outside salesperson came into the office totally not dressed appropriately - jean skirt, t-shirt and leggings. No wonder people don't want to buy from us - if this is what we have representing us...
No one buys the paper because there is no circulation and the journalism sucks. Doesn't matter what the sales force wears. No one cares about the damn paper.
5:51pm referring to Crystal Palace as the "Glass Castle" -- LMAO, I love it!
Looks like Craigy and Gracie must be handing out a lot of $20 bills to their Crystal Palace goons for filling the blog with unrelated nonsense today. Well done, GCI management. Well done.
There are still sales reps out there busting their asses making great commissions. They are not doing it by sitting around bitching and moaning about how miserable things are. They are so busy working they dont get caught up in the B.S. and drama and guess what - it pays off in their bank account. Is it easy? Hell no but there are 2 breeds. Winners and Losers. Which one are you?Oh and last I checked the sales reps make a nice salary - most being $30,000+. I think you would be hard pressed to find Walmart employees making that.
I agree that there are a lot of good, motivated sales reps at my site, but there are also quite a few who spend their days getting their hair and nails done, working on side businesses, shopping, or just sitting in the office running their mouths. And yes, these are the ones with the fewest accounts. Wonder why?I'm not saying all sales reps are the same, but as with any group, there are some bad apples. Of course, it doesn't help that our newspaper is such a joke in the community that a lot of businesses won't even let sales reps in the front door.
Our little 'tsk tsk if you can't live on 16K a year taskmaster' is either a corp stooge or a GCI drone who lives alone with a couple cats. Not in the real world for sure.
10:28 - Neither, laid off in July 2009, but was smart enough to never live above my means.
At the Arizona Republic back in 2005 and 2006, our real estate reps were making $20,000 per month in commission... Ya, that is right $240,000 a year just in commission and there was no real work going on, advertising just fell in their laps. And that is the lesson and story of the newspapers. Back in the hey day, a monkey could have been sitting at a desk and the advertising would roll in, but now and forever shall be in the future, you can have the best sales reps in the world and never be able to sell hardly anything. Why because the age of the newspapers is over and will never come back the way it did but will slowly decline into nothingness. They missed the digital age because they are not as innovative as Google, Facebook, Apple or any other 21st Century Company. Gannett will one day disappear because the almost all of their revenue is in the print product which declines daily, weekly, quarterly and annually and eventually they will not be able to meet their debt obligations or maintain operations. Just watch how quickly GCI will crumble when their print revenue evaporate.
11:19 Real estate ads won't come back. They were rivers of gold, and we gave them up without a fight. I am looking for a house and I am floored with the information I can get online compared to when I first bought. There's no reason we couldn't have given all this information like the previous sale price or the assessed valuation which are public record. Back in the glory days, we could also have added the local crime portrait, and the test scores at local schools. But we just took the money and didn't regard ads for their news value. The killer for print now is the 15-20 pictures of the homes for sale that you now get online, plus Zestimates. The real estate agent I'm dealing with says she only puts ads in the paper if the homeowners request them.
At the Cherry Hill, NJ courier post at least half of the ad sales reps are as described earlier on this blog: lazy and just incompetent while 80% of the "management" are downright useless. The managers got their jobs by brown-nosing. It's like a party in that department and very obvious to the rest of us who are hanging into our jobs relying on this sad group. Rather than chasing skirts or bullshitting senior management should make these people get out of the office with a firm requirement to sell ads covering their cost to the company...at a minimum.
Haven't been here all day. Seems a couple of people got into a tizzy about something that is too subjective to really make an accurate statements about one way or another. One person might be able to live on $16k a year. Another, with medical payments or an elderly parent who needs care, or a car that breaks down, probably can't do it. $16,000 a year is pretty close to the poverty line. Can you do it? Sure. Is it feasible or realistic for everyone, absolutely not. Let's get a grip people. Fighting each other isn't going to help us defeat management.
I would totally take $20 to post positive Gannett/anti-Jim worker drone comments on here.
I hope gci, craiggy and the new digital and marketing czars can kick out the deadwood sales reps and bring some fresh revenue in. I also hope they can convince the powers that be that the quality of the product must improve, too.
Gannett is playing a large "shell game", with rotating best new ideas for the future, and exciting new people in different positions. Same as last year, and the year before...
Arlington Apartment Couch Guy - When you want to graduate beyond extending your dorm-like living conditions for another few years, good luck landing that mortgage on what you make. Maybe you should strive to leverage your skills for newer media entities in the DC area, like LivingSocial, Politico, etc. where you might actually make more money instead of boasting about how frugally you survive working for an irrelevant has-been.
instead of boasting about how frugally you survive working for an irrelevant has-been. Good one, 11:09 a.m., really good one. I want to see the example of surviving on $16,000 in this economy. I want to know how this person survives without relaying on roommates to cover the rent, food, etc. Alone, all by yourself - I want to see this one-man band survive in this high priced DC area without living in slum-like conditions. But, notwithstanding reality, someone's hut is someone else castle. ;))
I make $10-12,000 on this blog -- not nearly enough to live here in San Francisco without heavy subsidies from my partner.
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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