An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
For Part 3 of this comment thread, please go here.
Stock price is down ..Maybe investors are finally waking up and realizing that the Gannett ship is sinking.Since they have laid off most of the actualnewspaper experienced employees,people who actually knew the business , how can the theyrecover?I remember after the first round of layoffs in 08the bigs were talking about how they wantedto just stay strong so that when the ecomony recovered Gannett would be in a position to take full advantage and and grow even more powerfully.It is now 3 years later and there is not even a remote resemblance,not even skeletal remains of resemblance to the corp that it once was.Number one priority must be :FIND A NEW POSITION,with an organization that actually believes that employees are needed.
AOL lays off 900 after merger with HuffPo:http://money.cnn.com/2011/03/10/technology/aol_layoffs_armstrong/index.htmSure seems like Arianna (PuffyHo) is taking up where Big Al left off in killing the profession of journalism.Love to see her get caught in one of those video stings like the NPR guy did!
The local Gannett newspaper here did not have the new and supposedly national ,branding .I guess it's not really ALL properties.
Sailor: Captain, we've hit an iceberg!Captain: Increase our functionality across multiple platforms! Begin re-branding! Check my golden parachute clause!It's all within reach.
Westchester Axes Ad Design Employees today.
Odd that the Milwaukee and Madison newspapers have stories on death threats against Republican senators following last night's vote in Madison regarding collective bargaining for state employees but the Gannett papers don't.
2:08 Can we say leftees on the Gannett side ?I say if they don't report this,they must support this!
If Gannett doesn't report it, it didn't happen.
Give us a break in Wisco... our one Madison reporter for 11 properties is on furlough this week.
"Give us a break in Wisco... our one Madison reporter for 11 properties is on furlough this week."And this is the huge downside to continuing furloughs after the extensive layoffs. Furloughs were somewhat manageable two years ago because there were enough people to back up the jobs (never mind the personal hardship). Now, scheduling the furloughs has been a nightmare because of the need to coordinate with other employees to make sure the work got done. I guess our Madison reporter didn't have anyone to coordinate with. Too bad. It's only going to get worse, as long as the big G needs furloughs and layoffs to finance the company-raping bonuses the top executives are getting.
3:21 All within reach is designed to divert attention from the real story of what's going on inside Gannett.The branding campaign's multimillion-dollar message boils down to this: We're better because we say so. We're new and improved, because we say so. We're fresh! We're modern! because we say so.
It is just too darn bad that the informationposted on this site cannot make the mainstream media.Because we know that Gannett will not letout the real story of, not only the sinking of the ship,but the way it,s employees are being disposed of. That ,and the fact that bonuses for accomplishments are still being paid.The facts being outin the public would certainly be a disaster for them.What a freakin cover-up.
3:52: This is a good point. But, Jim, why don't higher bandwidth media reporting sites do more about what's been posted on this blog and the incredible employee rejection of CD and Crew? Why does Jim R at Poynter.org only post the most surface level stuff? Why isn't a media reporter doing more about the insane greed-run-amok and overall miserable state of leadership at Gannett?WHY isn't SOMEONE grabbing Big Al for a sitdown and get his take on what's going on? Like, would he hold anything back?
Who is Stoney LaDouche?
I agree with 12:49. I left Gannett in 2 months ago and I truly believe they are weeding out any of the long term employees. Best advise: Get out now!
@2:08, it's just a combination of ridiculously early deadlines and a reliance on AP at the Wisconsin papers (and an unfortunately timed furlough, as noted).
4:07 Gannett's laying off employees; mandating furloughs, and handing out bonuses to the top brass is not news. This has been going on for three years now. It would be news if this WASN'T happening.
1:47 pm: any more details about Westchester (NY) Ad Design employees?
who's is Robin List and why is she stomping around the crystal palace asking people what they're doing?
It's sad testimony that the biggest story in Wisconsin in decades (far bigger than the Packers winning a Super Bowl) and Gannett, with nearly a dozen profitable newspapers in the state, can't find the staff to give it proper coverage. Actually, it's more than sad, it's embarrassing. Publishers and editors ought to be ashamed. They've disrespected the communities they claim to serve.
4:35, here's a hint: she knows that there are plenty of corporate GCI people around doing nothing and getting paid plenty.
After a lifetime at a paper and 10 years at Gannett, I left on my own time as an editor with a Napolean complex was pushing me and others (all older) out the door. Since then, my infrequent checks show they've downsized their paper, have fewer web updates, gave up on hyper local, watchdog, Moments of Life and other ill-fated dictates and run what they basically have to. The people in the 10 Gannett Wisconsin markets are being cheated, and I hope it starts showing in web hits and subscriptions. The only hope for those papers - all money-makers - is that GCI sells some or all of them. People are interested if the price is right. The talent GCI has lost would make a good start to a staff.
Jim @3:39: For years I have seen outsiders, other businesses, advertisers, come into newspapers and be genuinely surprised at what they find. In a good way. Especially recently, suprised at the quality of the people, the good work going on, that the people there care about doing quality work and producing a quality product. They have been listening to disgruntled reporters trash the industry for the last few years and guess what? They believe it. Once they get in the door and look for themselves, they realize the picture may not be rosy, but it's not nearly as bad (from a business perspective) as the worst of the complainers make it out to be. At the same time, the company is tryting to create a business model that stretches across the entire company, not just the old model of every property for itself. So it appears that the company is trying to tell some folks about some business opportunities, tell a story about the various products in the company, and the vast reach of those properties. You can tell me it's ill advised, or that the executives aren't smart to do this or whatever. But the idea that this was done to "cover up the real story" is just goofy.
Anonymous said westchester site 4 let go Today in ad-design department more coming. at end of march.
for 5:36:The problem is Gannett execs haven't been able to pull any of that off. The dictate to run the USAT page is a joke--many local papers had better. Their idea of changing to meet the times is to try any idea that pops up--throw enough against the wall and some of it will stick. You're cutting metro positions but all papers have a Hub reporter to take photos at bars and write about entertainment? That goes the same way GCI's attempt to draw younger readers went. That generation isn't reading us, in print or on the web.In the meantime, you are losing a lot of older readers - and advertisers.
Does anyone have a head count on the number of CD's still employed at USA Today? USA Today was going to remove all of their CD's from their "Markets" as they have done at other Gannett properties. The CM's would then answer to the GM's eliminating the "middle man". Just wondering.
Surprised they had any ad designers left at the Journal News. Thought they were all let go last year. And furthermore, what's there to design when the paper has virtually no ads in it? The ones that were there must have been as lonely as the Maytag Repairman.
11:16/3:52 -- does posting the same stuff again and again ever get old?
5:36 It is much worse than I read on this blog. For example, I have yet to see a posting that really lays bare GCI's teetering financial position, which is hidden behind those revenue figures and stories about profits we all see. Actually, I find many posters on this blog are much too optimistic about their futures than reality warrants. Take off your rosy glasses and look around you. This company is in very sad shape and is realizing it can't make a future when it has lost its monopoly grip especially on classified advertising that were once rivers of gold for publishers. Now there are threats emerging that will take away display ads, like Groupon and the Internet coupon offers.
@maria marino formerly with content one: you will be missed.
@7:03Totally agree. Wilmington has lost six of it's OC members in four months. What does that tell you? And if it's still not clear. More than one has said "start looking".
We should always be looking for another job. No, it isn't easy to find one in this economy but honestly I can see things getting worse and worse. The more people we lose the worse it gets. The newer people to the company have no clue and they will be blind sided when they are tapped on the shoulder. Everyone — get your resume ready and start applying now, not next week, not next month — NOW!
You want to know a big reason why more media isn't reporting on the unflattering remarks on this blog? Because media understands audience and the audience for this kind of material is highly niched. Jim himself says that he caters to approximately 20,000 people who are interested in Gannett and Gannett news. That isn't even the circulation of one of Gannett's smaller community newspapers (there are some that are less, I know). There are some investors who are interested in Gannett from a business standpoint but they don't care if employees are unhappy about management's decisions. They care about their investment in the company making money. And because their investment in the company comes through a very liquid asset like stock shares, they have no interest in seeing the company have long-term success. Short-term profit is all that matters to them. They will be long gone by the time the current decisions to downsize the company and hurt content play out. Sorry folks, but the majority of people who consume news out there today, a vast majority, could care less about your plight, about Gannett or about layoffs. 10 percent of the country has been laid off recently. They are all upset about the way their company chose profit over them. This blog, and the comments on it, isn't news. Newspaper folks have an uncanny ability to believe that just because they think something is important than everyone else does too. But, in reality, the audience of people who are genuinely concerned about the failing newspaper industry is small. The portion of that small audience that cares about Gannett is even smaller. The portion of that even smaller audience that cares what anonymous posters on a blog (even a well-read blog by blog standards) have to say is infinitely smaller. It's a numbers game and, as much as I hate to say it, the vast majority of the numbers out there don't care if you're pissed off. I have nothing against you all, am not in the industry (I work in investment banking). And, I do have an interest in seeing Gannett succeed, as my wife works at a Gannett property. But, let's get real here folks. People in the real world, including other media, have bigger problems on their mind than what is said on this blog.With that said, I will be the first to admit that Jim has done some good reporting on Gannett that, from time to time, catches the eye of the investment world. But, as long as the stock price continues to go up, even those little nuggets are soon forgotten or passed over.
Anyone know how much Gannett is pouring into this Gridiron extravaganza in Washington this weekend. Although the organization is chaired this year by Susan Page, she's closed it to press coverage. It's Washington's most exclusive club, open only to the press, and they hold one closed-door affair each year which is a white tie affair to which bigwigs only are invited. I hear it is $3000 a ticket. Put a $3,000 item on your expense account and see how far it goes before you hear back.
If 8:42 is what he says he is, then why is he interested in reading this blog if his only concerns are investment?
Tim Armstrong at AOL is a greedy SOB. 900 ( many journalists) lose their jobs. Read this article from TechCrunch on the inside story. Aol To Journalists: You Be The Rock Star, We'll Be Mark Chapman http://tcrn.ch/iem7Fw
@8:52 And that's exactly my problem with the public ... people don't seem to care or notice what is happening to journalists (excuse me, content providers). Newspapers send more reporters into the community than any other media outlet. I really don't think unpaid or underpaid "citizen journalists" will replace the information newspapers once provided.
8:52: While much of what you say makes sense, don't you as an investment banker wish that every Fortune 500 company had a watchdog blog that you could look in on from time to time? With reporting, crowd sourcing, and yes, people venting, there's plenty of insight into the company and the decline of the newspaper business. Everyone has to decide what they think is true. But I am glad this blog exists and send Jim a few dollars when I can.
Gannett calls $100K taxpayer incentive a good investment: http://www.abc-7.com/Global/story.asp?S=14228599
Jim is not a defender of free speech just his own personal agenda as a loser journalist. I posted a comment this evening about the positives of Gannett branding and the fact that newsroom should do the same. I may have used the wording bitching and it was removed. I did not reference any names and for some reason it was removed. This blog is lame and I will never be back to contribute any more post. C-ya losers.
10:31pm, don't let the door hit you.
8:52 here. 9:09 - As I clearly stated in my post, my interest in this blog is that my wife works at a Gannett site. 9:35 - I agree. The public should be more concerned and agree it largely doesn't care. Citizen journalists can not provide the content and keep an eye on government (and business) that is crucial for our democracy in the way a trained journalist can. That doesn't change the reality facing journalism and journalists today. The public is largely unaware of the problem largely because they take the news they get from news gathers for granted. 9:47 - I too am glad Gannett Blog is around. I read it regularly. As an investor, I do value inside information (legal info of course) that I can get on companies I am invested or interested in. But, unfortunately and sadly, the "inside information" one gleams about Gannett from anonymous posters here is mostly worthless in terms of helping predict stock price movements. Now, if someone posted the company were, without a doubt, going to divest a major property like USA Today, and that were verifiable, that could be of investment value. Short of that kind of beta, there isn't much in the comments section that is valuable for investors.
Come on Jim, that 3:21 comment was a bit snarky don't you think? Look it, I agree this branding stuff is happening at THE worst possible time but it needed to be done and should have happened years ago. Maybe it will help Gannett attract some revenue, how could that be a negative? But I also agree that if somebody doesn't wake-up and realize the enormous harm that's been done to our ability to produce good content, then we're doomed, branding campaign and all. It's the content that attracts the eyeballs that attracts the ads. Yes, by all means get "it" on the web and on social media sites and mobile devices and any other of the latest tech delivery systems. But if "it" isn't compelling, well written, factual, enlightening, and any other number of adjectives used to describe great journalism, then kiss it all good bye. Gannett can save itself by rebuilding decimated newsrooms and turning a real news person loose on USCP and USA Today, a News Czar charged with building talent and elevating the quality of work. We need a John(Jane) Quinn, John(Jane) Seigenthaler no bs news sage to right this ship. Then maybe there's a chance for survival. A strong news advocate is what's missing from the gannett management committee and the lack of that voice will ultimately be Gannett's downfall. It doesn't have to happen...
10:52pm here again. Sorry Jim, I meant to reference your 3:39 comment.
Hey Jim, 10:53PM here, wondering what happened to my 10:52pm comment that was posted and then disappeared? It was a great comment in my humble opinion. Hope you allow it to repost.
10:31 and 10:58: It appears both your posts went into a spam folder. You should now see them posted above.
10:53 I believe we are 100% in agreement on what you say here: "I also agree that if somebody doesn't wake-up and realize the enormous harm that's been done to our ability to produce good content, then we're doomed, branding campaign and all."
It seems that Gannett's execs are ultimately aiming to get out of the news business while venturing more and more into marketing.No matter how much Dubow and Martore claim to be building upon "journalistic excellence," everyone knows that's a crock.The news and the quality of its delivery is not now, nor will be ever be, a Gannett priority.That said, anymore news about furloughs, layoffs and the termination of employment positions? Those are the items that will keep Gannett afloat for the next two to three years.
I agree USAT needs a news czar. The problem is we have 10 editors who think they are news czars and have no news sense whatsover. Their idea of managing is to hold meetings and second guess each other and lower level managers. Half of them never come out of their offices. How do you solve THAT problem? Deck shuffling and management job protection has already been tried. It doesn't work. The good people, already fed up and overworked, will leave as soon as they can.
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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