Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April 11-17 | Your News & Comments: Part 2

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

  2. Question: If or when Gannett goes bankrupt, do employees lose what they've contributed to 401k? Should we take the tax hit now and withdraw our 401k?

  3. Okay, folks. Time to get serious. A sick-out is a joke. It's just never going to work. Not enough people will do it. Those who do will be vulnerable. And most of all -- IT WOULD BE ONLY ONE DAY.

    Here's what we need to do, and we can all be nice and up front about it. It's all perfectly legal, and not in any way a fireable offense. In fact, if they fire you for this, you have grounds for a nice, fat lawsuit.

    This is the plan: Do your job.

    By that, I mean: ONLY do your job.

    It's time for all of us to look at the documents we signed when we joined USA Today and Gannett. What does the contract say? You are required to work 37.5 hours a week. Now, do you do that? Chances are you do a LOT more.

    So here's how we fight back against the greed-hogs Dubow, Martore, Hunke and the weak-willed toadies Hillkirk, Weiss, and Czarniak: we let things get real contractual, real fast.

    That means work hard, don't surf the net. Don't personal email. Do your job and exactly your job. Work long hours if necessary to make the deadline, and then, come Thursday, "My work week is finished."

    But ... but ... We need you to do this, or that! Stay late! Come in early!

    "Yeah, I know. I'll gladly do it -- FOR OVERTIME."

    OVERTIME, people! That word is like a crucifix to these vampires. Now, good luck to anyone trying to fire you for NOT WORKING UNPAID OVERTIME.

    So for those of us working double-duty after layoffs or attrition, for those of us whose sense of honor keeps us doing our best even as the alleged leaders of this outfit loot it like crooks, THIS is the way we strike back. We do our absolute best work -- but ONLY for 37.5 hours per week.

    Oh yeah, and make sure you take lunch AWAY from your desk. That half-hour is YOURS, baby.

  4. Oh yeah, and we organize here, via Gannettblog. A union will never fly. They'll kill it any way they can if they get wind of it.

    So forget the sick-out. As employees of Gannett, we hereby notify Craig Dubow that the FREE FUCKING RIDE IS OVER.

    No unpaid overtime. No unpaid overtime. No unpaid overtime.

  5. Too bad I am a salary employee.... I could work 80 hours a week. That's part of the reason we are so top heavy I bet

  6. Salaried employees should work 37.5 hours a week too. Don't let them fool you there.

  7. 12:23am's idea is excellent. That's the way to show these guys. Do your job and not one minute more. Work by the book. Do what you are paid to do and nothing more. When your day is done, get up and leave the building.

    Great idea. And how can they criticize you for working to the contract? Oh they will try, but keep a little record of your hours and show them. When Mr. Hunke can't get a product out, maybe he'll view this differently. Right now, he sees us survivors as suckers he can squeeze ever harder.

    And this applies beyond the newsroom too. Do your job and leave at the appointed hour.

  8. Could someone who works at the nashville design hub please let us know how things are going? are you making deadlines? Are you on schedule to add more papers? Are you behind? What problems have you encountered?

  9. OK, Mr. or Mrs. Salaried Employee. Does that mean Gannett OWNS you? Dubow and his funky fetus-hair beard can call you up any time of night and say, "Get to work!" and you'll do it?

    Find out what the limitations are enforces them.

    This is the Not One Minute campaign. Not one extra minute for these thieving incompetents.

    Tomorrow, David Carr's NYT piece is going to be old news. Our plight will again become just our plight. For one day, he kicked the looters in the crotch for us, but now it's OUR TURN.

    Our turn to take responsibility. Our turn to take action. Our turn to do a little crotch kicking.

    Not. One. Minute.

  10. Thanks to whoever posted this entry from the Marketing Doctor blog earlier. It deserves to be on the front. In case you missed it:


  11. Salaried employee here. In an area with double digit unemployment there are plenty of folks chomping at the bit for jobs so sadly when I am asked to jump I say " how high?" I have a family to provide for and can't risk rocking the boat by clock watching.

    I hate that GANNETT is ensuring a slow and painful death of our industry when it's within reach to become a innovative and progressive company.

    They need to find 5 college students and have them advise the big wigs about the future and the big wigs need to LISTEN. They are great at slapping words together in memos or speeches but communication (the core of what we do) also requires one to listen.

  12. 7:04 That is a dead link. Try this link instead:

  13. I really don't want to beat a dead horse, but how much did this marketing campaign cost, and wouldn't it have been better to invest this sort of money into something useful? I just don't see anything that Gannett gets out of it and as that marketing blogger points out, it has come at a time when our products are noticeably degraded. Big lie campaigns don't work.

  14. A couple of years ago the Ad Dept.throughout the company dramatically changed its dept.structure.
    As I recall, it seemed like it was being forced through by corporate. Perhaps in anticipation of job cuts. Is this structure still in place? Has it worked and increased business?

  15. Soooo... anybody willing to share yesterday's conference call?

  16. 8:15, I am newish to the ad side.. Can you explain what you mean?

  17. The Nashville design hub , dont know BUT I do know they got some nice big TV's put up and some nice new couches the other day..

  18. Layoffs,layoffs and more layoffs.
    The 18th approaches and right now financial
    wigs are going through the numbers and trying
    to find more revenue to make the quarter look good. It is not there,my site is down huge,
    and I'll bet corporate wide it is down as bad.
    Let the layoffs begin!Hell,at this site people
    are just waiting to get their unemployment checks so that they can get to plan B and be
    paid while they get on with their lives.
    That day can not come soon enough!
    From here,all are damn tired and stressed of the wondering and waiting and not knowing what their future holds.
    It is terrible that Gannett has that kind of power,to ruin people's lives even before they are laid off and unemployed.The solution is to be ready for that day and laugh out loud as you leave and just say thanks for the memories and start collecting the unemployment checks !

  19. As a poster asked yesterday,is there any word
    about the Des Moines hub?
    We never hear a word from the Iowa sites.
    Guess they are all wimps and afraid to post here, afraid they might be discovered and
    punished by the mighty D M Register!

  20. 8:37 am - at our site, we tried to set things up so that the ad reps, who were being paid to sell ads, weren't so bogged down with paperwork that there was no time to sell ads. In the rules-oriented environment of our piece of Gannett, there was a lot of emphasis placed on dotting "i"s and crossing "t"s. CYA.
    So, sales assistants and the ARS were born. Theoretically, the sales rep could return from a day of calls on flesh and blood customers, and turn in paperwork to be managed by their assistant. The ratio was two reps to one ARS.
    This was a fairly practical solution, once they gave up on the earlier model which gave laptops to all the sales reps so they could enter their own orders. [This had failed because the reps couldn't access the system after 7 pm (it took that long for Genesys to process overnight batches, starting with Circulation which had to go first).] I always wondered what happened to the laptops after that effort was abandoned....
    The ARS set up worked fine as long as no one took sick time, vacation time, personal time, or furlough time.
    If they are looking to cut sales admin positions, what model are they now gravitating to?

  21. NYT visits down as much as 15% a day since paywall debut. http://journ.us/g6oVcN

  22. I wonder also what has happened as the hubs are rolling out. Jim, maybe if you pull the original post out into its thread, we'll get a good discussion. How is the transition going? Have deadlines changed? Has local content not made it in? Has the system gone down?

  23. I would be more inclined to roll the Pension out of there if you have one. Your pension can be greatly reduced after company bankruptcy but your 401K should be ok.

  24. Apple Ready To Launch "Far Reaching" Video Service That Will Disrupt Traditional TV Business http://read.bi/fBVTwr

  25. Salaried Employee:

    Look at what you are saying. "I'm willing to work loads and loads of UNPAID overtime to take care of my family."

    Your intentions are honorable, but you are being played. How many hours are you giving up with your kids to slave away for a company that is run by thieves who are deliberately steering us into the ground.

    The fact is, if things stay the way they are, you are going to be out of a job anyway. Dubow gets tens of millions of dollars as a golden parachute -- I read as high as $98 million -- if he gets fired or the company gets sold. Where is his incentive to do a good job?

    WHere is yours? You think if you work hard, you'll get a gold star? Get a raise? You think someone in this company will say you should be promoted. No. They'll keep you right where you are: The chump who misses out on his kids' lives because he thinks working 60 to 70 hours per week is gonna get him somewhere.

    Wake up! I say this as a friend.

    Clock-watching is a form of protest. A LEGAL form. They can't fire you for fulfilling your contract to the full degree. Also, your direct manager (who may or may not be a good person) is probably afraid to lose ANYONE because you never know if corporate is going to OK a replacement.

    And the point of this is that they CANNOT FIRE YOU for doing exactly your job. The raise is never going to come. You are never going to please these people. They are abusers of loyalty.

    Think about your kids, yes. But think of it this way: When they say, "Mom, Dad ... when your company was abusing you, what did you do?"

    I'd rather say, "I pushed back."

    I would hope my kids would do the same someday.

  26. On the other hand, personally, my kids like to eat and be housed. Funny how my pride is drowned out by rumbling tummies.

    Do what is best for your situation. Don't listen to me or anyone else telling you 'this is what you HAVE to do.'

    I expressed my contempt for the board and leadership by voting my shares. But after that, I have to do what's best for me, and you should do the same.

  27. Our office does have an outside rep, ARS and assistant model. However it not the perfect ratio that it should be to effectively work.

    Reps do not use their outdated computers in the field. It would make them look like they were working in the 90's not 2011. Other operations are using tablets, iPads, netbooks and technology of today. We are digging our hole deeper and deeper.

  28. @9:05 a.m., but the NYT is developing a plan that actually produce MONEY. Get it? Rather than just give the hard work, infrastructure and content away for free in one place as opposed to buying it some place else...they're working to build a model where THEY ACTUALLY GET PAID FOR IT! Imagine that.

    The people who continue to believe giving away content for zero cost with no plan to make money off the content are endorsing that the content is worth nothing. (Of course, Gannett has almost reached that point in many of its community papers, but that's beside the point.)

    If we want to save journalism, WE HAVE TO START CHARGING for the content. Giving it all away is stupid, stupid, stupid.

  29. Digial specialists - thoughts?

  30. Oh please, Salaried Employee. "grumbling tummies." So dramatic.

    Please explain, how can Gannett fire you for precisely fulfilling your duties?

  31. 10:37 wrote: "And the point of this is that they CANNOT FIRE YOU for doing exactly your job."
    Yes, they can. My state is an employment-at-will state, as are almost all the states. That means an employer can fire an employee at will for almost any reason, provided it's not due to race, creed, disability, etc. (In addition to the federal laws, there are various state laws that have an impact as well.) Of course, you can't be fired for refusing to work unpaid overtime. But if they want to get rid of you, they'll come up with a perfectly legal reason -- they need to reduce head count, for instance -- and you're out the door.
    And what's all this talk about a contract? If you're not in a union shop, you have no contract.
    That said, I've never worked unpaid overtime. I draw a hard and fast line on that, and my bosses are well aware of it. I work, you pay me. It's as simple as that. When you call their bluff they back down every time.

  32. 2 options. Pay for content OR have ads delivered! Give options to the readers!

  33. I just don't understand it: How many kicks in the teeth and slaps in the face does it take to make it clear that Gannett doesn't give a rat's a... about their employees?

    The approach of working exactly 37.5 hours doesn't work, they wear you down and boy, they are good at bullying and I swear somewhere at the Crystal Palace they have trained their direct reports to do just that.

    The best and I mean the absolut best is to jump ship. No buts about it. Granted, after you leave they can hire somebody else and usually it's somebody that they can lure with minimum pay and where there are sure that person doesn't complain too much.

    But the vindication of leaving Gannett is that they have to retrain a person for your job and trust me rehiring is a very costly expense that no HR unit deals with easily.

    On another note, during your work you should apply for other jobs and once you land the job that at least doesn't furlough you, you can tell them to go to hell.

  34. USA Today story about corporate execs pay and perks. No mention of Gannett.

  35. I always wondered what happened to the laptops after that effort was abandoned....

    What? You didn't grab one?? '-)

  36. Jim, How about it: Why don't you feature this guy's analysis on the front? He is spot on and says what many of us on the "content" side believe strongly.


  37. Mr. Dubow, Ms Martore, Mr. Hunke, and board of directors: Do you agree with the below statement?

    "If Gannett management is serious about saving this brand then it needs to let everyone know that talented, dedicated people are what make a media brand – and it needs to join in the hard times. End of story.

    "A media brand is nothing without content that is in demand."

    - Marketing Doctor

  38. To be honest I have no idea why most of you haven't left the company yet. It's not like this business pays well to begin with. Most of you have college degrees and are getting paid worse than construction laborers and factory workers, if you can't replace that salary than you don't really know how to look for a job (hint: there's more to it than just mailing out resumes)

  39. 10:37's figure on Dubow's golden parachute is too high: He'd actually get "only" $45 million -- not $98 million.

  40. 11:43: So why don't you going to leave Gannett? You're obviously not happy or do you have mouths to feed too? Is it the insurance? Vacation time? Or you just can't get a job anywhere else? No one stays with this company on principle alone.

  41. LOL 12:06 pm. I wasn't in Sales.
    It's my guess that half the laptops never made it back to the office, but that's only a guess.
    I just wondered why other departments had to put up with outdated, creaky computers when there were all these new laptops around.
    Of course, the people who are left now have their pick of outdated computers because so many desks are now empty.

  42. Our paper put out a special section on the shuttles. I only read one part about the Challenger. It said it was the first night launch and landing....in 1993! Weird...I thought the Challenger exploded in 1986.

    Then, the USA Today put out a special edition on the Civil War. Just started thumbing through it when I saw TV, movie, etc. listings for related shows. It says today, the 12th, 2 shows on Gettysburg are supposed to be on the Military Channel. Couldn't find it on my TV listings. It's slated for the 22nd according to the MC's web site.

    Are there no real newspaper people left who insist on getting things right?

  43. 1:23 I'm still here for the same reason many of us are. I haven't yet found the right job or been hired elsewhere, but that day will come.

    I'm also not a quitter. I believe in USA Today. I believe in it more than David Hunke, John Hillkirk, or Susan Weiss. I have put years of my life into this paper, as have they, but I'm trying to make it better, in print, online, in the new app format. They're trying to bleed the journalism down the barest possible minimum. I want this product to be vibrant and attractive. They want it on life support so parasites can keep feeding on it and it doesn't stir or go anywhere. They want USA Today alive but anesthetized.

    These ghouls need to be resisted, and though we have all fought to make changes internally, that is impossible with a crew like this. They are wimps, who bow before Hunke, who sees USA Today as a way to force-feed ads to people. Content is just bait. That's why cheapo Demand Media gives him such joy. It's filler content to trick people into reading it so their eyes will glaze over the Toyota ad. "Can we wedge a reference to Nintendo Wii in this story? They're paying for it."

    No successful media company survives this way. We must be innovative, create content (once known as journalism) that grabs people by the collar, and do so with gusto and enthusiasm. A brutalized, irate workforce doesn't accomplish that. As the marketingdoctor.com blog said: "A media brand is nothing without content that is in demand."

    We improve USA Today by improving our work lives at the paper, by restoring passion and imagination and energy. We can't energize Hillkirk and Weiss, those glum, cowardly duds. But we can help oust them and our other worthless corporate overlords by refusing to work free overtime.

    They have been able to foist the added burden to us because journalists have integrity. We hustle, we work hard, we are problem solvers. I say the free ride is over.

    Time for them to see that WE are not cowards and chumps, though THEY may be.

    I'm still here because I'm a fucking journalist for USA Today. This is MY newspaper. It's YOUR newspaper. Let's take it back by refusing to let them exploit us any more.

  44. You know what just quit working there if you hate it so much. I used to work there and did quit! Move on with your life and just don't spend as much but live life on your terms not theirs. The ship is sinking and the smart people get off before the ship sucks you down with them. They will eventually go bankrupt or sell and screw you out of your pension. To those folks , that will say, "I never seen it coming!", yes you did the people running Gannett are thieves and you know it but you insist on still working there! Well keep on the ship the rescue ship is coming!!! Farewell my sea legged freinds!! Have a Gannett martini on me!

  45. Bravo 1:23!

  46. 2:29, you gave your life to a paper. That was your first mistake. This company doesn't care what you've given. Stop caring why it's taking. You're a journalist, and obviously talented, so shift to PR, marketing, advertising, or write a book or a blog. You'll make better money and even feel valued again. I wish you the best.

  47. I understand those on here who are uncomfortable with the "just quit if you don't like it" notion. As a roaming, single journalist in my 20s, I had the flexibility and ability to "just quit" if I wanted. I didn't have a mortgage, always secured month-to-month leases, didn't have a wife with her own career that I wanted to support, and, most importantly, didn't have children who relied on their parents for everything from medical insurance to food to clothes and shelter.

    Those days are gone now. I have a wife who has a career I want support and that would make it difficult for us to leave the city we are in now. I have a mortgage that I can't walk away from without losing years of financial savings that have evaporated in the housing market. I have children (and a dog) that rely on me for their livelihoods. Unlike those days when I was on my own and gladly would have quit any job I didn't like, life has a way of becoming more complicated when you have more to think about than yourself. With that said, 21 months ago, after watching so many colleagues lose their jobs, after watching them struggle to gain employment in a world that doesn't appreciate their skill set or finds them to old and to expensive to hire or too young and inexperienced to take a chance on, I decided it was time to leave Gannett.

    It took 15 months from that day of recognition to finally give my two weeks. During that time, I made a promise to myself that I was going to spend 60 minutes every day after work plotting my next move. I had to learn a new industry, gain certifications and take classes at the university. I had to use darn near every name in my rolodex to network into the industry I wanted to move toward. I had to pay for lunches with people I didn't particularly like but who were in a position to help me and I had to attend many weekend events. I had to take a pay cut (although that was only temporary as my compensation has improved greatly). The hardest part was having to leave my passion for journalism, for being a newspaperman, behind. It wasn't easy. I couldn't "just quit" as so many people on here like to advise others to do. Life and responsibility got in the way. But, I made a decision, for myself, that it was time to move on to something new, something different, something that offered more stability and more respect for my efforts and work.

    It took 15 months of planning, but I made it happen. So can each one of you out there who believe you're stuck in Gannett. You just have to want it bad enough and to be willing to make yourself a promise that every single day when you get off of work that you are going to spend 60 minutes getting yourself to your next move.

    I respect every poster on here who says they don't have the option to forget about their family and "just quit" their job with Gannett. But, that doesn't mean you don't have options. You do. Go find them. And, of course, good luck.

  48. I get my "news" from reuters or bbc. They are the only one's that invest in actual journalism. I doubt I'm alone.

  49. 2:22 Oops my Bravo for 1:23 was intended for 2:22

  50. To 2:29pm and 3:29 pm, thank you for such clear headed reason and logic. Great communicators, both of you. In 2:29pm your passion and commitment to journalism is palpable. I'm a sucker for principled people. And to 3:39pm, you provide a wellspring of hope for those afraid to fail their families or insecure about their capabilities. Your story is evidence that if you're smart and dedicated you can plan a NEW reality.

    Good luck to you both. You're a credit to an honorable profession and probably two very decent human beings.

  51. All you company suck asses like I didn't committ 30 years to the printing industry or the reporting industry and was given a frozen pension. You people that claim I got kids and mortgages are wusses that are clinging to the company breastes asking for more punishment, whether your a reporter a pressman or whom-ever! The sooner you get back to school and stop being someone elses ungrateful bitch the sooner you take control of your family's welfare before you end up in the food line because you took too many furloughs! Wake the hell up you dumb stupid fools! College is full of a bunch of rich dummies too! lol

  52. I cannot believe there are still so many posters here that are still employed by Gannett! It is astounding to me that after reading all the horror stories about layoff scenarios ,furloughs,
    long,overworked hours,paycuts,abusive managers,
    LAYOFFS,you all still hang on.
    Why ?
    This all started in early 2008,it is now 3 years
    since life was good at Gannettland.How much time do you need to GET the HELL OUT !!!
    Yes,I still read here,but it is a hell of lot different looking in from the outside.Gannett no longer rules my life,and after nearly 2 years of working my butt off,my income is much more than
    Gannett's blood money,and just as importantly
    my life is not dominated by Gannett imposed stress or the everyday worrying about the next round of layoffs.


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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