Sunday, April 17, 2011

April 11-17 | Your News & Comments: Part 5

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53 comments:

  1. For Part 4 of this comment thread, please go here.

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  2. "Dave Hunke, told The Associated Press that USA Today is planning on having higher circulation and revenue this year."

    Holy S***. The miracle of a lifetime. Increasing circulation. Wow, if he does this he will get a nobel prize.

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  3. 4:05 too late first quartet circ is up!!!!!! Where is My Boss? Didn't she hear thus in Digital?

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  4. folks - remember USAT circ dropped from #1 when they stopped a few of the hotel programs (in addition to a decline in biz travel), it's easy to grow circ - the question is "at what expense?"

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  5. USA Today didn't stop delivering to hotels. The hotels stopped the deliveries. That's because they found few customers wanted them:
    http://www.rbr.com/features/sales-marketing/14082.html

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  6. Usat circulation calculations are much like government budgets. All smoke and mirrors. Hunks is a master at spin, though. This years bonus is already a lock. Too bad regular worker bees will pay the price.

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  7. A lot of USAT hotel cir numbers, were based upon delivery to room. If someone was in that room, that is another story.

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  8. Did you know that Idol star Paul McDonald is dating Nikki Reed? Frankly, I didn't know that, so I guess this story in today's USAT Life section is news.
    How about doing something really newsworthy, and have Washington reporters do a piece on who is hooking with whom in Congress and Washington lobbying shops?

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  9. As a DSM for USAT I can say that the hotel R-to-R program is a joke when it comes to counting numbers properly. I've delivered RTR only to find out that almost 1/2 the papers are picked up by the cleaning people and most of the other 1/2 are just thrown in the room and seldom read. Most of the time the hotels would have 10-25 extra papers (I know this is an expectation for the number of guests) but those left over papers are still counted even though they just sit on the counter and then are thrown away or picked back up by the carrier the next morning. Most of the hotel papers do not have their hotel logo info on them anymore and the carriers can use the left overs to sell or use as returns and it is happening because no one is working with the hotels to stop it. The DSM's are suppose to do Audits but at best most of them are just taking a snap shot to make sure the paper is placed properly at the doors and delivered on time. Most hotel managers are to busy to care about keeping track of what they have left over. They are only concerned that they get enough or they'll get their ass chewed out by upper management at the hotel. These are big numbers for USAT and if it were tracked properly the big boys would be very surprised at what they find. It's like throwing sh-- against the wall and what ever sticks, sticks. Truth be known the "actual" numbers are nowhere what the big boys think they are. If a true audit were done and the actual numbers counted most managers would be surprised. When's the last time your GM, CD, CM or someone from Marketing got their asses out of bed and did a Hotel Audit? How many hotel guests do you think actully asked for the $1.00 to be removed from their hotel bill. I'd say few, very few. And yet many guests just don't read the product. We wonder why the hotels are stopping the product. Why pay for something no one is reading. So the RTR goes to bulk copies and the numbers keep dropping. I'd say get the GM, CD, CM and Marketing out there doing the hotel audits not the DSM's. It would probably stop the decline of RTR if these managers built a solid relationship with the hotel managers and staff.

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  10. Good post 10:13! It makes you wonder how much the RTR inflates USAT circ numbers and how decieving that may be to their advertisers.

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  11. 10:13 It is not only phony figures, but the hotels themselves are rebelling about the added cleaning costs. It may be just an excuse, but these hotel people are running their own businesses and saving nickles and dimes, and so don't see the need to contribute their labor to our operations. It is time (and therefore money) for cleaning staff to clean hallways daily that previously were cleaned only once or twice a week. Then there's the added volume to the garbage. If it is not contributing to their bottom line, they are saying there is no reason to continue it. I hear that other hotels are following Marriott's example and concluding this program is really too costly for them and not producing benefits.

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  12. 10:13 you must be kidding I don't even think my CM knows how to do an audit no less get up early! I'm not sure if my CM even knows where the drops are!

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  13. Interesting read...
    http://www.ojr.org/ojr/people/robert/201104/1963/

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  14. Why do people think Gannett is the only big bad company giving bonuses to execs while laying off workers. Look at Borders ... http://www.politicususa.com/en/borders-group-awards-executives-millions-for-putting-6000-out-of-work
    This is happening all across corporate america

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  15. 2:24 so I guess that makes it right!

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  16. And we all know what happened to Borders!

    Also, did they layoff employees, not give them raises and make them take furloughs while they collected millions in bonuses?

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  17. I used to love Borders and they carried wonderful lines of books. But in the last two years, it has been a noticeable decline. Books on best-seller lists aren't on the shelves, the staff is surly and unhelpful, the cashiers incredibly slow, and the product offerings have been realigned according to what some consultant believes will sell best. The car lot, which used to be filled to capacity on weekends, is now half empty.

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  18. I don't think any of the upper management furloughs have been announced to anyone — except to the employees who have to take them. Being kept very quiet at our site. Guess they don't want the other employees to know how much they make. Would imagine it is also being kept secret for Dubow and Martore too.


    Jim said...

    Apparently, Dubow and Martore aren't furloughing themselves; that would have been made public by now.

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  19. Dubow and Martore have always taken the "equivalent of a furlough", reducing their salary. That's how I understood it.

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  20. There would be no point in Dubow and Martore making a show of sharing the collective financial sacrifice if they didn't announce it. Now, maybe only those being furloughed this quarter were told. But I doubt that.

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  21. For the folks pointing out the papers in hotels that go unread ... how exactly is that any different from papers that sit in a machine or inside a convenience store all day and are never read?

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  22. Jim: Why does it take 2 or 3 tries to post a comment here? The first time or 2 the recaptcha box typically doesn't reload.

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  23. I am not in circulation so really don't know the details, but delivery to a hotel door room counts as a reader, just as delivery to a front door step. But unsold newspapers are taken from the stands or machines and not counted as being delivered.

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  24. 4:57 PM – Rack and convenience store copies more closely match actual reader’s demand. Hence, returns are kept at a minimum. Hotel copy consumption for those who still deliver one to every room with an add-on charge does not reflect real reader demand. That’s best measured by keeping copies at the front desk or in racks there too.

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  25. If readers saw Gannett's new branding campaign, they'd snap up the papers in the hotels. Can they pipe these into the hotel cable channel?

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  26. Just wait until the public learns that G A N N E T T means coupons. They'll be clamoring and reaching for more, and Cragie and Gracie will finally be recognized for the media geniuses that they are.

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  27. 4:58pm, are you using Internet Explorer? I had same problem; went away when I switched to a better browser.

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  28. 2:24 Posting makes me grateful that Jim's blog exists. I'm sending him $10 on Monday. Other imploding companies that are treating their employees like trash don't have watchdogs.

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  29. I've decided I'm calling in sick May 2 -3 if I am the only one. The policy at our site, and I think at most other Gannett sites from what I've seen, is that doctor's notes aren't required unless you are out 3 or more days.

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  30. 4:58 p.m. said Jim: Why does it take 2 or 3 tries to post a comment here? The first time or 2 the recaptcha box typically doesn't reload.

    I also have this question Jim. In fact, several times in the last year, I've lost long posts in the process of getting it posted and decided that it wasn't worth the time or effort to rewrite it. I'm using Safari on a Mac. The authorization word generally comes back as a red dot when I try to post. I keep refreshing the browser and eventually I will (usually) get the authorization word. But sometimes, like I said, I lose the post.

    Here we go ... red dot again.

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

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  32. G A N N E T T executives certainly have a knack for spending a lot of money for minimal returns. This Deal Chicken (who came up with that name? Is it a play on the insurance co. duck?) might bring in some bucks, but it's soooooo late to the show.

    I like Groupon and I can't imagine advertisers jumping ship or splitting their budgets between Groupon and something called "Deal Chicken."

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  33. Late to market on local social commerce sits solely on the senior execs. We had the opp to be a leader. Only now that early movers have huge valuations do they see the light. Ask Resnic.

    No vision, only cost cutting. We won't be able to muscle out early movers in the digital space like they did in traditional media. A story that will be repeated as long as this leadership is in place.

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  34. GANNETT needs to understand that in the digital age you must be quick!!! They to execs slow things down and that slow down will result in thr death of the company

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  35. Need more proof that we're no longer a media company? Reread the first sentence of the rebranded mission statement ...

    "To enrich lives by informing and inspiring consumers, by providing the ease and accessibility to connect them with their communities of interest, and by being a catalyst for the conversations that are making a difference every day."

    Anyone with half a brain should have flagged that and rewritten it to say: "To enrich lives by informing and inspiring citizens ..."

    But to Gannett, we aren't living, breathing, thinking citizens. We're consumers whose only purpose on earth is to buy more stuff.

    So very insulting.

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  36. Well this is certainly embarrassing. The Arizona Republic apparently got its publisher's title wrong in the Fiesta Fiasco stories it's been reporting for the last month or so.

    A correction in Sunday's paper: "John Zidich's title on the Fiesta Bowl's five member executive committee was incorrect. Zidich, CEO and publisher of the Arizona Republic, was secretary from January 2010 until he resigned last week."

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  37. Is there any speculation on tommorrow's
    quarterly finacial reports?
    Will it be smoke and mirrors and mixed
    with lots and lots of spin in order to justify
    more layoffs and be rewarded with bonuses for doing such a great job at cost cutting ?
    If the revenues are in fact down by 7 or 8
    percent that will certainly mean that there
    will be huge numbers of good employees being laid off.That is always the solution !

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  38. 11:28 I am less worried about the reaction to last quarter than what is happening now. I don't give a fig for the national surveys, but we are not recovering. Do you not see the increasing prices in the supermarkets or at gas pumps? Are the newspapers filled with ads once again? Are you hearing about job vacancies?

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  39. 10:53 Get with the program: We are all now Madison Avenue's whores.

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  40. 11:03 a.m., thanks for sharing! What a stunningly embarrassing mistake.

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  41. 11:55
    Certainly the economy as a whole is in terrible condition.The worst condition that most of us
    have ever know.There is certainly no recovery
    happening as this administration would like the country to believe.
    I was merely commenting on what that all means
    pertaining specifically to Gannett and it's thousands of workers.Most likely Gannett is in as much of a non recovery mode as a corporation
    as the country is in general.And to the leaders of Gannett,that DOES NOT MEAN SPEND MORE,it means cut backs in expenses,and in a big way.

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  42. 8:27 and others. I'm sorry you've been having these problems. Unfortunately, I can't offer an explanation, because I almost never lose comments before they post. (I use Safari almost exclusively.)

    My only suggestion, and it's kind of lame, is to write your comment in, say, a Word document so you have a copy as a back-up if you lose it while posting.

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  43. Re: 8:27 and others having problems posting.

    I use Safari exclusively and never have problems posting from a computer. (I occasionally have the problem you describe posting from my iPhone.)

    If there is a problem it's not with Jim's site, it's more likely with Blogger. Is it possible that you're clicking the Post Comment too frequently and before the page finished loading completely?

    I have to click on Post Comment twice. Once to get to the word jumble verification page and a second time after I've typed in the verification word. If I click on Post Comment while the page is loading I lose my comment. If I wait for the page to load completely it works fine.

    Just a thought.

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  44. Re: 11:55 I think most people would agree that Gannett needs to make cuts to stay viable. But cuts should be across the board (pun intended).

    Martore, Dobow and the rest of the gang should not be getting bonuses, pay hikes and sweet heart insurance deals if workers salaries and benefits are being cut either through furloughs or straight out pay cuts. If the suits in the Crystal Palace endured the same cuts and job uncertainties the worker bees are enduring morale might be a little better.

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  45. paidContent puts all the Gannett jobs up on their job board...as does CareerBuilder. I think you would be surprised how many jobs at Gannett are open.

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  46. 1:28. No one@ Gannett cares about your morale. Executives are in the club of stuffing their pockets. You are not a member. So you do not matter.

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  47. 5:02. Speaking of morale...a few coworkers and I made a list of reasons we return to work day after day. Based on that list, I revamped this little mantra taken from AA to fit the situation of many employees of Gannett newspaper sites. (Google "Just for Today" for the original.) I'll be reading it again first thing Monday.

    Just for Today at Work

    Just for today at work, I will try to work through this day only, and not tackle all my problems at once. I can do something for eight hours that would appall me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime, such as compiling useless statistics and cleaning up after other people’s errors while my only enjoyable tasks continue to be slowly shifted to a consolidated office in another city.

    Just for today at work, I will be happy. Abraham Lincoln said, "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be." I will achieve this by surfing the internet at my leisure, catching up on facebook, emailing friends and family during work hours and applying for more rewarding jobs online.

    Just for today at work, I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read books online during work hours containing something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

    Just for today at work, I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my "luck" as it comes, and fit myself to it. With this in mind, I will take advantage of the perks at work such as printing and scanning personal items, charging my cell phone and getting paid to poop.

    Just for today at work, I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn by recommending that they not subscribe to or advertise in our paper, and not get found out. I will do at least two things I don't want to—just for exercise—the two jobs that have not yet been consolidated. I will not show anyone that my feelings are hurt; they may be hurt, but today I will not show it by consuming prescribed anti-depressants.

    Just for today at work, I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly in case I have a job interview elsewhere, talk low, act courteously, criticize not one bit, not find fault with anything and not try to improve or regulate anybody except myself. This is mostly because any changes I try to make resulting in improvement will be resisted by management and ignored by corporate.

    Just for today at work, I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision. This program will include making time to mail personal items through our mail pick up system, dispose of recyclables and trash from home in work bins, balance my check book and clean out my purse/wallet.

    Just for today at work, I will have a quiet half hour all by myself, and relax. During this half hour, sometime, I will try to get a better perspective of my life and what an utter sham my career has become. This half hour may be extended to a full eight hour work day.

    Just for today at work, I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful, and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me…unless I work at Gannett, then I will believe that I will be shit on the same amount whether I give to the world or not.

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  48. @10:53 AM – It seems as if you’re being overly sensitive as it more clearly leans toward consumers of news and information…you know, Gannett's customers.

    Citizen comes with its own baggage (think immigration for one) and is too reminiscent of the old days where newspapers set the agenda regardless of what their customers wanted. Enter more sources for news and information (and other ways to reach those audiences) and those customers who wanted more went elsewhere…exactly what happens when a business loses focus of who their customers are and what they want.

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  49. 6:51 Giving readers what they want to read is the reason we are in the trouble we are in. If you look at the history of news operations, the dictatorial role of editors is what stands out. The New Yorker magazine would not have the currency it has today without Shawn, and the Washington Post might still be struggling out of its bankruptcy without Bradlee. Chicago's Colonel, citizen Hearst, and the L.A. Times Chandlers, Pulitzer, Scripps, and yes Gannett were all dictators who conducted their business without the help of consultants and committees. I think we need more of the bad old days if we want to survive.

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  50. If you don't like the executive raises, then vote your Gannett shares - assuming you have them. At least that would carry a message.

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  51. I disagree, 1:28. Gannett is still making boatloads of money. Granted, they want you to think it's the end of the world because business is so bad, but Gannett was saying that decades ago when business was booming. They've always been looking for anyplace to cut to send more to Mama (corporate).

    Now, business isn't booming and it's time to to readjust profit margins, which the brilliant short-sighted minds of the crystal palace have chosen not to do, preferring filling their own pockets with wads of cash instead. After all, it was tough cutting all those folks.

    No, they don't have to make cuts to stay viable. They have to have good, relevant content to stay viable. And that is where the model of cut, cut, cut is killing the company.

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  52. 4:58 PM -- I too have the same problem. I keep clicking "Preview" until the captcha displays. This started about 3 months ago. I use Chrome and IE, same results.

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  53. Didn't see this mentioned already, but if you needed any clue that Demand Media was associated with Gannett, here it is:

    "Definitely not a bad year to be a top Demand Media (NYSE: DMD) executive. The company, which expects to lose money this year, just doled out $950,000-plus in bonuses to its top five executives."

    http://paidcontent.org/article/419-demand-media-hands-out-big-bonuses-to-top-executives/

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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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