Wednesday, April 06, 2011

April 4-10 | Your News & Comments: Part 3

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51 comments:

  1. For Part 2 of this comment thread, please go here.

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  2. Anyone hear what the March ABC circulation survey showed? I'm betting on dramatic circulation declines in spite of ABC concessions allowing publishers to massage the figures.

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  3. OK, so obviously someone here in mid-40s is delighting in offending many others because he/she has enough to retire on after getting canned. Let's all give this poster a demonstration of acknowledgement. (Slow clap, everyone)

    That said, if the paradise of early retirement means spending so much time making others feel badly about their own paths, then I'll opt to keep working.

    BTW: I'm in my mid-40s too and have saved/invested a nice bundle. I too was laid off from GCI after many years. But I haven't stopped working since that day and don't plan to anytime soon. And I don't judge people who didn't plan for these circumstances either ... Everyone has different challenges in life. Not everyone who didn't save/invest for the inevitable day of departure is a hopeless spendthrift who lived beyond their means.

    That said, let this phase of our careers/lives be a wake-up call, folks, reminding us that there is no loyalty whatsoever from above and we're in it for ourselves. When you land that post-GCI job, work for yourself. Always have a Plan B at the ready.

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  4. 9:43 -- Good points. It's also worth noting that this is an online forum and that the person who keeps talking about never working again may very well be making the whole thing up. Truth is, we don't know who any poster is, where they live, etc., etc.

    In my experience, most people who are financially well off don't spend a lot of time talking about how well off they are and chiding others because they aren't in similar situations. On the contrary, like bullies on a playground, it's often people who are unsure of themselves who spend their days trying to belittle others.

    If that poster indeed saved enough to retire by 40, he/she deserves a congratulations for all the hard work and discipline. Now, he/she needs to learn other important life lesson that were apparently skipped while attending all those finance classes: humility and empathy for others.

    He/she also needs to think about the fact that unless he/she is a multimillionaire, the money (if it really exists) might not go as far as he/she thinks. I believe somebody pointed out that catastrophic illness could wipe someone out and he/she dismissed that thought with something like, "That's what health insurance is for." Well, under our healthcare system, which is slanted in favor of health insurance companies, even people with a lot of money can be wiped out by medical concerns. Health insurance is expensive. If I were to quit work today, it would cost me more than $1,000 a month to keep my family insured. That's more than $12,000 a year ... assuming nobody gets particularly sick. Add in a long-term illness and the medications, deductibles, etc., that it might require and the sum would become overwhelming, particularly for people who made $50,000 a year or less during their working career.

    It takes an extreme level of arrogance and a general lack of financial understanding not to get this. Thus I question whether this person actually has the money he/she says. He/she is beginning to sound like a corporate apologist.

    "It's fine that we pay our people squat because they're too stupid to have money anyway. If they weren't they'd be living off of half what we give them because, hey, I do it."

    Yes, with millions in the bank and no housing costs, you could continue to pay for insurance, medications, living expenses, etc. But if you're retired with, say, only a million in the bank, there's a very good chance you would run out of money in 15 years or less.

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  5. Gannett's "youthinasia" policies clearly targeted old, expensive employees. A few 40s and 50s were thrown in to keep the Department of Labor away.
    Those in their early 60s have little to no chance of getting a job equal to the one they lost with GCI. Few can afford to spend $2,000+ a month for healtcare after COBRA expires. Many do not have enough money saved to retire early.
    Old-expensives (OEs) are the real victims of Gannett's failed policies. If GCI were an ethical employer that truly valued its workers, it would have set aside money to help over-60-year-old discards make the transition into retirement.
    Instead, it spent that money and more on bonuses and other perks for a few executives. Oh yes, and the everything in reach image-builder.
    Gannett's heartless, dispassionate mistreatment of hundreds of OEs marks it as a company not worth saving. GCI chose to leave hundreds of old, vulnerable, wounded soldiers on the battlefield to fend for themselves.
    So it is that once mighty Gannett now faces an incessant barrage of ridicule from current and former employees.

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  6. Yep, 10:51. Let's give the poster a benefit of a doubt that he/she has saved a bundle and does not have to work. What really defines 'enough'? That's a very slippery slope, depending upon your family needs/lifestyle/property holdings and local cost of living. In a rural part of Arizona, for ex, half a million may (or may not be) enough. In California, NY, DC, etc., it certainly is not. (At least not in your mid-40s.)

    Best advice then is to keep working if the work doesn't make you miserable. Working not only helps build the savings (if you're fortunate enough to have work that allows savings), but it gets you out and about socially/professionally and keeps your brain active, which is good for your long-term health. You'll have plenty of time to sit around, play golf, fish and watch whoever becomes the next Oprah later on in life.

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  7. I would translate the lack of an anouncement in Westchester-that maybe perhaps "Teflon Tony" isn't such a slam dunk . Or Maybe, just maybe corporate has come to the realization that since teflon appeared on the scene-the Journal News has been in a tragic downward spiral--and things still don't look very promising.As a matter of fact they look quite dismal.
    They have laid-off just about anyone who has a pulse, and the office building resembles a morgue.

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  8. Is there a speadsheet with properties and who is in charge? Publisher, GM, EE. Might be helpful to see this and then do some predictions.

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  9. If I were to quit work today, it would cost me more than $1,000 a month to keep my family insured. That's more than $12,000 a year ... assuming nobody gets particularly sick. Add in a long-term illness and the medications, deductibles, etc., that it might require and the sum would become overwhelming, particularly for people who made $50,000 a year or less during their working career.

    $12,000 a year for a WHOLE FAMILY that isn't bad cheaper than college and if with the annual out of pocket maximum (after which everything past that point is covered 100% even with a catastrophic illness) say it is $10,000 for the family, well that is only $22,000 a year and everyone could be cancer ridden, I see that as a bargain. I think people are to use to the old ways when health insurance was basically free.

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  10. ... Everyone has different challenges in life. Not everyone who didn't save/invest for the inevitable day of departure is a hopeless spendthrift who lived beyond their means.

    ....I would call them hopelessly and financially incompetent that would cover all aspects of how they don't have any money.

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  11. In a rural part of Arizona, for ex, half a million may (or may not be) enough. In California, NY, DC, etc., it certainly is not. (At least not in your mid-40s.)

    If you live in central California (i.e Fresno and outside the city of NY) it isn't much different than living in Iowa or Indiana. I love how people make assumptions on things they know nothing about or have never been to certain areas to actually speak with any knowledge of the area.

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  12. But if you're retired with, say, only a million in the bank, there's a very good chance you would run out of money in 15 years or less.

    Only if you are a COMPLETE IDIOT. If you don't think you can get a 10% return on 1 million dollars (that's $100K a year for you math challenged posters) then that is another reason that you don't have any money, take a look in the mirror and ask yourself why you are so stupid.

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  13. 1:10. 10% a year would be a very, very good return. A conservative investor would more likely shoot for 7%.

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  14. Jim said...
    1:10. 10% a year would be a very, very good return. A conservative investor would more likely shoot for 7%.
    4/06/2011 1:12 PM

    Valid point Jim, so conservative investor makes $70K a year doing nothing and in some years makes $100K or more. Still plenty of money to NEVER run out or even touch the principal.

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  15. Wow, Jim, 10 percent is exceptional in these low interest days. Maybe when you stepped away from GCI and interest rates were higher, but very hard to achieve these days.

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  16. 1:17 Also, though, that same conservative investor wouldn't spend more than 4%, allowing the rest to be reinvested to cover inflation. That brings us down to $40,000 a year in gross spendable income.

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  17. Wow, Jim, 10 percent is exceptional in these low interest days. Maybe when you stepped away from GCI and interest rates were higher, but very hard to achieve these days.
    4/06/2011 1:21 PM

    You seem to be one of those people that don't have money or understand how money is made. We weren't talking about interest rates!! We were talking about returns on money!!! You do that by investing in the stock market, bonds, mutual funds, etc. NOT by putting it in a bank where banks pay interest!!! Wake up and pay attention in class.

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  18. In order to be comfortable for the rest of my life, I estimate I need about $2 million. I look at this the way I looked at a recipe for rabbit stew I once read:
    "First, get yourself a rabbit," it said.

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

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  20. There is no way for an individual investor to get sustainable 10% returns after inflation. Not with equities, not with bonds, and certainly not with cash equivalents. End of story.

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  21. There is no way for an individual investor to get sustainable 10% returns after inflation. Not with equities, not with bonds, and certainly not with cash equivalents. End of story.
    4/06/2011 2:22 PM

    Your wrong, I'm at 12% this year and 18% last year and my 10 year average is 10.56%. All managing my own money myself.

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  22. Your wrong, I'm at 12% this year and 18% last year and my 10 year average is 10.56%. All managing my own money myself.
    4/06/2011 2:26 PM

    Then you should start a hedge fund and billionaires will line up to hand you money, because nobody has done that well over the last 10 years unless they've been shorting real estate.

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  23. 1:30 No I understand returns on money quite well.
    It is normally very difficult to earn more than 4-5 percent over the prevailing interest rate. Since the prevailing interest rate on U.S. Treasuries is a little over 1 percent, earning more than 6 percent on stocks or other investments would be an unusually high return.
    If interest rates returned to the 4 percent level they were four or five years ago, then anything over 10 percent would be difficult.
    It is not easy to make these returns, and most do it through the stock markets or currency exchanges.
    This formula doesn't work well if interest rates return to levels over 10 percent, as they did in the Carter administration. I would probably withdraw completely from the stock market if that happened because the Federal Reserve would intervene strongly to stop inflation.

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  24. 1:30 No I understand returns on money quite well.
    It is normally very difficult to earn more than 4-5 percent over the prevailing interest rate. Since the prevailing interest rate on U.S. Treasuries is a little over 1 percent, earning more than 6 percent on stocks or other investments would be an unusually high return.
    If interest rates returned to the 4 percent level they were four or five years ago, then anything over 10 percent would be difficult.
    It is not easy to make these returns, and most do it through the stock markets or currency exchanges.
    This formula doesn't work well if interest rates return to levels over 10 percent, as they did in the Carter administration. I would probably withdraw completely from the stock market if that happened because the Federal Reserve would intervene strongly to stop inflation.
    4/06/2011 2:39 PM

    You really need to do your homework and see how the financial markets operate.

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  25. 2:33 Bernie Madoff did that well. Remember? He told his investors he was getting consistent 10 percent returns.

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  26. Then you should start a hedge fund and billionaires will line up to hand you money, because nobody has done that well over the last 10 years unless they've been shorting real estate.
    4/06/2011 2:33 PM

    How clueless are you.... you act like earning 10% is some impossiblity.... lots and lots of people earn returns like that are you kidding me, average everyday investors.... Now if you are talking 20-25% then that is crazy.. It's almost impossible to believe that so many people just don't understand how to make money.

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  27. 2:33 Bernie Madoff did that well. Remember? He told his investors he was getting consistent 10 percent returns.
    4/06/2011 2:43 PM

    I do remember, Madoff's 18-year average was 10.61 percent. So I was wrong in saying that nobody can offer 10% annual returns longterm :-)

    Maybe this guy is a Madoff 'client' who doesn't watch the news much?

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  28. 10:51 and 10:38 make excellent points about Gannett's abuse of older workers and then corporate misdirectors step in and start chatting about how much 1 to 2 million pay in interest. Very clever, though transparent as hell.

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  29. yup. that's how the misdirectors turn serious conversations into jokes.

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  30. 10:51 and 10:38 make excellent points about Gannett's abuse of older workers and then corporate misdirectors step in and start chatting about how much 1 to 2 million pay in interest. Very clever, though transparent as hell.
    4/06/2011 3:20 PM

    I'm not a corporate misdirector (whatever that is). I'm just a guy that got laid off almost 2 years ago and just chatting about stuff. I think Gannett is a crappy organization, but I doubt seriously that they intentionally have employees on here posting things to disrupt a blog??!! This is just a blog mostly for pure entertainment sprinkled with some facts now and again.

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  31. Heads are rolling in Montgomery, layoffs anywhere else?

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  32. 4:19 When? How many? In which departments?

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  33. Corporate has just announced more top employee awards. Broadcasting, Phoenix, and USA Today totally dominated. I'll post more soon.

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  34. Three so far from Montgomery. Newsroom graphic artist, one ad trafficker, and an artist from the Bulletin Board publication!

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  35. 5:19 Via an e-mail an hour ago, I was given the same information: "Two in ad services, one in the newsroom. And there may be more. Meeting in 20 minutes."

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  36. Easier to conceal 5-10 RIFs at each site since the numbers are much lower than they used to be. Not too mention that there is probably a master list being used that carries over from the 2009 bloodletting. So, less meetings and more guillotining.

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  37. Easier to conceal 5-10 RIFs at each site since the numbers are much lower than they used to be. Not too mention that there is probably a master list being used that carries over from the 2009 bloodletting. So, less meetings and more guillotining.
    4/06/2011 5:41 PM

    Why does everybody get so upset about Gannett laying off people. I hate the company and was laid off too, but I don't hate them for laying me off or anyone else. Gannett is way to small of a company to be employing the amount of people that it employs. Laying people off is the ONLY thing the company is doing right. They have horrible products, no technology or base, lack complete innovation and the executive leadership is amongst the worst in the Fortune 500. But for god's sake at least they are cutting people. I'm not being sarcastic for those of you who think I might be.

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  38. Your wrong, I'm at 12% this year and 18% last year and my 10 year average is 10.56%. All managing my own money myself.
    4/06/2011 2:26 PM

    Then you should start a hedge fund and billionaires will line up to hand you money, because nobody has done that well over the last 10 years unless they've been shorting real estate.
    4/06/2011 2:33 PM

    DING-DING-DING-DING

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  39. I get upset when they lay people off after they create a 6 figure position. We are stretched so thin it takes twice as long to get my job done.

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  40. 6:28 I may regret this, but in the possibility that you are new to this board, might I suggest you read a few back pages. Go back to March 24-25-26-27 and read about how the execs of this country doubled their salaries and benefits in the last year. This came after they steered unprecedented rounds of layoffs and furloughs of this company, plus other cost-savings which are continuing.
    I think most of us agree with your assessment of this company. Yes. "They have horrible products, no technology or base, lack complete innovation and the executive leadership is amongst the worst in the Fortune 500," you say.
    This generates anger among some of us because there is no sign of any sharing of the misery in the executive ranks, and not a glimmer of any change that would mitigate their impact on the future of the places where we work. There is probably white hot anger that the Crystal Palace has known for years about the threat of the Internet on advertising monopolies like ours, yet did nothing to protect the company they head from its full impact which we are now feeling. Other newspaper companies reacted. Gannett did not _ until very recently when the impact of Google, Facebook, Twitter et al began to be felt.
    That is why the anger. It is not about the necessity of layoffs, but the failure of management to take prudent actions that would likely have made them less pervasive. It is anger out of frustration at our leaders, who have embarked on a disgraceful and greedy effort to grab as much as they can before the company collapses around them.

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  41. @6:28: Some of us are upset at what we consider inequity, yes, and some of us are just anxious for information so we can try to predict who's next.

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  42. Re: 6:28PM

    I can't speak for others, but for me it's not that Gannett is laying people off, it's the weaselly way they're doing it.

    They could ask for volunteers and offer a decent incentive (buyouts) and do voluntary RIFs. At least people who are miserable would have an option. But they choose not to so they can squeeze an extra penny out and give top executives a little extra bonus.

    They could do traditional layoffs with decent severance packages, like other media companies have done. But they choose not to so they can squeeze an extra penny out and give top executives a little extra bonus.

    Instead they nickel and dime properties with 5 layoffs here, 10 there and a severance package that is not really a severance at all.

    Because "transitional pay" is tied to unemployment you lose your severance if you don't qualify for unemployment.

    Want to use your severance to go back to school? Sorry you can't.

    Want to move to another state to look for a job? Sorry you can't.

    Want to use your severance as a cushion while you start freelancing (for newsroom employees)? Sorry you can't.

    Because, depending on what you state you live in, any of these will disqualify you for unemployment.

    People who have given 20 or more years of their working lives at this company are being penalized for their loyalty. It's no comfort at all that Karma's a bitch and Dobow, Martore and others who wrack up negative Karma points by the millions will be reincarnated as salamanders and centipedes.

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  43. 6:28 be glad they are cutting people...instead of what?

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  44. Montgomery lost a long-time graphic artist and a long-time photographer today. Neither man was escorted or comforted by the executive editor, who conveniently disappeared when things got real.

    That's a pathetic way to treat two loyal guys who gave a lot to this company. Shameful.

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  45. Corporate drove this ship on the rocks and now they are commandeering the lifeboats to save their own skins, leaving everyone else to fend for themselves.

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  46. Talking about huge returns on millions in savings kind of disrespects the majority of Gannett casulties, few of whom left their jobs with a mill or two in the bank.
    That kind of chatter gives readers the false impression that GCI did a favor for its old, expensive workers by cutting them off during an economic depression.
    For most over-60-year-olds whackees, their premature departure caused extreme financial distress.
    That tragedy is the story here, folks, not how much a precious few people are earning from their millions.

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  47. I, too, am angry about the way the top executives are looting the company.

    But I am most upset over how beancounters have taken over and gutted news operations, thus robbing communities of a crucial element of a successful democracy.

    In our mid-size, mid-America town, the powerbrokers and stringpullers are operating without fear, no longer even bothering to hide out in back rooms, because they know the newspaper isn't watching out for the public interest and-or doesn't have the gumption to report facts that will upset the chamber of commerce and major advertisers.

    That's the truly shameful aspect of what Gannett and others have done to our communities and ultimately to our country.

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  48. 10:20, it must be a Gannett thing. Execs in Reno, Nev., did the same shameful thing -- disappearing -- when they got rid of the longtime on-site designers. Nothing. Not a word. Not even a card. Years of work and dedication, long hours, working weekends, working holidays -- all at the drop of a dime for the sake of the product. Some staff had been doing this for a decade, some for two or even more, believing that it mattered. Intimate relationships developed with clients and which drove advertising revenue, all shucked without even one word. Just incredibly arrogant and unprofessional. But I guess that's been the model for success with this latest group of puffed-up sycophants.

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  49. 4:37 or Craig which ever joy prefer. If you remember one executive purposely came in off their vacation to say goodbye to you. So get the record straight.

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

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  51. I am a 10 year,former Gannett employee.
    There are many here who are trying to make it
    seem as though Gannett should really care about how they treat employees. They do NOT. Period !
    Why keep believing that Gannett is going to
    alter their corporate thinking in this quarter
    or next quarter ? Employees are just an expense to them,just like newsprint or sofware programs
    or heating bills or interest on debt.
    When these expenses are eliminated or greatly reduced,this will increase the profit margins.
    That is the corporate bottom line.
    PROFIT!That is the ONLY thing that matters,pure
    and simple.
    Everything else is a a very distant secondary
    concern.
    Employees lives do not mean a thing to them,the lives they wreck mean nothing.
    The families they ruin means nothing.The loss
    lifelong careers and incomes,means nothing.
    Realize this,make it stick in your mind .
    If you cannot find another job,then take their money as long as you can.You know you should be job searching with every once of energy.
    But never,ever make what Gannett does to you personal.It is a cold,cold impersonal corporate
    world that you live in and Gannett Corp
    only cares about one thing ,MONEY !!!

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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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