Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Asbury Park | Page templates are said to be 'final'

Anonymous@4:53 p.m. says Asbury Park Press Executive Editor Hollis Towns distributed the following memo to staffers this afternoon. The paper is one of five production hubs under development to design and produce pages for most of Gannett's 80 U.S. community dailies.

From: Towns, Hollis
Sent: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 1:12 PM
Subject: Template memo


Templated pages in CCI NewsGate are intended as final designs, not starting points. They are a key tool for efficiency and productivity.

All of the templates we designed and built are based on a careful study of a month’s worth of our pages. They look the way they do because this is how we build our pages day in and day out.

Of course we can adjust if we really, really need to. But assume that you don’t really need to.

As we go through all the challenges of rolling out CCI in the next couple of months, stick to the templates.


Hub history
Towns' purported memo follows an earlier disclosure that the community papers will all use the same typefaces for body text and headlines.

Also, from News Department Vice President Kate Marymont's July 13, 2009 memo and FAQ about the hubs:

Q. Will all of our newspapers begin to look alike?
A. No. Flatly, no. That is not the intent at all. The individuality of a newspaper is important. We will preserve that.


  1. That's Hollis code for "follow the instructions to the letter, because we are laying off more people and that's the only way this will not completely fail."

  2. Well, I guess this is another example of the sad reality that Kate Marymont either doesn't know what is happening or, more likely, has no clout to influence what is happening. John Quinn, and maybe even Phil Currie, must be gnashing their teeth.

  3. Pretty meaningless memo. Slow news week Jimmy?

  4. That nasty condescending remark actually sounds familiar, the tone and the remark..hmm

  5. He needs to run that memo by a copy editor. Pathetic.

  6. Any memo from any publisher at any newspaper can find its way to Jimmy. That must drive the brass crazy.

    No one can argue that this blog has created a behavioral shift across the entire company. Publishers and editors are asking the question: "is this something that needs to be written via email? How would it look if this were published in a forum for all to see? Investors, co-workers, former employees, senior executives and even competitors are potentially going to see every memo I write to my staff."

    Alas, the pen is mighty dangerous.

  7. That's kind of hilarious (in an awful way). Our EE pressed somebody at one of the big conference calls about who had the final say on pages and the speaker was all "You! You'll ALWAYS have the final say! (But we have really good people doing this, so why would you want to?! Trust us, really!)"

  8. Template Tommy4/26/2011 10:52 PM

    He (HT) called a last minute staff meeting for Wednesday afternoon on school board election day no less. I'm sure he will stress his "my way or the highway" philosophy that he was famous for in Cinncy

  9. Our GM is so freaked an email will show up here we aren't allowed to use it.

    Considering the grammar/typing/spelling skills of some of the managers, it's because the form would be embarrassing, not the content.

  10. It does seem Marymont is out loop, unless in light of continued weak economy since her memo, that top brass decided to go just one way and save money.
    Yes, Phil probably rolling his eyes because she has been nearly invisible and has provided no leadership during these trying times.

  11. Eh, a meeting in the afternoon today is no big deal. Polls close at 9 p.m.

  12. So what does he mean here? That you get a template with specific features going in specific spots? Or that when a page is designed, the content editor miles away cannot ask for it to be redesign to change photo sizes or story display?

  13. 11:46 I believe it is mostly the latter.

  14. I can see the drain from here...it's close!4/28/2011 10:11 AM

    So the big news is Newsgate goes live for the entire paper next week and as a precaution, deadlines are pushed up 90 minutes. As it stands now, Monday deadlines are 8:30 to 9 pm, meaning that most night meetings can't get into the print edition. So there goes another reason to subscribe to the print product and circulation drops, and revenue drops and so on and so on....

  15. Typical "Boss Towns" way of ramming corporate dictates down the workers' throats. Towns will succeed in Gannett for the same reason he will never make it in any of the sophisticated news media companies where he sees his future: He's hot-tempered, self-centered and is the antithesis of collegiality. Sure enough, Gannett gave him another president's ring, so we're stuck with him until his certain downfall arrives.

  16. Kate Marymount has turned out to be nothing more than another G A N N E T T bullshit thrower.


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."

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.