Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 16-22 | Your News & Comments: Part 3

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59 comments:

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

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  2. Jim -- In the last thread, you reported that a manager had told you layoff lists were due last month for a financially distressed West coast property. I don't suppose you can tell us which one. I'm assuming Reno or Phoenix, although there are a couple other possibilities.

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  3. Too bad for Gannett and it going to sunk ship!!!!! and too bad no one buy the paper! HA!

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  4. 11:41 As you perhaps know, there are more than a dozen papers in the West Group.

    However, to preserve my source's confidentialty, I can't ID the newspaper.

    I can only add that third-quarter furloughs are also likely at that paper, in addition to layoffs.

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  5. Any thoughts on the USAW/USAT YourLife merger that was announced today?

    http://www.usatoday.com/marketing/media_kit/pressroom/2011/releases/051711_usa_weekend_and_usatoday_your_life_merge_content%20teams.html

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  6. If furloughs happen which i suspect to hear about any day now.... How the hell are things going to get done? It's already hard if someone calls in sick.

    Should I use all my sick time and get out on the job hunt?

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  7. 1:03 -- That's a rhetorical question, right? The answer, of course, is yes. Finding a new job takes priority over any work Gannett might ask of you because no matter how well you do that job you can still end up on the chopping block, particularly if you're not prone to ass kissing.

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  8. 12:56 So, USAW's publisher, Gabrielson, now reports to Frank -- AND there's a general manager in the mix, too? Did that GM, Allegro, replace someone -- or is this a new position?

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  9. Sales folks: are you feeling motivated and inspired after the Barbie twins rally yesterday?

    My groups better than yours
    No my group is better than yours
    Look we are dancers and rappers
    Look we dated an athlete

    Give me a break! How was that supposed to inspire reps to go forth and sell big ideas? That trainwreck missed the mark but hey at least they are "cute"

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  10. OMG. Hillkirk tells graduates to focus on volunteerism. Excellent advice.

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  11. Denise Brodey was the Your Life GM when Gannett announced the vertical in 2010. Here's a link to the press release: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/usa-today-launches-your-life-107039228.html

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  12. Chuck now reporting to Heather Frank? I can hear the choice words ringing out on Mad Ave. right now!

    Wow, Hunke has really lost it...

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  13. oh what a shame gannett is going to sunk again!!!

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  14. I'm now uncertain about whether Grabrielson reports to Frank -- a point I make in this new post about the news. USAT's statement about this shakeup is kind of confusing.

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  15. 1:11PM... Like totally gag me with a spoon.

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  16. Your life and Weekend staffers are equally confused, Jim.

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  17. When does the new CDO start making changes? Has to do something different, doesn't he?

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  18. Like OMG 4:47, you totally read my mind. Jinxies.

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  19. Chuck is a good, smart man. What's the impact here on the core USAW edit staffers, the veterans who actually know the difference between a magazine and a newspaper?

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  20. That was one of the first missteps in newspaper industry: pages and graphics designed as if it were a magazine. Nice branding job. Not.

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  21. Chuck G reports to Hunke. Once again you've managed to hype a lie Jim. Time to beg fir money!

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  22. They wouldn't dare screw with Chuck G. unless someone has gone off the deep end. He's golden and obviously one of the few left who knows how to sell:
    http://www.minonline.com/best_sellers/Sales-Executive-Hall-of-Fame-Chuck-Gabrielson-Publisher-USA-Weekend_11183.html

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  23. 9:22, you just set off the Lemming Troll Alarm! Now any number of Jim's minions will come running to defend him. They will have no facts, and their writing will be below fifth-grade level, but they will respond. Poorly.

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

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  25. Following is an edited version of a comment posted at 5:55 a.m.:

    That company wide sales rally was a complete joke! Was anyone else totally embarrased for those people? Horrifying.

    The bigger issue is the "big idea" behind it. Whoever at corporate thought that cold calling a bunch of useless unqualified phone numbers was a good idea should be [XXXXX]. It is a complete waste of time. Time that could be spent resolving billing problems, or working on the 18th proof you got back from the gpc (that still looks like a 6th grader did it with clip art and word), or maybe even squeze in a little time to actually sell something once you're done with all the admistrative crap that's been building up on your desk.

    Once again they have proven that they have no idea how to move this company forward. I still can't believe somebody thought this was a good idea. Even more.... Somebody above that nimrod green-lighted it.

    It's pretty simple Gracia. You have to spend money to make money. If you want to generate more revenue. Hire more sales people. Or at least bring back some of the support staff positions you elimiated so we have time to go out and MAKE MONEY.

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  26. 6am said what is being expressed acrss the properties. The rally was a total waste of time and gave some properties an opportunity to post huge, fake numbers. What they don't get is that our support staff is almost gone, the ads we sell never make it online or much less into the newspaper, and yet they come up with another initiative. It was a total embarrassment to hear our"leaders" talking about their homies and trying to be amusing. It wasn't at all.

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  27. A couple of bright spots on the sales rally, free breakfast, free lunch and we got to watch the Barbie twins. Like you know?

    In all fairness, my site did rack up quite a few appointments. Lets see if we can turn those into sales.

    It should not have taken a company wide rally!

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  28. Wal-Mart's "World Class Sales Force" has a rally every morning. Takes five minutes. No food. No bimbos. No powerpoints. No coldcalling.

    Their business will never survive. It's just not All Within Reach.

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  29. 11:06: What exactly is a "lemming troll," other than a very confused phrase? Here you are, complaining about the word usage and the poor writing here, but what you don't grasp is that you are the troll and those of us who have something relevant to contribute here are the so-called "lemmings."

    A bit of advice: Go get yourself a dictionary. Then work a little harder to get your phrasing straight if you're going to continue to attempt to be insulting.

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  30. It is rather humorous that some here still believe that there are solutions to Gannetts
    problems. I know there are thousands of employees still grasping for hope that they will
    survive all of the layoffs and still remain a
    lifelong,til retirement do us part ,employee of Gannett. The revenue losses started more than three years ago people. There has not been even the slightest improvement in those numbers in more than thirteen quarters,except that expense side dollars continue to go down with all of the layoffs,consolidations and other misc cutbacks.All the talk of solutions for the problems appears as though people have been on another planet for three years and not living the reality of Gannettland. A rallie for sales,
    wow ! that will improve the billions lost.
    These so called solutions seem like trying to stop the flooding on the Mississippi river with a bucket.

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  31. Your Life lead story today:
    Headline: Study: Binge drinking tied to memory loss in college students
    Lede: A new Spanish study links binge drinking in college students to a lowered ability to remember lists of words, although the research doesn't prove alcohol is at fault and the drinkers did fine on a separate memory test.
    OK

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  32. 9:22, groundbreaking, indeed. Fail.

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  33. Depressing.
    Speaking w/sales people in NJ at Home News and APP this week and last about trying to drum up new biz and the ridiculous pep rally. Potential and current clients telling them repeatedly they hate, hate, hate the new look "Press" and that it reads even worse than old one. Meanwhile, management not surprisingly has fingers glued in their ears, head in the clouds.
    Layoffs and furloughs coming in a week or so. More than a few wishing... no, praying for a pink slip.

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  34. 8:52 -- I think the point people are making is that there are solutions, it's just that our leadership isn't smart or courageous enough to find them.

    There are businesses that are thriving, even in this economic environment, and some of them are "digital" companies. That's what Gannett is striving to be, right? At least that's what the PR hype says.

    Trouble is our leadership doesn't understand why the successful digital companies are successful, and it's trying to move forward with some bizarre fusion of old-school print and broadcast media and the Web. This doesn't work. The most successful digital companies operate in a completely different way and do completely different things.

    Gannett brass would have probably figured that out by now if they weren't so busy cutting costs so that they could pocket as much money as possible before the ship that they aren't tending to finally sinks.

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  35. 11:06 a Lemming Troll is simply one of this Blog's overt kool aide kids. They refer to anyone on this Blog that actually appreciates their company and their leaders as Trolls. You see opposing opinions need not apply on this Blog. So they call us Trolls. The Blog Kool Aide Kids are Lemming Trolls, as in lemmings that do what they are told and follow their Blog leader blindly. Get it?

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  36. Column by Jim Hightower re: Gannett: Workers Down, Bosses Up: A Morality Play
    http://www.texasobserver.org/oped/workers-down-bosses-up-a-morality-play

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  37. 12:17 those poor "top two" just can't catch a break. Think they have a clipping service gather all the times they've made the news lately?

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  38. 12:04 -- I'm not one of the people who worries about the quality of writing on this blog. But since you started your thread by criticizing the writing of everyone who disagrees with you, a few notes.

    Your one-paragraph post is poorly written in that it takes a circular path to get to its point, and it includes errors. If you are going to insult someone by implying that they have an affinity for a particular beverage, it's imperative that you get the name of said beverage correct. It's Kool-Aid. Not kool-aide and not Kool-Aide.

    Your post may reach above a fifth grade level, as the American education system has become a sham, but it certainly wouldn't get you past introductory college English.

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  39. The Hightower column is interesting reading and comes on top of several other pieces that have been critical of the Crystal Palace suits. It's almost as though some national writers are taking notice of this company's poor management.

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  40. I have to deal a lot with folks at corporate in my new position. People had told me they were clueless but I had no idea until I started working with them. God help us if this is our leadership. Run as fast as you can for we are doomed.

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  41. "It's almost as though some national writers are taking notice of this company's poor management."

    Poor management and poor management decisions.
    It is not good management to excessively reward top executives for performance that does not achieve lasting results. The Board has claimed that revenue goals were met, but they do not evaluate the way the numbers were mangled to produce the results that "earned" bonuses for a select few.
    Of course, if the GMC were evaluated on criteria that made a difference in the company and its future, they'd all have left by now because there wouldn't be ANY bonuses.
    I liked the Hightower article. I also like the fact that these kinds of articles continue to pop up around the country.

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  42. Management is in the communications game, so they understand clearly what is happening to them. Who else takes the blame for what is now emerging as five big rounds of layoffs in the last three years? What other large American company puts its employees through this sort of misery? Most do just one big round and move on to rebuild the company. Gracia said a few months ago that Gannett was too big and should be half the size. SO why not do it all at once instead of this death by a thousand cuts? It's either just lousy and inept management decisions one on top of another, or they are sadists who enjoy dragging out the pain.

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  43. A dead fish rots from the head.

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  44. @1:38: You're giving too much credit. How about 12:04 passing high school English 101? No way.

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  45. 4:44 I opt for sadists.

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  46. 4:44: better to inspire fear in those unable to bail. And it buys time so others can. But I have/to agree with you, I would just have all the cuts done at once and avoid the water torture.

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  47. Not your boss5/18/2011 6:39 PM

    Layoffs will (have) been site specific based on performance. Some sites were hit after the first quarter, others are looking bad in the second quarter. As for who gets the ax, corporate gives the publishers a dollar figure they have to reach, and the rest is done from there. As for furloughs at a specific site, I tend to doubt that will happen. Furloughs have been company wide so far, and are likely to remain that way. It's possible there could be furloughs for everybody, but corporate found the first quarter furloughs didn't really pay off like they used to because of the overtime costs to fill the gaps.

    Gannett can dig out of this hole. 1) Forget about making up revenue with digital. It'll never happen with the current business plan. 2) pump the newsrooms back up and promote true journalism. What's passing for journalism now would fail in a middle school newspaper class. 3) Use the web to enhance and add to newspaper coverage. Use it for breaking news, use it for additional coverage of important topics, extra sidebars that we don't have room to print in the actual paper. More color and charts. 4) Forget about the design centers. Don't take away the local flavor of the papers. If every paper looks the same, like the web sites do, you might as well close them all. The look sucks. 5) Put more people on the street to sell. Don't force sales people to manage 100 or more customers. You can't maintain active customers well or try to get inactive ones active if you don't have time, particularly with the added load the GPC has put on the reps. Finally, and most importantly, get new upper management. This board of directors has watched the company sink and done nothing to drive revenue, only work to cut expenses. Cut Craig's bonus, better yet, cut Craig out completely. What's he done lately? Put some newspaper people in charge, and let's see what actually happens.

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  48. Diane Rehm, on NPR this morning, was talking about Dominique Strauss-Kahn being arrested for rape and how reports on the arrest were playing out in France. The reporter they were interviewing in Paris said the concept of sexual harassment was still pretty new in France but that they had a concept in France called "morale harassment" which was more commonly acceptedly and unknown in the US.

    He said it was the practice of making the workplace so unpleasant that workers chose to quit, thus letting the company out of paying severance packages, which are a lot more generous in France than they are here.

    I immediately thought of the way Gannett is running (ruining?) its newspapers in the US. Is there a way to make "morale harassment" a legal concept in the US?

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  49. 4:44PM... So, Gannett needs to be half the size? How about selling off half the company? At least the properties sold will have a good chance of surviving, while the those still under Gannett leadership die off.

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  50. Agreed, 7:41. Sell off Broadcast and Gannett can keep the dregs.

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  51. Those who can do, those who can't blog inaccuracies, beg for dollar bills and make money off our frustrations and fears.

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  52. Leave Chuck G. alone. I feel like that kid Chris Crocker and his YouTube video leave Britney alone. Why would they even raise his name in a press release?

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  54. 7:45 Who is going to buy it? Look at the market right now for both TV and newspaper properties. TV is on the verge of going through what newspapers went through as TV anywhere arrives. Who wants to bother with the local channel when that happens? Look at how Netflix and Hulu are positioning themselves.
    As for newspapers, need I point to the piles of papers on the market, from very lucrative publications like the Orange County Register to the various Tribune properties in bankruptcy. I am familiar with a local group that thought about buying the Baltimore Sun but couldnt get the financing together. The Boston Globe is up for sale, although the NYT says it is not. Lee is heading into bankruptcy court real soon, IMO, and that puts the St. Louis paper up for grabs.
    I think GCI needs to be honest and adjust its asset evaluations to reflect the true value of theese properties. I think you would find all are worth far, far less than you expect.

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  55. 7:40 There's a similar term in the US to "Morale Harassment". It's called "constructive discharge." Where management makes the workplace so intolerable that someone feels they have to quit or lose their minds.

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  56. I read Hightower's column and ask myself: "When is it too much?"

    When will Gannett staffers read one last tale about the immoral leadership of their managers and say no more news, no more ads, no more anything until some level of fairness is demonstrated.

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  57. "When will Gannett staffers read one last tale about the immoral leadership of their managers and say no more news, no more ads, no more anything until some level of fairness is demonstrated."

    Never. None of you has the balls to do that, or even to attempt it. Not a single person. In fact, you would trash anyone who attempted it. You are that predictable.

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  58. The bottom line, that I am hearing from all of you, no matter what you say about management or about corporate, is that you want Gannett to survive. That is the sad reality of all of this. No matter what the nay sayers say, it appears, probably about 80% of the employees would rather have this company survive, than die. This is a very sad reality — that we all really care. You would think that corporate would embrace that rather then eliminate the waste, so to speak. If the so-called corporate trolls on here, take note. Most of the employees actually want Gannett to survive and to have a company to be proud of. We don't want to trash the company we gave our loyalty to. We rather be proud. Please, craig and others, can you please do something to make us be proud? At your salary level — there must be something you can do to raise moral. Ok, I tried.

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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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