An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
To answer a few questions from the previous blog.1. There are layoffs coming (number unknown)2. They are mostly administrative (primarily Finance)3. This has already been confirmed at some East Coast sites.4. My conjecture about the VP in Louisville is that he found out he won't be needed after the consolidation in Binghamton and either bolted or was pushed out early for whatever reason.
The end of next week is the end of the second quarter. I would assume that the revenue numbers projected by ad managers have been in for a week or more.That means that the plans for third quarter are well in place.The predictions here about layoffs coming are probably correct,knowing that ad inches and revenues were way down across the board,at least at the community paper levels.This means there must be layoffs,what else can be cut?
8:35. Well, since you asked the question of what else can be cut: how about this executive bloat with publishers and deputy publishers of USA Today doing essentially the same job, etc., etc., etc. And how about all these staffers in the do-nothing public relations office, which doesn't return phone calls (at least to Jim) and doesn't write press releases or make public announcements.
Confession time is nearing, and Gracia needs to prepare herself for next month's presentation of Q2 results which, I somehow suspect, will not be good at all. So how do we spin this one? It could be the spreading effect of the radiation from the Japanese nuclear power plants, but somehow I don't think so. It could be the economy, I guess, except the stock market isn't really collapsing that much beyond what you would expect in a "correction" and the economy has improved from last year at least. Maybe it's uncertainty caused by the debt-limit fight, except that should provide stories that readers would like to read about how their taxes are going to increase real soon, and how the popular Medicare program will be cut. It's going to be a very tough presentation for Gracia and Craig, I think.
Burlington, Vt has already told its Finance folks that consolidation is happening in July and inferred that the move would necessitate some number being let go. The exact who and when is still unknown.
Just a matter of curiosity, but if they cut the finance staff, how is Corporate going to get those rich periodic reports showing how the properties are doing revenue/expense wise. Fewer people gathering financial information means less information. Maybe this is a good thing if it stops Corporate from panicking about month-to-month fluctuations in revenues and instead look at the long-term strategy.
I agree with 11:16 a.m. An issue at Gannett is that the amount of data and reporting demanded takes away from time that could be spent selling, talking to customers, editing, writing, etc.
Won't it be interesting to see how Martore spins the importance and effectiveness of Robin Pence's multi-million dollar Gannett campaign. By the way, whatever happened to 'it's all within reach'? What was the final amount blown on that one?
Shriveling revenue is poison to Gannett's Primary Mission of showing EPS growth. But Gannett knows there's two ways of getting there. The other is cutting costs. We employees are costs. But most of us aren't members of the Club and are easy to throw out the window. Get ready for more public executions. Maybe this time they'll kill off some of the dead weight that they keep keeping.
It is a good thing to be a member of the Club.
8:50 brings up an excellent point about management overhead. Its in the newsrooms, on the business side and the foundering verticals at USA Today. Easily 20 senior management positions that could be eliminated with no impact on workflow. These people simply don't have much to do.
How much you wanna bet Martore blames 2nd Q on the weather and gas prices.
6/17/2011 11:26 AM Whatever it is, it would be fun to watch Martore squirm when trying to justify the branding campaign. There isn't a finance person in Gannett that gets "marketing" and they cringe when they try to do an ROI on it. Marketing is an unneccesary expense to bean counters. I'm not saying the branding campaign is good, just that even if it was, the bean counters would poo on it if it wasn't being pushed hard by Dubow and others.
Enough with "the sky is falling, the sky is falling." It's difficult to sleep as it is. Just tell us when the ax is actually falling, not just it's going to some day in the near future.
Martore will pass the branding campaign commentary to Craig, who will explain it in his forward thinking/future looking bright/promises pat nonsensical way. Analysts wont bother to challenge him. They are used to the b.s by now.
Wall Street doesn't care about the branding campaign. It doesn't really care about whether there's a new chief marketing officer, or a new chief technology officer. And I can't imagine there will be much interest in the status of Deal Chicken; the Gannett Production Centers, or the Design Studios.Wall Street cares about results. What was the quarter's revenue; is it up or down and where's it heading in the coming quarters? And what was net income, and what's it likely to be in the near future. These are what the analysts will be asking questions about.Dubow and Martore can read all the statements they want. But all Wall Street hears is: blah blah blah blah blah revenue blah blah blah blah blah earnings per share.
Of course, youre right. But when you read transcripts of the earnings conference calls, so much of what Gracia and dubow say is gibberish about the future.and they go largely unchallenged by the stock analysts.
Stock analysts, by and large, don't take statements into account. Why would they?
4:45 No, they listen very closely and if something doesn't add up, they double-check their analysis and recheck the transcript to see what is wrong. The analysts use these sessions to adjust their measuring sticks.
Any site managers or OC members on a closed-door conference call this morning? One of ours was, 10 or 10;30 ET. Wondering about that given the buzz.
I totally agree withpost 11:46, last 2 remarks- ditto.post 11:33 I wouldn,t want to be in THE CLUB!!!
7:13- I can top that. Most of my OC members have been going back and forth to corporate all week. The funny thing is.... Not together.
I bet Gracia hates those analyst sessions because it is the one forum where she can't control the questions. That's why only one question with no follow-up, no financial press often invited by other big companies to their sessions, and abrubt endings.
If you want to see how these analysts sessions really work, look at Jamie Diamond of J.P. Morgan's quarterly session. There are transcripts on SeekingAlpha.com. Also look at how Warren Buffett handles Berkshire-Hathaway sessions. (Disclosure: I own JPM, would love to afford BRK.A, and hold no GCI).
Interesting story on how Goupon's innovation has now become commonplace:http://www.investorplace.com/44502/4-failed-tech-stocks-ahead-of-their-time/?sid=AX4299&cp=IPIE&ct=20110617&cc=eletter&en=3002540
I am getting fed up with this company. I wish the job market were not so damn tough right now because I would be GONE.
10:06, the job market wants you just where you are. You did not oppose Gannett's dumbing-down because you wanted your job to be easier. Now you are seeing the result.
Life outside Gannett isn't all roses ... check out this article about the nightmare about writing for AOL: http://thefastertimes.com/news/2011/06/16/aol-hell-an-aol-content-slave-speaks-out/
10:14, you don't know what you are talking about. I am new to the company. I don't want an "easier" job. I would like a job where decisions and changes make sense.
10:13 With the newspaper model forever broken and the online world paying pennies, it is indeed a race to the bottom.
11:13, thanks for your rebuttal.
Has anyone ever contacted Gannett ethics attorney? I can't bring myself to sign my quarterly letter. I know damn well what is going on at the site I am at and it's just wrong.....
To 9:38pm - If you know something and don't report it then you're part of it. Integrity is everything and you sound like someone who's struggling to do the right thing. I really hope you figure out what that is and do it. Good luck.
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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