An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
This is the last week for furloughs for the big shots. How many executives at your site are gone and "inaccessible"? They don't want to tell you they are on furlough, but the only reason execs are "inaccessible" IS because they are on furlough. Do they think we are all stupid? It is a big secret, as usual around Gannettland. Keep them in the dark and feed them sh*t.
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Monday. We at USA TODAY are watching for the Susie Ellwood shoe to drop. We would hope it means shedding editor overhead, for despite all that senior management expertise, we get pr drivel like Maria Bartiromo's "cover story" in Money, a q & a extended because they have no ideas or reporters. Where are the enterprise stories from the special projects team? Why so much wire and intern copy throughout the paper? Why so much drivel in Your Life? This entire operation needs overhauling NOW. Editors need to be help accountable for this POS. Hunke needs to be held responsible for all the brilliant business side moves, too. I guess well have to wait until all the good people flee before needed change comes.
I really don't care if the feud between Mariam and Pence is real or someone's way of stirring the pot. I would just like to see effective communication from p.r (for a change) instead of rahrah, self congratulatory branding campaigns. And I would prefer a results oriented marketing campaign from our CMO instead of an in house travelogue. Too much to ask?
Cincinnati is contacting employees who were laid off or bought out to edit copy on temporary PT basis while design shifts to Louisville. What nerve.
Puff piece Maria is a joke at CNBC, too. Why didn't she ask Toll about the company stock performance? D'oh!
Cinncy may have some nerve, but I'll take any paying gig I can get at this point. Why not?
The quarter is over next week.Does any site believe their revenue increased?Is there speculation or knowledge of this being a mass layoff situation? The revenues have been so low for so many quarters,what is next?Nothing seems to have changed with all new branding and other so-called innovative ideas,revenues continue the downward trend.So if the plan earlier was mass layoffs,and nothing has improved the amount of revenue flow,is that still the plan?
8:58. But you see the problem. Maryam can't put out her idea for a results oriented marketing campaign as long as that branding campaign is continuing. It would just muddy the waters to have two messages running at the same time. Someone has to give ground and leave marketing to the experts.
8:53 there is one interesting Money story of note. Matt Krantz writes of 7 bankruptcy risks to watch companies for. Gannett treads ice on at least four, perhaps five: decelerating earnings growth, management changes, notice of alternative strategies and debt restructuring. Can't wait for the quarterly earnings song and dance for more good news.
I'm coming around to the opinion that Maryam is one smart cookie, and if it's just an in-house travelog that brings pressure she thinks will help her out, then I can accept that with pleasure and cooperate. Have you emailed her the stories you liked as she asked?
I see what you are saying 9:11, but results should be more tangible than a message. What about deals with actual companies that increase revenue? Joint ventures and partnerships that boost visibility? Its just not about a coherent company message.
Maryam is smart, but she's been on the job for a half year? Let's not have another Heather Frank situation of a year of overhead building and failed promises.
The trouble is, as should be clear from even a cursory reading of this blog, is that we have a company with a dysfunctional leadership. We have people doing other people's jobs when they don't have the skill or expertise. We have Hunke messing around in the newsroom with Heather and the goalers, and everyone is upset yet nothing corrective happens. Now we have two people doing Hunke's job, and USA Today reads like s****t. Take a look at today's paper and ask yourself if you saw that on the newstand, would you buy it. Now stop in your local 7-Eleven for a coffee on the way to work, and just see if there are copies of USA Today sitting around. This is hardly rocket science.
8:53 Many business executives love Q&As because the format basically doesn't allow for including expert opinion to challenge whatever they're saying.I don't like the format because it requires the reader to sort for the most important information through an often too-long transcript. It's a kind of lazy journalism, because it's nearly the same as dumping the contents of a interview notebook into the newspaper. Paraphrasing well is hard work. Plus, I seriously doubt CNBC's Bartiromo did the transcribing; that would have been done by a clerk before she did the final editing.
Just to keep the interesting (to those in NJ, at least) conversation going about Skip and Ketan ... well, what is the backstory to Hidlay's departure from McClatchy? ... that story just seemed to die right away ... Also, Ketan was bounced from Broad Street Pubs, which was a subsidiary of Phila Inquirer, where he was brought to by his old buddy Mark Frisby (nee Cherry Hill/APP/Home News-Tribune) and Mike Lorrenca (nee APP/Gannett NJ/Collins suck-up), who would do anything Frisby asked him to do ... As I said, this might be boring to those outside the Garden State, but since that crop of former Gannett "leaders" had such a terrible impact on what were once good, local newspapers, well, it is interesting to those left behind or in their wake ... not as much interest as the passing of Clarence Clemmons, but close ...
Cincinnati might be trying to hire folks back but there is not stampede to take them up on the offer.Likely because management is so clueless as to how it is viewed. For example, they are in process of transfering Kentucky political writer to Cincinnati to cover transportation. That comes after she rejected transfer to Columbus because she is recently engaged and doesn't want a long-distance relationship. When she said no to Columbus they took back the tiny raise they offered and told her to she had no choice in Cincy transportation assignment. Now, she'll have to pay more than $100 a month to park and likely get his with a 2.1 percent Cincinnati city income tax so she is out a lot of money a month.
Maryam isn't Heather. She isn't asking for another job like Heather did. She's comfortable where she is and with what she is doing. The travelog is just an expression she's at work and there. And as I said before, when EVER has an executive of this company sought to communicate with the workers directly?
Ellwood was brought in by Martore, not David L. Hunke, to clean up the mess he created. She will work with Banikarim directly and rid USA Today of the David L. Hunke mistakes such as Lee Jones, Heather Frank and Rudd Davis.
6/20/2011 8:58 AM well said. but pence is not the one in charge of internal communication with the company so lay off of her.
10:50 On July 7, 2009, Gannett said it had named Robin Pence as vice president of corporate communications, "responsible for media and public relations, employee communications and the company’s Internet and Intranet sites." That sounds like it included internal communications -- with employees, at least.
10:58 Exactly. Looks like she's being big-footed, and I want to tell you I fought like hell when that happened to me.
The answer to your question 9:05 AM is respect for yourself.
"Ellwood was brought in by Martore, not David L. Hunke, to clean up the mess he created."Is this wishful thinking?
Sorry to interrupt this inane Maryam vs. Robin myth, but a new Senior VP of Marketing for USAT was announced several hours ago.
Our editors in Cincinnati know nada about building a crack reporting staff and morale. The demotion of the Ky. politics reporter to the transportation beat is a slap in the face. Half the newsroom consists of veteran reporters in entry-level suburban jobs. Usually reporters move up to first-string beats, not the reverse.
Jim, the problem with Bartiromo is the softball questions that go unchallenged by Money editors. She never asks ceos to justify their paychecks or company stock performance. Both should be givens. This isn't TV. Our standards should be higher, even for her. I hope we arent paying her for this drivel.
Unless Ellwood cuts bureaucratic layers and underworked managers, the mess, and the low morale her buddy Hunke refuses to deal with, continues. Something has to change to eliminate the dysfunction. You can stick your head in the sand only so long.
11:51; respect doesn't pay for your kids clothes, your medical bills, food or mortgage. I'll swallow my pride and take the work.
Cincinnati is contacting employees who were laid off or bought out to edit copy on temporary PT basis while design shifts to Louisville. What nerve.6/20/2011 9:01 AMThat's funny. When I was downsized at my property, along with everyone else, we were specifically told that GCI legal banned us from doing any freelance work after we left. Our editors would have been happy to hire us. We would have appreciated the work post-layoff. But the Crystal Palace Department of No would not bulge.
12:10 got a link to the announcement?
On another topic: passion topics. Note that the First Amendment is not a passion topic? When will this corporation ever learn that trying to craft content to the wealthy does not mean focusing on "passion" topics such as finance and luxury items, it means providing sophisticated journalism and well-written stories that compel people to come back to the website or even print edition. Gannett is trying to fit niche publications into a broad, old-fashioned infrstructure model, and it won't work. Another failed attempt. Is anybody listening or watching Gannett?
That would be infrastructure. Sorry.
12:55 I've just posted this item about USAT's new senior vice president of marketing.
1:11 How do you know that the First Amendment is not a "passion topic" being considered by the new Content Evolution Team?
Long time reader, first time commenter:I've been with Gannett for close to 20 years and I'm in a position to know more than I would share in good conscience. I worker longer and harder than I ever have for less each year (factoring in multiple furloughs and little or no raises). In addition,I am certain that my days of avoiding the downsizing axe are numbered. So...I fully understand the anxiety and anger often expressed on this blog. But, I see the numbers and I understand that with tumbling revenue must come deep cuts - only the federal government can dodge that reality (temporarily). Ours is a shrinking business in a struggling economy. That's the reality folks. I refuse to whine or point the finger at incompetent management. They are far from perfect...and yes they make too much money given our performance - but the root of our problems as an industry are much deeper than "them".
There are many, many ways they could cut expenses without laying off hard working people. What is it Big Al makes for writing 1 (ONE) column a week? Isn't it over 200 grand a year? How many little people would that cut salary save? What about all of the perks and bonuses of Dubow, Dickey and Gracia? How many jobs would all of that money save? Come on people, yea times are hard, but they are paying WAY TOO MUCH for these executive salaries, at the expense of the papers.
Well put 1:47PM. However, the problem is "them" never shares in the pain. For example, you pay a Hunke $3 million or whatever last year and he accomplished nothing. He takes Detroit down the tubes and now is doing the same for USAT and Gannett continues to pay him the big bucks. When he finally gets the boot, it won't matter because he sucked enough out of the company that he will be fine the rest of his life. That's the problem that I have... Gannett pays these clowns a LOT of money for substandard performance. I guess that is the Board of Directors fault.... but then again they aren't hurting for money either, are they.
Interesting to note that Scripps Howard voted on of best companies to work for in Cincinnati area in a story just posted on today's online Enquirer. Hmmmm. Why isn't Enquirer media on that list?
More good people written off.This just in from John Ziddich at 11:30 this morning.This morning at the Phoenix Offset plant, located in Chandler, we announced to the staff that the facility would be closed. Phoenix Offset produces USA Today, internal Republic Media products and a limited amount of commercial print jobs. While it is very difficult to make these decisions the investment necessary to operate the plant and maintain equipment plus new printing options now available provide more effective solutions for the future. Final decisions for the printing of the current products will be made over the next two weeks but we anticipate operations at Phoenix Offset to cease by the end of July. The work of the employees and commitment to producing quality products throughout the years is greatly appreciated. JZ
2:40 Didn't Scripps own the Cincy Post, which even as it was headed towards death, was feisty, interesting and I think even edging up a bit in circulation? Scripps doesn't earn the industry condemnation as a sleepy place to work that it has.
That's funny. When I was downsized at my property, along with everyone else, we were specifically told that GCI legal banned us from doing any freelance work after we left. Our editors would have been happy to hire us. We would have appreciated the work post-layoff. But the Crystal Palace Department of No would not bulge.6/20/2011 12:49 PMI'm not a journalist, but how is that legal or even enforceable? Is that something you agreed to when you were hired? If not, I don't see how they can require such restrictions..I mean, you're being laid off! Did anyone challenge it? I'm an artist who was recently laid off due to the GPC consolidation and I've never heard of anything like that for artists, nor would I agree to it.
I think Scripps has seen the bad times, and now is taking a bead on GCI by using the Treasure Coast papers to encroach on Florida Today, and the Naples Daily News to nip at the heels of Ft. Myers.
3:14 p.m., when I read the post you referenced, I took it to mean those laid off could not freelance for the site they were laid off from, not in general.
@2:59 any idea how many people will get the ax at Phoenix Offset? Surprised Zidich didn't mention that. ... not.
1:47 Good to hear from you, but I disagree. I think we can all see the glimmers from an economy that is recovering. I did not say recovered, but clearly recovering. Unless Greece defaults (which won't happen) I also don't see any downsides coming, only the green and sunny uplands ahead. Clearly that means we made it through and if GCI falls behind the rest of the crowd, then it has to be for some internal reasons of dysfunctional management, etc., and other things you have been reading on this blog. So somehow I think GCI will make it, and without huge layoffs of the sort rumored here a few months ago.
MY Boss Says,USA TODAY printed at the Phoenix Offset plant in chandler will be printed at The Arizona Republic in the next 5-6 weeks.
3:40So you think that majically the terrible revenue shortages of the past years and this fiscal 2 quarters are going to just go away and vastly improve?The next half year looks no better.Tell us where the lost revenues are coming from and how the Gannett bottom line changes and shows the margins they require without layoffs.
3:14 p.m., when I read the post you referenced, I took it to mean those laid off could not freelance for the site they were laid off from, not in general.6/20/2011 3:28 PMYes, sorry folks. It meant we couldn't freelance for our former GCI property, or any other GCI property to the best of my knowledge. The legal issue (I mean, an issue that legal people get paid handsomely to sit there and come up with to make things more difficult for people who don't work in legal) was whether the now-freelancer would sue because he/she was doing in essence the same job but now without benefits. I see the Wash Post lawyers didn't have (create) an issue here because many who took buyouts remained contributors afterward. For us, the freelance work would have been a great way to stay active, paid and visible. But, alas, we did work for Gannett, not the WashPost company. 'Nuff said.
6/20 9:02How could you go back to these dirt bags, I think I just call you a low life scab. Enjoy you 80 hours of the old glory Days. No respect for the Bizz
re: zidich emailproduction manager bob k is due to have a meeting with the pressroom and mailer unions tommorow 10AM. subject "unknown" but rumoured to be the additional workload from phx offset moving to the republic's deer valley plant.AZ pressman
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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