An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
All the Mangers, VP's and Publisher at Westchester are puppets. It is the East Group lead by Don Lemire and his Thugs ( Bruce Klink,etc)who micro mange this place.Don is nothing but a hachet man. Beware folks out in Gannett Land if you deal with him; He is a backstabber and not to be trusted.All they care about is the bottom line at any cost - If you elimeinated one of these guys, you could probably saved at least 5 jobs at Westchester. They, along with Michael Kane, are running this place into the ground.This is the Film Titanic - The sequel
Does anyone have any insight on the happenings at Greenville or Asheville sites? I had heard some people were affected but I'm only receiving this as second hand info.
Anything about Lansing yet?
Media General calls for 15 furlough days for employeesjourn.us/mLVoBC
NBC in Fort Myers is doing a little "sticking it to" Gannett and the News-Press in return for the newspaper's reporting about a let-go anchor at the TV station (which the station never reported on) by covering the News-Press layoffs (which the paper hasn't reported on). As the NP media columnist is married to a Gannett staffer, deserved coverage of the layoffs is unlikely, even though a popular editorial cartoonist is one of the casualties.
One of the legacies of Carolyn Washburn was mentoring Cherrill Crosby, who worked with her in Delaware and Boise.Unfortunately for those of us in Phoenix, Washburn did not take Crosby to Des Moines and instead Crosby was inflicted on us.Everything you said about Washburn--mean-spirited, rules by fear--are hallmarks of Crosby's "management" style.She is responsible for the departure of many talented journalists at the Arizona Republic. One remarked that for what she costs, three reporters could have been spared in the layoffs and the paper would definitely be improved.She is horrid with a capital "H" and we can only hope that what goes around comes around and she gets what is coming to her eventually.
If you haven't already read this (and I apologize if this Poynter article has been mentioned -- been kinda preoccupied, as you can imagine...), then do it now. Note Edmonds' mention of newspapers that realize readers won't be satisfied with skinny newspapers that aren't worth reading, and other organizations are willing to ride things out without slashing staffs. http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/business-news/the-biz-blog/136091/gannett-layoffs-are-a-leading-indicator-of-a-permanently-shrinking-newspaper-business/
3:31: For some reason Gannett admires leaders who are reprehensible. Here are a few that have been mentioned over and over in this blog: Bob Collins, Leslie Hurst, Karen Crotchfelt, Laura Hollingsworth, Susie Ellwood, Margaret Buchanan. There are more but I don't have time to go through all the different sites to find the names. Feel free to add a few. This type of management style would not be tolerated in a first class corporation. When will Gannett management learn that employees and managers are supposed to work with each other, not against each other? If this were happening, this blog would be nonexistent.
Leslie hurst is doing to the clarion-ledger exactly what she did to the lafayette advertiser - cut, cut, cut. She cut the lafayette newsroom from 45 to 23 staffers. At the rate she's going it won't be long before the c-l newsroom is cut in half, too. There are about a half-dozen key positions in the newsroom she has frozen, including the legislative reporter and ole miss sports reporter. No one knows when, or if, those jobs will be filled.
"When will Gannett learn ..." Now, THAT's the question of the ages. Truth is, management encourages this style precisely because it drives away good journalists. Why would they do that? Because good journalists require higher salaries. For every bad supervisor (and they are legion) there is some honcho/honcha in McClean who encourages them. Bonuses are set on cutting costs, meeting profit goals that have NOTHING to do with putting out a decent product. What puzzles me is the rush to fulfill the prophecy that print is finished. Back in 2009, our "boss" (i use that term lightly...) told us that all the community papers were in the black. Less than a year ago another supervisor told us that 90 percent of profits come from print products. Now comes yet another fire sale. I hate to break this to Craig and Gracie but online isn't going to pay for the vacation home in Florida and their big fat obscene bonuses. Kill the goose that lays the golden egg, anyone?
Aside from the human losses one thing that has not received attention is that when the Des Moines Register laid off Phil Brasher, it also closed its Washington, D.C. bureau. Maybe AOL Patch can serve up some ag coverage to the register.
Of course the advertising has slipped and it isn't so much the economy but the quality of what is being put out there. The reporting isn't near what it should be and errors have become more common since there is no editing of stories or pages anymore because most everybody has been let go in consolidating all these editors. Who in their right mind would want to advertise in such poorly put together products that have been cut back to nothing. Circulation is down due to fewer clients getting the coverage they want to see.
I couldn't agree more with the previous post. On Monday, one of our sections had two stories, and one was a piece of poop. I don't mean two local stories -- two stories total. But the photo was nearly full page. The decision to drop McClatchy wires has been devastating. When they kicked half the staff to the curb a few years ago, we had to rely on the wires more than ever. Then they dropped McClatchy and we have to rely on ... what, exactly? And this industry wonder why it's on death's door.
It's unlikely The Clarion-Ledger newsroom will ever recover from the damage inflicted by the one-two punch of Larry Whitaker and Leslie Hurst. Incompetence at its best.
These 4 days of postings have been amazing. Great work Jim for allowing information, frustration and opinions to flow openly. These discussions seem more worrisome and passionate than at anytime before. This carnage truly does seem different.Mark down this week as the time Gannett "Jumped The Shark." I don't know when or if it will fold, but it can longer longer really be considered a media giant. It's just a wandering company with executives wringing out the last dollars for themselves. God knows NO ONE will ask any of them to run another company!
The silence in the Nashville Tennessean newsroom is deafening. The staff is trying to do their work and keep focused but worrying about who is going to get cut is on everyone's mind. Staff members have to wait 4-6 weeks to find out who gets laid off! Just another testament to managements people skills.Advertisers are not buying Silveman's BS about a better product after cuts either. Several memos have been coming out every day from the publisher and others about how good the Tennessean is doing in Sunday circulation, online etc. an obvious spin job. Well if everything is so good why are so many going to be laid off in the newsroom. Someone at 1100 must be worried about perception of readers and advertisers who are not happy with the Tennessean. Just look at the reader comments.
I just read Dick Hughes' comments posted yesterday. He was a jewel of an editor, back when newspapers mattered. I miss his days heading a newsroom that had more reporters than desks, when The News Tribune merged with the Home News. Those were the days, my friend.
The story in the Asbury Park Press about the layoffs was from AP.
6:39, I agree.
To 1:36 p.m.: Greenville lost a sports person, a Pickens County reporter, our editor of multimedia, and a photographer, who took early retirement. Additionally, an open newsroom position was eliminated.We also had layoffs in circulation, advertising and the press room. I heard 15 or 16 in total. It's been like a funeral around there this week...
In Part 6 someone wanted to know if Gannett had ever returned a paper to local ownership. Gannett used to own the Santa Fe New Mexican (back in the late 70's early 80's). Things didn't well for the boys from G Town, they were taken to court and lost and the original owner got the paper back. Court papers here:http://220.127.116.11/leagle/xmlResult.aspx?page=1&xmldoc=19821934694F2d1240_11732.xml&docbase=CSLWAR1-1950-1985&SizeDisp=7I haven't seen the New Mexican in about two years, but it used to be a good little paper.
Excellent point, 4:13. First off, these tyrants don't deserve to be called publishers or, in the case of the Washburn ilk, editors. They're not even managers, since the shots are called by Gannett. That makes them order-takers, pawns.These people must be miserable personally, having sold their souls to the Gannett Devil for high pay, bonuses and those inane rings. Real publishers visit their newsrooms frequently and have sincere conversations with reporters and editors. Gannett publishers avoid newsrooms like the plague. And they break into cold sweats when they have to ride elevators with lowly employees or have awkward chance encounters in public. Wretched people these.
Heh I just saw a Deal Chicken tv commercial while watching Entertainment TonIght. Very professional very cool!
As an outsider, I would love to know if the drastic cuts this week affected mostly employees over the age of 50. My heart goes out to all. Thanks.
Hey Jim, I was looking around for Cannes Lions and came across a USA Today Media Lounge we are publishing, apparently for marketing interests.The version I found has a good article from Maryam on marketing to females, and seems to be kept up to date on news. Tried to use your clunky search engine to see if we knew of Maryam's June 13 posting, but couldn't find it:http://www.usatoday.com/marketing/media_lounge/pages/news.html
And in true sloppy Gannett fashion of late -- the contact us info on all the sites is hit and miss when it comes to updated info about employees. Some of the recently departed have been removed, but most have not. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. The new "Good Enough"
Advertising people - do you have your period 7 goals? We are officially done with period 6 and we still have not received period 7 goals at our site. I am also curious how insane your goals are. Some months we see as much as 170% of last year. Pretty realistic, right?
8:54 PM Looked at the USATODAY Media Lounge you mentioned: http://www.usatoday.com/marketing/media_lounge/pages/news.html That is considered up to date news? Top main article is about Super Bowl ads. And the laundry list of articles goes all the way back to March. However, one of the more current articles was about Gannett cutting 700 positions. Yes, that is something smart to promote to potential advertisers. One SMART company. Freaking genuis!
The post from Dick Hughes could not have come at a better time. Thank you for saying what all of us have been thinking. At the Home News we always cared about what we were doing. And we cared about each other. Now there is so much back biting and back stabbing - everyone trying to position themselves. It is sad to see the sad faces and empty desks all around us.
The spreadsheet of cuts shows a total of 23 for the 4 NJ newspapers (Asbury, Bridgewater, Middlessex and Parsipanny) yet the AP story that ran on APP.com mentions 36 jobs.
9:25: 8:54 here. I saw all that, and agree. So why is Maryam posting there, with something I found insightful (I am not in marketing, never have been, know little about it). From Jim's blog, it looks like it was an active USA Today marketing site two or three years ago, then fell on hard times and was neglected. Is Maryam trying to signal she wants to go back to a certain point and start again from there? I don't know, but it is intriguing.
9;25 That we have a dysfunctional company doesn't come to a surprise to anyone who follows this blog. So Maryam is trying to put things back together in a message to marketers throughout Gannett. If I was involved in marketing anywhere in this company, I would want to know what my boss says. Look at how closely My Boss is followed on this blog, for e.g.
Tornadoes touched down in Louisville yesterday, including one at Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. The track's famous twin spires were spared but the roofs were torn off the barns where horses were stabled.This was a breaking story the Courier-Journal should have owned ... and the Courier-Journal fell down. Badly. Referring to the backstretch as "backside"? Requiring attribution for every minute detail? Not being the front-page lead for the print edition?Gannett is so obsessed with rewarding the CEO and his cronies, it doesn't know squat about how to report the news -- and I say this as an employee of a paper that competes with Gannett.
Do you think Maryam is hiding things in plain sight, using a disused communications channel to reach out?
"This was a breaking story the Courier-Journal should have owned ... and the Courier-Journal fell down. Badly. Referring to the backstretch as "backside"?"So which paper do you work for? I've heard the term backside refer to as the barns where the horses/trainers are...especially during pre-Derby/Oaks workouts. And that's where the damage was...
Backstretch is part of the race track...
Sitting around the Tennessean newsroom, waiting to get fired, is a special sort of hell.Not that we're not grateful for another month's pay. I'm sure there are plenty of people in Louisville who would trade places in a heartbeat.But this is sadistic. My stomach hurts. I wake up with a headache that pounds in my skull until it's time to go to bed. Where I toss and turn and do depressing bank balance math. That's after two days. After five weeks? The entire newsroom is going to be puking blood.So just tell me whether you're going to fire me or not.Tell me, and I promise, I won't steal office supplies, or screw up my stories or poop on the floor of the executive washroom, Cherry Hill-style.I wouldn't do that, because I love my job, even when my job doesn't love me back. I'd write the hell out of my last five weeks at my last newspaper.I hope to God you don't fire me, but if you must, I can take it. It's the wait I can't take.
@11:02: Toughen up, soldier. You've got a newspaper to put out.
@ 11:02Dear Tennessean comrade: I feel your pain.
Thanks for pointing out the obvious, 10:59. Hate to break this to you, Sherlock, but you missed the point entirely. I think someone else is saying "backside" is a legitimate term for a part of the area that was damaged.Next time you feel like pointing out something like this, don't. Save your energy.
After reading all of these comments I got to wondering, what would Gary Watson do? Someone said that our most profitable business is still newspapers but we're killing that business and chasing digital. Gannett isn't even doing that right. I know the economy has sucked the last 3 years but Gannett's demise probably has more to do with poor management by Dickey and Debow than the economy. Gary are you out there?
Read what Nashville Scene columnist Matt Pulle wrote about the Tennessean. The article starts out "Yesterday morning, at a time when The Tennessean desperately needed to assure its readers that hope was not lost, the lead story on its website was about alternatives to vanilla ice cream." This must be an example of what Mark Silverman was talking about when he said in a statement "We will sharpen our focus and concentrate our staff resources on the issues and topics our audiences are most passionate about". This is what happens to a newspaper when it follows the advice of the galactically stupid.
I thought about Watson too. He was blindingly smart with a mind that could remember 2-3 year old numbers about a paper when he did the onsites. But he also was a SOB and could be a a mean-spirited bully. Not to mention his "right" to light up a Kool anywhere. But he knew his shit when he did my last budget review of our metro in 2000 or so. 2 days of hell. But he was a serious man who worked hard. I thought a lot of things about Gary in 20+ years with gannett but I never thought he was an empty suit, unlike the idiots running the company into the ground.
1:56, hate to say it but our readers are more passionate about ice cream than hearing about our problems.Truly, we're in the news business, and after three years of economy stories, 3, 10, 25, 58 people getting laid off just doesn't meet the bar anymore.The Scene story was a pro-forma rip on the competition. Do you think the public rushed out to read the Tennesean layoff story there? Do you think anyone even slowed down to read it as they paged through to the adult services in the back?Sorry kids. We care because we're living here. Public shrugs, turns page.
Folks, sell your Gannett Stock.It's a Loser, like the Company!!
GPC was to take over Phoenix ad production next week, has that changed? Seems odd to have one person layed off this week if local ad production isn't going to continue for quite a while.
The NJ Group is horribly divided - especially in advertising. At my site we are paying for the sins of our father "JC" who is no longer with the company. Now we are paying for it with huge goals and they don't care. Where was upper management two years ago?
From what I have heard there were alot of layoffs in westchester, new york. This place couldn't afford to lose 2 people, but they laid off 50 ?Great, nice going---pretty soon the place will be boarded up.With the upper management there, it is no wonder the place has been in a nose dive....as the old saying goes---buy cheap---get cheap...and that is exactly what we have there.
Can anyone tell me who is allowed to review personnel records? We don't have HR on site and someone else in our location pulls personnel files when HR requests them. My concern is this: Is this legal? This person knows too much information and I am concerned that this person - who has a key to the files - is going in and reading the files. Isn't salary information and other information in these files? I have heard information around my location that this person is reading the files. As far as I know - this person has access to files at two locations in our group. As this person is well known to be an office gossiper - why are they giving this person so much control?
In reading through all these posts, someone asked about Greenville, SC.We lost four in the newsroom -- a photog, sports reporter, an editor, and a GA reporter. I was one of the four.I don't know how many jobs were cut in Greenville total, but I would guestimate at least 10.As briefly as I can, I'd like to go into my own theories about what's happening to newspapers, and Gannett specifically.I think newspaper's demise began when the career path to the publisher's office shifted from the newsroom to advertising. At that point, the industry began to lose sight of its most-important function -- to inform the public. Instead, we began to hear the mantra that newspapers are a business, and the advertiser -- not the reader -- is the primary customer.This greatly weakened the industry, and thus we were not prepared to meet the challenge of new models of news distribution -- those provided by the Web. Instead of embracing the Web, the newsroom was initially afraid of it -- of giving away those stories they wanted to spring in the next day's paper -- while management was skeptical because there seemed to be no good way to make money off of it.Therefore, neither side provided an impetus for newspapers to embrace the Web, and the industry ceded the new medium to the Wikis and the Googles of the world.Gannett has been particularly inept at it's approach to the Web. Converting to paid content crushed The Greenville News' once-robust website traffic. And that's just one gaffe that hit particularly close to home.Upper management, the Dubows and Dickeys, et al, have not provided any leadership whatsoever. What they substitute for leadership is short-lived initiatives such as "First Five Graphs" and "Local-Local" coverage. They pay lip service to editorial content because it doesn't put dollars in their pockets -- paid advertising does.I credit Dubow for a job well done. Sadly, his job didn't include helping journalism. His job was to get rich, and he's a phenomenal success.Finally, who's really hurt by the decline of our industry? OK, I'm hurt, me and 699 other former Gannett employees who were laid off this week. And so were the hundreds who have been laid off before us. But we're not the real victims here.For The Greenville News, the victims are the readers in Pickens County. In 2006, as part of the Local-Local initiative, we assigned an editor, two reporters and a photographer to cover Pickens County. That group now comprises a reporter and a part-time editor (his duties include two other community weeklies). The News has also cut its first edition (often referred to as the "Pickens edition"), and now produces only one edition, except on weekends.But Pickens is only an example of the micro. The big picture is truly frightening. Newspaper reporters still crate a tremendous percentage of the news coverage available to the public today. And I'm not just referring to how much of newspaper journalists' work product is "shared" by our TV brethren, but also to how many newspaper articles receive wide circulation through social media outlets.Newspaper holds its reporters to the highest possible standards, period. And now there are probably 300 fewer journalists than there were last week. But the demand for information is increasing, so those 300 voices will be replaced, not with news, but with a growing combination of regurgitated press releases and opinionated bloggers and pseudo news gatherers.The real victim in the demise of newspaper will be democracy. The real culprit will be greed.
7:53: Perfectly put. I am a victim as well. But the higher-ups won't care because financially they're set for life. And when they meet their maker? "But this is what Iearned in MBA school!" will be their excuse. And they'll truly believe it.
well, we are now truly "World Class". All those days of rallies, phone calls and pizza - what a waste
Are more layoffs coming that have not been announced here ?Some posts indicate that there are, and I believe not enough are being posted here.We have not heard anything from weeklies and I cannot fathom that they would be entirely spared. Maybe they are just on a different time line or perhaps they will wait til this current smoke has cleared.
@10:56 and 10:59: thanks for the corrections from a long-time journo who lives in a city with a horse track. I agree with Chucky's sentiments, but beward discussing things you don't know first-hand.
Ooops, 9:19 here. That should be "beware".
The frequent, abundant posts about Gannett’s real problem – management, are spot on.Dubow, Dickey, et al can blame a struggling economy all they want but the truth of the matter is that the inexcusable behaviors that they and their predecessors knowingly allowed from so many of Gannett’s leaders has ultimately created a culture that is far more damaging than changing economic cycles. World-class organizations would not tolerate it as they understand the true costs for such acts, yet Gannett seems to reward it - even giving many countless president rings. Who these people are is no secret and 4:13 PM is off to a good start in identifying many within that intolerable lot. In all fairness to Gannett, Dubow’s more closely scrutinized some, but many should have been sacked. Yet, just when you think they get it, they allow moves like what occurred in Cincinnati earlier this year that apparently allowed two like personalities to reunite. Unfortunately, moves like those send this company further in the wrong direction.
Speaking of The Tennessean and Ice Cream...is there still a "flavor of the week"?
My paper wasn't part of the Gannett dysfunction until 2000, and even though the takeover initially was met with trepidation by rank and file, it took a decade for the toxicity of the company to fully permeate the newspaper. We used to think our old owners were total fools, but they were geniuses compared with Craig and Co. Our first "managing editor" was that souse Tom Callanan, who, when sober, once told a reporter "We're not writing War and Peace here, we're just telling people when the movie starts." Well, no shirt, Sherlock, nobody thought we were cracking Watergate, but even the features department thought what they were doing made a difference in the lives of our readers. One of the key problems with Gannett is how inbred the management is. All these assclowns flashing their presidents rings -- all they have done is toe the company line, to be good little Gannett soldiers. No vision, no leadership, just lockstep with the drones at the top. This company is desperate for fresh blood, but it's too late now. Management is intent on squeezing every nickel out of the place, then land softly as the ruins crumble. I love how the board says these obscene compensation packages are necessary to retain these visionaries -- or they'll go elsewhere. Guess what, Enstein, there no longer is nowhere else to go, and these losers wouldn't get the job even if there was.
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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