An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
After USA Today pulled a Religion News Service story from its website on Thursday -- an exceptionally rare action, the paper says -- the religion news service produced a new story in which it says:"The Saudi Arabian embassy on Friday denied as 'completely false' reports that U.S. Jews would not be able to travel to Saudi Arabia under Delta Air Line's planned partnership with Saudi Arabian Airlines."The original story, which USAT posted briefly Thursday night, spread quickly across the Internet, even as Delta scrambled to make its position clear. USAT also published a story of its own Friday, to correct and clarify what it called "factual problems" in the original account.But the paper had already been embarrassed by its high-profile role in spreading the story. I suspect editors will now review how and when USAT uses material supplied by second-tier news services, such as Religion News Service, HealthDay, Mashable and, of course, DemandMedia. In its new story, which I found here on Huffington Post, Religion News Service is very slow in acknowledging that it was the source of the original report. The only hint comes in a line at the end of the story, providing a link to the first story.An editor's note has now been appended to the original piece. It says, in part, "The story was not fully edited according to RNS standards."It continues: "RNS takes very seriously its commitment to accuracy, balance and thorough reporting, and the June 23 story failed to meet those expectations. Steps are being taken to correct and improve our internal editing process. We regret that the story was transmitted with incomplete information, as well as any unintended implication that Delta would be adopting polices of the Saudi government."
There were some layoffs yesterday reported here or not.That means that there will be trickle down layoffs in the future as well.I hope people continue to report them here .It appears that this round is not over yet.
How many times have you heard "It's just for online, not the paper," or "We need it posted NOW!" or "It's already all over the Internet," as if these were good reasons to do anything?Anyone with any journalism experience (and who wasn't already juggling a million other things and being told "faster, faster, we need more traffic!") would have read that RNS lede and made a dive for the phone. But the much-vaunted velocity god wasn't the culprit this time. The Delta-Saudia Arabian Airlines partnership was announced in January. So what was the hurry?The "hurry" was Almighty Metrics. Whoever posted that story was just doing what he (or she) perceived his job to be: grabbing the story with the sexiest headline to boost traffic.Let's hope someone finally takes a good hard look at why the standards for USAT online diverge so noticeably from the standards for the newspaper and get it fixed and fast.
8:27 My count is that this week was 700. My Boss forecast from 3,000 to 5,000. So I have a suspicion we will hear soon from other divisions.
Gene Weingarten (Washington Post): How ‘branding’ is ruining journalismhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/gene-weingarten-how-branding-is-ruining-journalism/2011/06/07/AGBegthH_story.html?fb_ref=NetworkNews&fb_source=home_multilineWhy the media superstars of today are no longer people such as Bob Woodward, who break big stories, but people like Bill O’Reilly, who yell about them.
My guess on the Delta-Jews story is that it never saw an editor's screen from the moment it left the reporter's screen. It is the classic story of what is wrong with blogs. You have to have one read -- or better even at least two reads -- of stories before they get headlines and are put in the paper. And everyone in that process has to have the expertise to know about what they are writing/editing, even only generally. I've seen this happen before when you have someone from sports promoted to a supervisory position over an area in which they have no expertise. They usually screw up in the new job in little ways because they made their reputations in sports. I had one of these guys accuse me of being some sort of leftist commie because I quoted someone from the U.S. Institute of Peace. As I pointed out to him, that is a U.S. government-financed institute, and he got into a huff and said I needed to put that fact in the story. So I did.
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Margaret Buchanan in Cincinnati has asked for the installation of an "express" elevator strictly for executive use so she won't have to ride with people she knows will be laid off by year-end. Carolyn Washburn will join her.
Is posting here a fire-able offense? If my publisher knew that I posted often, I am sure that I would be fired.
@11:44 Not unless you tell your publisher. Then again they will either lay you off or you will be fired, they always find a way.
@11:37 The good thing about the elevator is it only goes down!!!
Buchanan and Washburn are puppets. They do whatever they are told to do. They might be rich, semi-secure and they might make a good living BUT being a puppet has it's price.My question is: Why are puppets that are only doing what they are told living like this? Seriously! Is INNOVATION out-of-the-box?Margaret and Carolyn are both very nice people... although stupid drones.
The Newseum's front-page gallery is very useful today.Same-sex marriage was legalized in New York when the bill to authorize it was signed into law last night. Because of ridiculously early deadlines, the Poughkeepsie Journal print edition went to bed before the state Senate voted on the measure. The paper's website leads with the story though it still carries a "Breaking News" banner at this moment.Rochester and Westchester, to their credit, held the presses to make sure the state Senate vote was the lead story in print.
I have never posted here before, but I feel compelled to do so after the trying week we've all had. People keep talking about the layoffs not being over. They aren't, at least not in Nashville. I know this because I am a reporter at the Tennessean and we were all told Tuesday that 20 positions will be cut in our newsroom by the end of July/early August.Personally, I don't think it will end there. I think more will come even after those 20 are gone. I've been through so many rounds of layoffs and furloughs at this company already that it's hard to believe more won't come. To be honest with all of you, I don't think I'm going to make it through this round. But, you know what, there's nothing I can do about it. I won't be angry. I won't yell and scream and rant and rave. That solves nothing. Until the axe falls, I will do what I've done for this paper day in and day out since I was hired: I'll work my butt off for the people of Nashville because this is home. If I'm laid off, I'll pick myself up, dust myself off and start looking for a new future. I have an amazing family and I have faith. I know I'll be fine. A colleague on here earlier said something about having a stomach ache and not being able to sleep ... I feel for that colleague. I agree we should be told now instead of having to wait 5 more weeks. But, instead of agonizing over what may be, perhaps we should use this time to prepare for the what if. Look at your finances. Update your resume and start looking at Careerbuilder. I can sleep at night because I've already trimmed as much as I can out of my family budget. I know what my next steps will be. There's security in having control over the things you can control. I feel for everyone at the Tennessean and everyone in Gannett who got cut this week. May God Bless.
3:05 Welcome, and please contribute more. I think you will find the prevailing opinion of those posting on this blog is that you are correct in expecting further layoffs are coming.
@3:05 Well said and please keep posting.
2:20 says Margaret and Carolyn are "both very nice people." That's a hot one. I don't know Margaret, but I've had experience working in a Washburn newsroom. I've never seen a worse manager. She invited staffers to speak openly at a meeting in Des Moines and a young reporter suggested a policy Washburn initiated wasn't working. Washburn had the reporter's editor tell him later he should resign if he didn't want to toe the line. Word got around, as I'm sure was her intent. So much for open and honest discussion. She seems to resent excellence and is threatened by independent thinking. That translates to a hostility channeled toward her best people. Ask somebody who has worked for her if you don't believe it.
11:44, evidently in the current incarnation any criticism of Gannett is a fireable offense.Much to my chagrin, I found that out myself, a longtime employee threatened with termination.I had always been critical whenever a story was slipshod and praised the stories that were very well done. I wrote as a private citizen (a production dreg being considered one), and often won awards for those scathing critiques from the editorial board itself.Then a new editor got in charge and the awards stopped. I found it hard to believe; I'm the same writer, but that was fine. Undertstandably, I didn't care about the free coffee cups and pens. My letters were still published and often read on talk shows (free PR) for debate.Then a new publisher who didn't know me from beans showed up, and suddenly he made it clear that my job was now in jeopardy for such "disloyalty." He was livid.He would have my "resignation" if he ever saw my name in the letters column or on the Web site again, me, the same guy with "Silver Pen" writing awards on his desk. Strangers in public would recognize me from my picture published with such things, thank me for writing and ask when was I going to write something else.Frankly, being able to accept criticism (if done well) one would think would be a natural hallmark of maturity to make the product better, especially among one's own staff.Not any more. They're now just reasons to shoot the messenger.
I gotta give props to MyBoss. He/she has passed along very accurate information about upcoming changes at Gannett and I appreciate the advance warnings. I only wish there was some better news for MyBoss to pass along to us.
Way to go. Reno. The GJ is the lead paperon a natiosl story, and produces turd for a headline:FIRE, CHAOS AFTERTRUCK RAMS TRAINDon't you know major headlines are supposed to be evocative and in the active voice?Is that any way to repay Gannett or sparing you in the latest bloodletting?
Just a reality check, OK?The so-called My Boss predicted up to 5,000 layoffs. Even in the Doomsday scenarios of consolidation it is hard to believe that horrendous number will be reached. He seems to be guessing now, and it did not take a genius to predict 'layoffs.'I say this not to get into a pissing match but My Boss should nit become some mythic tiuchstone because seriously, he has not been right in a long time. I actually believe he no longer works here or is too fearful to post anymore.
4:54 Oh, I think My Boss still works here, and is in a position very senior in this company. There are probably more than one My Boss, but this issue is confused by periodic efforts to sabotage him or her or them.I am inclined to wonder if the 5,000 figure is correct as well, but my overall views were undermined by this current round of layoffs, said to be in the 700 range, which I thought a really stupid and wholly unnecessary move. But if they are going to do 700 in community papers, why shouldn't there also be 700 in USA Today and Detroit, or 700 in the TV division as well. They aren't telling me how they are coming up with these numbers, but it sort of makes sense in a perverse way of symetry that if we are having layoffs in one division of this company, we can expect to see them soon as well in other divisions.
Tennessean colleague @3:05! Chest bump! High five! Complicated secret handshake!I'm going to continue to freak out for a while longer, if you don't mind. It makes me feel better, and there's precious little else that does right now. (Freaking out, sending out resumes and sidling up to some Tennessee sippin' whiskey are pretty much my entire coping arsenal right now, yo.)But by all means, continue on your mellow path. Whatever gets you through the next five weeks of humiliating uncertainty is cool in my book.I intend to rage, rage against the dying of the light. Because I love my job. And they're threatening the thing I love, along with the co-workers I love and the paper I love despite its flaws. So yeah, my stomach still hurts. Getting gut-punched by your employer will do that, I guess.But I'm glad you're in a good place. I hope to join you there someday.
Buchanan’s been accused of many things 2:20 PM…nice is not one of them and unfortunately, you don’t have to dig very deep to find a wealth of examples for proof.ROFL in Cincy.
These layouts are likely the opening volley of a series of layoffs that will occur over the next year or so. Once the design hubs are up and running, expect another wave of cuts from the editor and designer ranks at the individual papers. And soon after the hubs are fully functioning, Gannett will begin trimming designers and copy editors at the hubs. After all, if you can do the job with X number of personnel, can't you still do it will X-10 or X-20? And so on. That's the Gannett way.
5,000 layoffs is a pretty staggering number.
7:19 Any reduction in jobs would not be solely through layoffs. As to a number that high, bear in mind that in 2009 alone, Gannett eliminated 6,500 jobs. And that's not an estimate; it's according to GCI's own regulatory filings.
Jim, good point. I'm forgetting that Gannett is a master at eliminating jobs via attrition. I remember that when I first arrived at the Asbury Park Press in 2000, nearly 4 years after Gannett bought the paper, the newsroom had been reduced in size by about a third - this was actually reported on by AJR, in an article about then-publisher Bob Collins. Looking back on it, I have to wonder what really went on. There were stories about people being re-assigned to things so they would quit, beats and local columns being eliminated...In the end it was just a small taste of what was to come.
Dear 1:44...If you are worried about being fired for posting on this blog, then do it from home on your own computer and on your own time, as I do. We haven't gotten to the point of corporate control of our lives that they can sack you for what you do in your private life at home. So far....
Damn. I wish I had a job that I could just do what was asked, and pull in a nice salary mindlessly.
Link to post "Truly Shabby" on Ruth Holladay's blog about an email from The Indianapolis Star. Apparently The Star is looking for stringers. http://www.ruthholladay.com/
4:32 I have thought of that. How might My Boss signal that it's all over, and that there has been a change of heart and we have no more worries. If I were My Boss I don't quite know how i would do it. If My Boss started posting positive news, Jim would get involved because it is so far out of the stream. So I guess the best approach for My Boss in those unlikely circustances would simply be to disappear back into the ether, and stop posting.
Jim protects identities. Consistently. He's more professional than Gannett is. If you post "anonymous," you are anonymous. I only post with my name because I was mocked for not doing so since I have nothing to lose and have no problem with describing what an eff'ed up, dead end company Gannett, I, once so starry eyed and loyal, long hours, no home life, has become.Gannett is was iffy. Now it's certain.
Typical Gannett, too. A blog where the Real World is, and the sycophant boot lickers just check their bank accounts.Let's see who we can get rid of! Again! And Again!These rich people are basically winging it. They have destroyed the infrastructure of the company, gutted it, reamed it.Gannett is won't even be a company within five years, thanks to just being fantastically wealthy while journalistic standards are sold as candy corn. Ooops. Did I say something "clueless?"
Gannett execs are complete morons,
I don't work for Gannett, I'm just an outside observer. A friend of mine told me to check out the blog. He said it was going to make history some day and be a college course in how NOT to run a company. Gotta tell you, this is some great shit. Corporate has to hate this blog. I don't know of any other company who has had its dirty laundry exposed like this. Epic, I tell you, epic. I'm thinking Debow will go down in history as the CEO who killed a great media company. Classic stuff. Keep it comin'
Glad our lives amuse you.
Aw, c'mon, 6:18 a.m.! We *are* pretty damn entertaining. This is our wailing wall. Cheaper than therapy!
Is Gannett unique? I'm not sure. Knight Ridder was destroyed by some very bad decisions among the higher ups, but there was no blog like this to document the mistakes.
2:12 is right. Gannett will soon be a case study in business school about how incumbent companies fall apart when making short-term decisions and not adapting along with the changing world. And this blog will be noted for the irony it represents: a communications company with no control over its own communications.
Does anyone know how many layoffs occurred in Fort Collins with this round?
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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