An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
I've got an incredible urge to re-start the empty box string from yesterday - if only to inflame the folks who are so incensed by the subject they post multiple times how they hate the subject.
I have reams and reams of paper piled up because we needed to give folks boxes. Forget buying and selling gold - empty boxes are the new gold.
D-day for the Tennessean in Nashville. Sorry folks.
6:37 Thanks. I was feeling a little lonely last night. I think I know a story when I see one.
Sorry Nashville...maybe the spineless a$$ will just call with the bad news like they did to that assistant editor yesterday and you wont have to waste your gas.
As morning dawns bright and terrible over Nashville, I believe my mood can best be summed up by reviewing the printer-smashing scene from the movie "Office Space":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0_S_EdZ_I8(With a giant Deal Chicken cutout swapped out for the printer, of course.)
"Church letter? You're forgetting our ever accurate (and cheap source of filler) Religion News Service. Usa Today's crack on line team will vouch for it."Oh for godssake! PLEASE stop taking cheap shots at the online team. Yes, they are for the most part young, but so were you once upon a time. The only difference is that you worked in an actual newsy environment where you learned news judgment and a healthy skepticism from your elders. All they are learning is post, post, post, not think, think, think, and how to arrange the front according to what's most popular with readers and what is mapped out in an early budget. They are sometimes thinly staffed when big news breaks. They also work brutal hours that no one with a home life could or would or should accept. Should USAT hire more experienced journalists? They could try, but you can bet that anyone less starry-eyed would opt for a menial data entry temping gig during regular business hours rather than subject themselves to an overnight shift for weeks on end. I agree that online has its problems, but it's not the staff. It's trying to please everyone, and as we know, an edict like that goes against basic news sense and journalistic integrity.So leave the kids alone.
8:03 Love those Geto Boys..
8:24 It's not the young staff that has posters up in arms. It's the boss whose sports, sports, sports background hasn't given him experience dealing with very complex Middle East politics.
Betcha Delta has been heard from again at USA Today.
The kids are alright ...
Haven't been here in a few days. What's going down in Nashville today?
@ 9:09 Nashville today is newsroom layoffs.
I thought they had 5 weeks?
Gather 'round, 9:09, and let me bullet-point it for you.* First, the Tennessean announced they were going to downsize one out of every six positions in the newsroom. But they wouldn't be firing anybody until Aug. 1 or thereabouts. * For two weeks, the newsroom stewed, waiting for the hammer to drop. But hey, at least there'd still be another month of pay, right?* Yesterday, a talented features staffer was en route to, or possibly from, her grandma's funeral and got the call. "Surprise! We've arbitrarily decided to start layoffs! Starting with you! Byeeee!"* The rest of the staff was given a popsicle in lieu of an extra month's pay.* Today, they'll eliminate the other 19 positions. (Or possibly 18, if they count the features editor who threw himself on a grenade for his staff and resigned earlier in the week.)Good times.
9:45 Do you know anything about what Crotchfelt is talking about that is coming in September? Sounds like zoned suburban editions to me, but I dunno.
8:24, the point is these kids are for the most part underqualifed to handle the responsibilities of a supposedly big league media player. Putting in long hours for lousy pay is a journalistic given. But traditionally, the seasoning occurred at the local level through reporting and writing. Ditto with news judgement. Who is imparting any of that at Usat? Certainly not the head of on line, whose journalism skills are in (brace yourself) video. Why does any of this, matter? This hurts the integrity of the brand. You can't operate on the cheap or the inexperienced without the product suffering. And there's no one teaching these kids about how to do tryings the right way. The pablum on the verticals further denigrates the product.
Heh. Crotchfelt. And here I thought poor Bob Dickey drew the shortest straw out of the last-name bag. Seriously, Gannett, how many toxic management decisions stem from the fact that you keep hiring people with psyches warped by constant playground beatdowns in childhood?
There was a post yesterday about ad staff doingeditorial/reporters work.At my former site the adstaff is taking photos and doing interviews.I was formerly an ad manager and we followed strict ethics codes concerning the total separation between Editorial and Advertising.I guess anything goes now if it saves Gannett from paying editors.Also,there was a post wanting revenue information sources to back the layoff warningssigns.How much freakin proof do you need! You should know by now that when revenue is way down after a quarter or in this case a half year,and for so many quarters,that layoffs follow .Has anyone posted here that they are seeing huge amounts of increased ad inches?You just keep hanging on to the belief that your job at Gannett is safe and secure.Well it's not so wake up.
10:04 Kids screw up. Hell, even I screw up and I see Jim screws up from time to time. Cubs screwing up is not the issue. The issue is putting someone with a limited and narrow experience in charge of something that could get the paper in deep trouble. Instead of being defensive about all this, and blaming the kids, how about considering if this was a libelous story, say something innocent along the lines of a stay-at-home suburban housewife whose name never appeared in the press but suddenly was involved in a story that charged her cooking poisoned her neighbors. If you don't understand that, you don't understand.
9:49, here's some background: Karen Crotchfelt took the lead in fine-tuning the suburban editions of the Arizona Republic. She picked the suburbs with the most potential newspaper readers and boosted staff there, while cutting back in other suburbs to just one staffer (so much for serving the public - it's all about revenues). The ad strategy is to push volume, trying to lure as many advertisers as possible with low prices.
Absolutely right, 10:32, and unlike the advantage we veterans had when we were green of an editor who had time to work with us to show us the right way to do the job, the AME's are as stretched as thin as the reporting staff and fearing for their own jobs just as much. A young reporter today is pretty much on their own. Think of the mistake you would have made, in print, if not for the intervention and one on one teaching of a good editor, copy editor and senior reporter back in the early days of your career. Chalk up "mentoring" as another victim of the corporate mantra of "all the news that fits into the CCI and design centers parameters."
Okay, Nashville, what's going on there?
I would not have made it were it not for mentors. That's why God made mentors.
In Nashville: letters editor gone. Local columnist gone. Music writer cut to part-time.
10:56 - It makes sense....Des Moines cuts Ag...Nashville cuts Music. Wow!
For non-editorial readers, the story 10:32 cites about the stay-at-home suburban housewife is potential libelous under our libel laws. The Supreme Court opened the door to criticizing anyone who is a public official, but the court retained privacy rights for individuals not in the news. It would be a very expensive case to fight if something like 10:32 describes appeaared in print.
@10:56 Please don't tell me they cut THE local columnist in Nashville ...
@ 11:09 Initials are J.U.
11:!2, is the music writer PC?
Yes. Nashville music writer is PC.
If advertising is doing editorial's work, would somebody sell advertising? Anybody? Bueller?
So Nashville is apparently giving up on music and sports. That's sound content strategy there.
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@11:30 - Lansing cut business and severely cut sports. There's cutting fat and then there's atrophy.
All of the posters who are decrying the lack of experience of the online kids are making good points, but in the case of the posting of the Religion News Service item, they're blaming the wrong people. It actually was posted by a print reporter with many years of experience, none of which seems to have provided this reporter with the healthy skepticism and news judgment that 8:24 so rightly calls for. So let's keep up the debate but broaden it to ask whether the lack of good old editing will do more harm to USAT's reputation than Jack Kelley ever did.
JU in nashville provided one of the few remaining truly local, truly reader-driven bits of content in the paper. Who is delivering the bad news there?
Can anyone give us an update on those laid off in Nashville. How many and what positions.
The delta story was not posted by a print journalist. The print journo wrote the extended correction followup. Get your facts straight.
Nashville update: Niche content editor EMSports columnist JBA sports writerAssistant photo editor HHWAM reporterThere are others previously cited here and a few that I don't know titles and do not want to post names.
Any more news from Nashville??
@ 2:03 metromix editor HB
My count in Nashville is 14.5, if you count the features editor who quit. Are they done, or are they still going?
If MD isn't cut in Nashville, that will be the biggest travesty of all.
I am sorry Nashville. Our site just went through this and we know it is difficult.
It does not look like phx's ad production dept. Will be consolidated tomorrow. Anyone know if it was delayed again or if phx will not be consolidated at all now?
Thanks, 2:29. Sorry for monopolizing the board today - a lot of us former staffers are desperate for info.
Hey 2:40 p.m., no need to be sorry. Many of us at other sites in Gannett, or formerly from other sites, do like to know what's going on elsewhere. Obviously Gannett won't say peep, which is why this blog is so valuable. I bet most of the workers, at least in editorial, at my former site are glued to the Blog today.
Ax to fall at Florida Today soon. Word has it 25 newsroom layoffs.
2:50, spoken like the true journalist you'll never become. Instead of nasty comments, perhaps you can spend your time studying what other news sites do. And who they're staffed by.
I fully agree with the concerns about the kiddies in online, but it's also a problem in print (which still pays most of the bills, Craig and Gracie). I come to work and wonder if i've detoured into Romper Room. I would estimate the average age of the "news" staff is under 35, and a good number are fresh out of, or still in, college. Their idea of journalism is copy/paste from a website. They don't know squat about Phoenix or Arizona, and they aren't aware enough to realize they don't know much. We all were greenhorns at one time, but back in the day there were some graybeards who took us under their wing to teach us a thing or two. That doesn't happen anymore, in part because the graybeards are gone and those still standing aren't old enough to grow a beard. Feeding the content monster is Job 1 -- writing a good, concise, informative story is old hat.
Can someone in Nashville provide a full rundown of the layoffs there? No names please, just titles and perhaps initials. So very sorry this is happening!
Partial list of Nashville layoffs from the Nashville Post:http://nashvillepost.com/blogs/postbusiness/2011/6/30/tennessean_newsroom_layoffs_begin
Worst part about getting fired today? Having to walk past the goddamn giant Deal Chicken cutout on my way into Human Resources. Shut UP, Deal Chicken!Tennessean casualties to date:Features editor MS; niche conent editor EM,(who's given a quarter of a century of awesome service to this place); NK, who was let go yesterday in mid-funeral; PC, who was probably the best-known music writer in Nashville(cut to part-time); Metromix editor HB; iconic sports columnist JB; sports reporter BM; higher education reporter JB; night reporter CE (who just won us about 37 national awards for his series on the gangs in Nashville); DAM reporter LO (who worked harder than any other three reporters put together); community columnist JU (who probably had more devoted readers than anyone else on the metro side); editorial page editor LS; assistant photo editor HH; night editor JM (another veteran who's been here longer than every member of management combined); and lovely administrative assistant BS. Ah, Nashville. It's been fun.Be nice to the people who are still employed, Gannett Blog. Their days are hard enough without you guys sniping at them. There are some amazing reporters still working at places like the Tennessean. It wouldn't kill you to highlight some of the good work they manage to do, in spite of the clownshoes who cut their paychecks.And in conclusion: Bite me, Deal Chicken.
My heart goes out to the ones laid off and the ones they leave behind. It's hard to know which of the two groups got the worse deal anymore.
Oh, wait, my lovely former colleague BS is a WAM reporter. Sorry about that, that was super-lame typing on my part. Still lovely, though!
Thank you, 4:06, for letting us know. So sorry this happened to you and the others in Nashville. Wishing you all amazing success with your next jobs.
10:37 Crotchfelt probably will do what she did in Arizona. It's typical Gannett management behavior. Do the same thing you did at your former property or copy something "wildly successful" that was done at another property.
Jeez, this sucks. Why weren't all these done in the same week? Are newsrooms getting gutting across several weeks?
I am one of those "grey beards" who pick up the Gannett newspaper and read it with great frustration - when did it happen? No date or time. Where is the person from? No town identifier or even dateline... What does that alphabet soup title mean? No explantion.Stories with tons of holes and even more assumptions.And by the way, many of us "grey beards" who remain in the newsroom have no desire to mentor these kids. Most already think they know everything... and just sneer at you for suggesting their story might lack context, facts, color and proper grammer.
Amen 5:07. The attitude seems to be "I know everything I need to" once they are hired. The sense of entitlement is amazing. As a fellow graybeard, I find it very frustrating.
Hubby and I do often read a story to each other and then, when the other person asks a question about some info that seems to be missing, ie, date, time, location, etc, the standard response is: "Sorry, that's not here because that would be a fact."
My thoughts to everyone in Nashville, and every other location affected by layoffs. Very sad.Those of us still riding this wreckage of a company better think about bailing out now.
As for 5:17's comment, if there is anyone still not thinking about the exit plan, please get some counseling for your severe denial problem. It's over folks. That screaming noise is the plane in deep dive.To return to the ever-delightful subject of Karen Crotchfelt:1) In the opinion of Bob Dickey, Michelle Krans and the other ranking delusionals, she walks on water.2) Crotchfelt is her married name. She chose that, never spent a moment with it on the playground, and it's no surprise that she is hard-bitten enough to enjoy it at some level.3) I have to ask this because I've seen it no place else. Why did she have to demote, then fire (eliminate) her marketing-VP-turned-director just a week or two before these layoffs? Couldn't be humane enough to just let it be part of the pack? Had to emasculate so fully as to single him out separately.Oh sorry. What was I thinking? That is her SOP.This company has been gutted by the wolves. Run sheep, run!
I live in Nashville and know this is far beyond a Tennessean problem or a Gannett problem. What has happened to newspaper and how they have been handled by the companies that run them is appalling. This is the ugly, dehumanizing effect of an industry that is being "uninvented" before our eyes, in much the same way the steel industry and other legacy industries were uninvented. Sadly, the people who run newspaper companies seem to be fresh our of ideas on how to reinvent themselves except to continuously pare their staff as they render themselves into complete irrelevance as a business. P.S.: Was "grammer" meant to be ironic, 5:06?
Two things: As for Nashville, is it a coincidence layoffs are coming on the last day of the month? Doesn't that mean there's no health insurance for July? I really want to know if this is how it works. Anyone?As for the graybeards - although I'm probably halfway to becoming one myself, I respectfully disagree that you can make such a generalization. Some of the most energetic, enthusiastic and ambitious reporters in our newsroom are fairly young...while a couple of the VERY WORST editors I have ever worked with are long-time Gannett employees.
5:44: At some point, he must have challenged her and won. Therefore, the public lynching.
It'd be nice if Romanesko picked up that bit about the Tennessean reporter losing her job by phone while traveling to a funeral. Just in case there are a few people left in the industry who don't know what a shithole Gannett is.Come to think of it, it'd be nice if WSJ did a story on Gannett with that as the context.
The fact that the company promoted someone as cold blooded and heartless as KC tells you all you need to know about how the company feels about its rank and file employees. All KC cares about is KC.
@12:55. The person who wrote the correction posted the original RNS story. Get YOUR facts straight.
Crotch is perfect for gannett, a dynamic, powerful woman to be feared. Definitely Crystal Palace material.
KC definitely favors women, but trust me, she will totally take down a female in "public", too. she's very smart, i'll definitely give her that...but personal skills? not a one.
7:05 Are you referring to the Controller in Indy? Can you tell us what happened to him?
3:07, I bet you ate your share of self-tainted crackers in the locker room, too. No wonder you are so sensitive!
When I graduated in 1995, I wanted nothing more that to work for a Gannett paper. Never did other than as a stringer on an election night in 2005. After 20 years of writing news, I left for another career. So glad I did.
8:22 exactly what is your point? What are you adding go the conversation with the exception of your homoerotic babble?
Deal Chicken says Silverman was tabbed one of “the most spectacular doofuses in the history of Detroit journalism.”
Nashville Update: Ever since the layoff's at the Tennessean the newspaper has gone downhill.. There is no weekend editor. They laid of Jerry Manley. None of the 4 Senior editors work on the weekends and leave early during the week. There is no leadership. NoneIt is comforting to know that all these editors who make six figure salaries are still employed. That's why so many good people that produced stories everyday and worked long hours had to be sacrificed They could have lost 3 out of the 4 senior editors in the newsroom and the Tennessean could have kept the newsroom staff. Four senior editors in a small newsroom. You have to be kidding. If the Crystal Palace is going for high salaries they should start with overpaid executive editors.To make matters worse, Publisher Carol Hudler's house husband keeps calling on the weekends hassling the staff and complaining that the web isn't being updated quickly enough. Online doesn't work on the weekends. (that is a whole other story) The copy desk has to do it. There is only 1 reporter working on weekends. Also Mr. Hudler, your wife laid off all those people in the newsroom. Why don't you ask her why things are not getting posted on the web quickly enough when your asking her permission to buy new furniture. .
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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