Wednesday, June 01, 2011

May 30-June 5 | Your News & Comments: Part 2

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44 comments:

  1. I had a flash of light in the middle of the night, and it hit me: they've screwed up. Not at all surprising, but these execs aren't fit for prime-time. They can't be trusted to get anything right.
    As we all can see they are going ahead with a recorganization of the company, and have already made changes at USA Today bringing in Heather and changing how they refer to the newspaaper.
    But now they realize this is a HUGE thing. They can't reorganize the company without telling stockholders, and informing them publicly of their intentions. As a publicly held stockholding company, they have a legal responsibility to maintain the integrity of the company, and not mess around deliberately in ways that would harm stockholder equity.
    So where's the press release, and where is Robin to answer questions from reporters?
    If they run what they've done past a lawyer, I think they might see that's exactly what they are doing, and they are facing stockholders suits from now until Doomsday. They don't own this company: stockholders do. Craig's Great Falls home will be auctioned off, and everyone involved will be held liable for what amounts as public theft.
    So they have to announce it all publicly and take other legal steps such as having the board of directors approve it, etc.
    They haven't done that, and now they are figuring out how to back-peddle. Speak of lousy management of a major U.S. corporation, and this has to go at the head of lists for stupid moves.
    Stay tuned: If my intuition is right, we will hear a lot more real soon.

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  2. If there is a restructuring, aren't stockholders supposed to approve it with a vote at the annual meeting?

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  3. Everyone involved down the person who wrote the press release?

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  4. Interesting item on another thread saying Maryam and Payne (a lawyer) are now visiting sites. When the walls are collapsing around you and you can't move, what's the only hope you have left to save your skin: Roadtrip.

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  5. @3:58 AM: Which movie did you pull that plot from?

    WC: "mated" -- i.e., what Craig and Gracia did to produce that three-headed penny-pinching love child!

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  6. Feels like the calm before the storm doesn't it?

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  7. Had to check it out... "All Within Reach" is indeed the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commision's slogan. Here's their website...

    http://www.explorestlouis.com/cvc/index.asp

    Gannett actually paid someone to come up with an already in use slogan. How generic.

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  8. To Arizona Republic employees.... I've been hearing this rumor for the past week. In 2014, Republic shifts production to digital (unlikely, in my opinion) or farms everything out to a subcontracting printer (more like Gannett's MO.) Anyone in the know on this?

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  9. You never know how much you depend on your laptop -- until it's gone. And mine is gone, for 21 more hours.

    Until then, I'm relying on an iPhone and an iPad, which limits how much I can post.

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  10. It's also the slogan of Federal Way, Wash., and Ogden, Utah. And the Bell System once used "it's all within your reach." Copycats

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  11. Why do I feel someone's hand on my knee when I read "it's all within your reach?"

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  12. Not your knee. That's not the way this crew likes to screw its workers.

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  13. Re: 9:43 AM

    I can't see the Republic transitioning entirely to digital by 2014. They make too much money from the newspaper. Not as much as they would like, but still a lot.

    It would be hard for them to farm printing out to a subcontractor based purely on the paper's size. They currently have two presses and lots of products that require time on the press. There's no other press operation in Phoenix (and probably not in Arizona) that could handle the Republic's needs.

    They could sell or spin off the presses and then outsource the work to whoever ends up with the hardware. I could see them doing that.

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  14. All of this hand wringing, at least at usa today, leads me to believe heather frank will soon lead an all digital operation with dummed down content and a greatly reduced staff. A model for community papers that will ultimately destroy whatever residual credibility we have left. Only her departure will convince me otherwise. Im sorry. This is the wrong path.

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  15. Ah, but I thought the iPad was the end all be all. Surely you can survive with just that.

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  16. 9:51 Starbucks or Seattle's Best?

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  17. Craig does love his lil I pad. But you can't give content away for free, oh great bearded one.

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  18. This blog is fading into the sunset. Look at how few comments there are, and look at how lame they are.

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  19. Glenn Beck's "Deal Chicken" has launched:
    http://www.markdown.com/

    Once again, our "big thinkers" are not only derivative, but late to the table.

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  20. Brighten up. You can't be Joe Bfstplk all the time and have any fun.

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  21. 9:43am here...
    Actually I'm thinking the Republic will be a much smaller product in 2014 which would make this rumor seem plausible. Have you seen the "A" section lately? Dreadful. When they shut down the three presses at their east valley center in '07 they went God knows where. I hear they're being held hostage in a warehouse in Cottonwood, AZ. Who knows where they might pop up next? Hindsight is 20/20 but Gannett could have utilized these presses to print the USA Today and now newtered Tucson Citizen, JOA not withstanding with Arizona Daily Star. But Gannett has its own agenda. BTW, Republic has five presses. Four of its own and one for NYT's edition.

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  22. Not even the stock analysts get the new Gannett logo:
    http://www.fnno.com/story/market-movers/331-shares-gannett-under-pressure-down-20-market-movers

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  23. If we have a new logo, shouldn't Robin make sure the word gets out? We need some sort of public relations campaign to get everyone on board. It took everyone no time to catch up when Aflac changed its logo to include the duck and it's now America's favorite commercial.

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  24. Ominous: look how the red line is crossing the green. Watch out.

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  25. 1:08 forgot the link:
    http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2011/05/19/gannett-passes-this-key-test.aspx

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  26. 11:30 am - It's quiet for a reason, something is up. Your post however is pretty lame.

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  27. 1:23 Note all the closed-door meetings and guilty eyes. If this was a jury returning from deliberations, I would figure I would be a goner.

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  28. 1:30 p.m. - You were a goner when you accepted a job with Gannett. Ha

    (Unless of course you worked for a formerly great paper purchased by Gannett then turned into a circulation-plunging, quality-lacking, hacked and whacked shell of its former self... then it's not your fault... hahah)

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  29. Jim (9:51am): glad you're ok but sorry about loss - was getting worried about you.

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  30. Hope the sales folks have lots of advertising orders locked down for the coming months. Between yesterday and today's economic news, I think things got a whole lot tougher for everyone.

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  31. We are all f*****. And the blissful idiots running the place just dont give a rat's ass.

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  32. 8:17 AM: Night of the Living Dead

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  33. We are f'ckd. Housing values continue to sink, job creation is weakening while millions remain unemployed, car sales are slowing and gas prices are up 20% over last year. I don't care what those fat-cats on Wall Street say since they make out like bandits in good times and bad but this is NOT an economic recovery.

    Meanwhile back at the ranch, the quality of our content keeps sinking while more layoffs are coming.

    Like I said, we're f'ckd.

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  34. It is easy to complain. How do all the savvy business people purpose we turn this ship around? The financials must be there in order to put the products out.

    There are positions higher up I believe we can get rid of to put several support staff back on the payroll. Doing so would enable sales to sell and editorial to write more.

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  35. Craig Sevier6/01/2011 10:33 PM

    I've never been out of work for this long in my life. In fact, I've never been out of work. Never laid-off. Certainly never fired in my whole life -- although a manager at my site loved to tell my colleagues the contrary, the maligning, slanderous bigot.

    As for being hired now? One, I'm unemployed. Steerike 1! Two, I'm 57. Steerike 2! My entire career, credibility, experience and talent all for naught.

    It is, to be sure, mind-boggling.

    But that's O.K. -- I have the proceeds from a Gannett pension, and I managed my 401(k) investments each and every fiscal quarter ever since its inception in the late 80's (or early 90's?).

    I have no house payments. No car payments. Certainly no alimony. And no credit debt.

    My health is surprisingly improved now that I don't work for Gannett anymore, dedicated as I was to spending significant hours in a tediously toxic, even hostile, environment for the sake of "the cause." What I do. My lifelong connection to all things media: typesetting, editing, reporting, writing features, drawing editorial cartoons, designing advertising and becoming far more savvy about digital tech than my employer ever was.

    But here's the rub. I've been sidelined, but it's an inconvenience if not an outright insult. Others, younger, they have all those things I don't, e.g., they have house payments. Car payments. Alimony maybe. And in this consumerist culture, definitely credit debt.

    Meanwhile lamestream media keeps yapping about "economic recovery." Well, I'm not being hired. And neither are younger generations.

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  36. The Washington Post's story about the new guy at the Newseum contains little actual news:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/james-c-duff-is-named-president-of-the-newseum/2011/05/31/AGXMPhFH_story.html?hpid=z10

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  37. Craig Sevier6/01/2011 10:44 PM

    Clarification: Only at Gannett did I do design! Here's why: I have no degree, which is not uncommon in my generation; paper was not more valuable than experience.

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  38. has anyone heard of any upcoming layoffs or furloughs,just saying?

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  39. Most of the remaining sites will move over to GPC within the next 2 months, expect layoffs any time at those papers... Out of curiosity, can we hear from any of the artists that work at these consolidated production centers? We've all heard what the quality of work coming out of these centers is like from sales staff, but what say you? I can only imagine a sweat shop with an endless barrage of ads pouring in as you frantically slap together proofs with no regard to accuracy, quality or design... Do you in turn outsource the production even further when the workload backs up? Just would like to hear how the work environment is and how gannett treats you folks?

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  40. 11:52 People who someone once felt have more brains than I are still struggling to figure that out. Just sit back and munch on your popcorn, and see what happens next. The longer this goes on, somehow I think a big layoff won't happen and anything they come up with turns out either to be a dud, or unexpectedly supercharged with unbelievable electricity. Rebranding, reorganizing, renaming and Heather have all been obvious and almost immediate disasters. They have got to find the new, winning idea or phrase. Hey, brains trust, have you thought about hiring an outside consultant: you know, someone who can come up with a bright idea in a couple of days? What's more, those debacles have shown what true idiots they really are, and don't you know they really know it. Perversely, I am somewhat enjoying this part of the movie because some of the people who used to get in my hair now are entangled in dealing and sorting through problems that can't be resolved. I learned a long time ago that you don't want to put your hand between a dog and his food, so since they are enjoying their kibbles so much and tackling their meal with such verve and energy, leave the brains alone. I must admit, however, I'm getting a tad annoyed with the word dysfunction. I think it's because it's got that "y" in it.

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  41. The blob is hungry and due to devour its next victim any minute...

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  42. I read "the chain gang" many, many years ago, while working for a competitor. I must admit, I didn't think ANY company could be that negative and just nasty. Then I went to work for Gannett. Well, let's just say this, my eyes got opened plenty wide. It's such a sad state of affairs these days. Those that literally built this industry are being pushed out to make room for the "younguns"...and what that generation doesn't realize yet is that they are considered "disposable"...doesn't mean much to them now, they still think they're pretty invincible. But give it 10-15 years, and there will be serious issues. And what is with the world class stuff? What about any Gannett property is world class? Just because you say it doesn't make it so. They've yet to put their money where their mouth is.

    I think the prediction in Phoenix that it will be a digital product by 2014 might be a little aggressive, but it could and probably will happen at some point. The paper is dismal on a good day anymore, including Sunday. And there really isn't any "journalism" anymore. Very sad. You can literally read cover to cover in 10 minutes. And relative to some categories, such as sports, you can get MUCH better coverage online, even at the local level!

    Maybe if the top dogs didn't worry about THEIR bottom line as much, they might focus a bit more on the people. Seems that would be a world class move. How many feel that if the top 3 donated just their bonuses in 2010, that furloughs could have been prevented in 2010 AND 2011? I honestly don't know how they accept that kind of money in good conscience when so many suffered to make it happen.

    Just my 3 cents.

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  43. Every day Phoenix keeps pouring salemen and effort into that Deal Chicken turkey, the day comes closer when they will have no choice but to flip to digital only.

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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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