An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
I'll have only limited Internet access today, so I'll be moderating comments in advance of publication. I'll read and post them as soon as I can. Thanks for your patience!
Am I wrong, or is Newsgate just reinventing the wheel. I've puzzled about what real advantage we are getting out of this program. Yes, I can see what other parts of the operating center are doing, but do I really need to know that to do my regular job?
P.S. What is Newsgate doing that we didn't do before?
Well, it's making it harder to keep the website fresh because of the constant glitches, unlike before.It's much harder to find stories, unlike before. Because we now have to click around a lot more to find things, there's probably going to be increased incidences of carpal tunnel, unlike before. So we're all doing triage in our minds as to what we're willing to go through to get it done and get it done right. Unlike before.So you see, it has nothing to do with us or how we do our jobs. Somebody ran the numbers. Either they're trying to make the whole of Gannett one cohesive system and thus increase its value, or they're counting on NewsGate to help them eliminate even more positions. Probably both. But I'm just guessing. The one thing I know for sure is that it has absolutely nothing to do with us.
I've only been with Gannett 11 years, so I'm not yet eligible for a parole hearing.But one of few things that have made me feel good about Gannett in the last few years was the appointment of Kate Marymont as vice president in charge of things people actually care about. Her predecessor, Phil Currie, always seemed to be turning up, like a bad penny. But Ms. Marymont has been far less visible. Any insight into this from older and wiser heads?
I can see that coordinating with the Hubs and breaking down office stovepipes was an aim, but I am not sure that traditional ways of doing this would work OK or better. I thought of it as a management tool that managers could use to get a statistical analysis of what individuals on the staff are doing. But managers already know what the reporters are doing, and the suits see the paper each day so know what tallhe managers are doing. Coding stories to be used on Apps was already being done. I am totally mystified what we got for this money, other than a lesson in how to use this software. As you point out, it is more laborious to find stories, so there's no big labor savings to justify this program.
The Unemployment article post is certainly a very important piece of news.This info is a crucial indicator of the strength of the economy.The numbers tell us that an economic recovery is not happening.Revenues are not as high across the board as anticipated.Certainly this does not bode well in the minds of Gannett top planners.They are desparately in need of something that will tell them that economic boom is right around the corner.I remember 2 or 3 years ago that management's story was that Gannett wanted to be lean and mean so that when the economy rebounded and Gannett would be in position to take advantage of that recovery . Well, how is a double dip recession effecting that plan ? I guess even leaner days are ahead and the remaining employees will certainly be mean!
11:14 I think everyone in the upper ranks are preoccupied with how to make more cuts without reducing revenues or profits. I'm confident there is an easy way to do that, without eliminating their own jobs.
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1:03 PM ---Hi Craig! Let's meet at the country club for dinner and plan more cuts and get an up date on Dogslikeus.com. Call me... Bob
1:33 Be careful, you saw what happened in Robin's shop last week when Dickey was out-of-office golfing.
Re Maryam Banikarim. from an earlier Jim Post.One of the first programs she has introduced since arriving at Gannett is a speaker series in which other marketing leaders talk about how they built their business". "Is that so Martore, Dumbo and other Gannett executives can finally learn what MARKETING is? "quoting a fellow poster.Or is it to keep Maryam's ego fed...allowing her to run around with other egomaniacal CMOs. Who the hell cares about such a program!? With all the real issues we have to solve. Lame.
3:30 I feel sorry for you. I attended both presentations and they were great. But you go right on hating.
So much of this blog is laughable, mainly from ugly, powerless psyches projecting subplots that don't exist at all. Maryam is in charge of Gannett branding and marketing. How much she rescues or rebrands Gannett depends entirely on her talents, or lack of talents, the support she gets or the lack of support. She is not some conniving corporate fighter, and she surely is not fixated on Robin Pence, who is simply the PR person and not the power player people here think she is. The Maryam-Robin "feud" exists only here at this blog, and the amount of time spent on it here is really nuts. Similarly, although Gannett's mission is being reshaped in some scary ways that are rightfully upsetting to journalism and the public trust, nothing has been restructured so much that the SEC or stockholders need a legal accounting. The thought that Gracia and others would "go to jail" because they failed to tell stockholders about design hubs or a switch to ad-based coverage is naive and absurd. There are plenty of things to rail about here (things really do suck at Gannett), but taking things to fictional extremes only makes the whole site look bad and minimizes the real problems. Especially from people who deal in facts and should know better.
This week's Barron's has positive words for GCI, as well as for Washington Post, the New York Times and A.H. Belo.Here's what they have to say about GCI:"Gannett, at 14, trades for under seven times projected-2011 profit of $2.20 a share. Investors effectively pay little for Gannett's newspapers—including USA Today, 81 mostly small-market dailies, and U.K. regional papers—when factoring in the company's 23 TV stations around the country and digital properties, notably a 51% stake in CareerBuilder, a leading online help-wanted site. The TV stations could be worth $3 billion and the Internet properties another $1 billion. Investors, therefore, may be paying only two times annual-cash flow for the still-lucrative newspapers. A conservative Gannett is earmarking cash flow mainly for debt repayment, but some investors want a big boost in the dividend, now 1%. Fans think the stock could hit 17 this year."Of course, while value investors are very big on sum-of-the-parts analysis, the only way you can really cash in is if some of the parts are spun off or sold.I wouldn't buy the stock.
4:34 is worth paying attention to.
I like how Jim chimes in when he sets the tone for most of the gossip.Here's a tip, guy: Start moderating the page better, and maybe you'll get more factual information. Just a thought.
4:48 I am 100% responsible for everything on this blog.
I agree with 4:34. So much of the blog's bandwidth is wasted on character assassination and 1930s-like labor rhetoric that ignores the real problems of a shrinking company that has completely lost its way.And yes, Jim has played a role but he is in a tough spot. To remove unfounded postings would strip the place bare and be unfair to boot.But he could apply more common sense when people posit unfounded theories and conspiracies.Not that common sense will help with some people here. But it might at least raise the level of discourse a bit. When Jim speaks of finances and stocks in a sensible way, it does bring a bit of expertise that too many posters lack.But I agree with Jim: Everyone should read 4:34's post. Maybe we can get back to talking in ways that make sense.
3:30 you must be young and starry eyed. Good for you. The point is that we have serious issues to solve at this Company and the best thing Maryam can do is figure out how to market and sell more Gannett ad space, newspapers, apps, whatever.... to drive revenue and keep people's jobs. Speaker series are too professorial and academic in a time when we need to see actions. We don't have time for all this show and tell. Let's see some programs that make money and recapture Gannett's place in the minds of Americans.And shouldnt' the CMO also be figuring out how to motivate a seriously depressed work force?Speaker series are lame. I need to see more solid programs for her to win my trust.
I was disappointed too in the speaker series. Not in their quality, but the fact she'd do them at all.So much of the new Gannett "leadership" is people talking around the edges - speaker series and lists and consensus building and strategy plans instead of smart people doing smart things in a timely way that gets results.When people are afraid, they study rather than do, delay rather than lead, hire consultants rather than go with the guts that got them where they are in the first place.Gannett right now is very VERY afraid. Get those brown-bag lunches ready; that's the future. Speakers and study groups.
This blog allows those who believe they have no voice to actually have a voice. Yes, there are some nutty conspiracy theories and character assassinations that are just rediculous. Anyone who has been reading this blog for any amount of time knows to laugh those off and mostly ignore them. They take on an entertainment factor.On the other hand, we should hold ALL managers accountable for the work they are handsomly paid to do. Maryam is the first CMO of Gannett in 90 years. She's a member of the Operating Committee. Keeping an eye on her efforts is a fair thing for the workers of this company. I'm interested to see what she was hired to acheive and if she can impact Gannett in a positive way.
I don't believe anyone should be off-limits. Maryam and the others should and will be held accountable.I just think crazy fictions (like those cited by 4:34), entertaining as they might be, aren't the true story of what is going on.
The fact that anonymous posters are upsetting some people hows someone is hitting close to the target. But in the end, this is all anonymous and it's all fiction. Or isn't that true. So I don't mind the hyperbole or the rare fiction which is clearly that.
Sometimes lies and falsehoods are just that - lies and falsehoods. Doesn't mean they are "hitting close to the mark."Or hitting close at all.
The speaker series is a real program, not fiction....the only one GANNETT could site in Adage. I was disappointed to read this was the best she has done so far. Maryam, we are holding you accountable for marketing GANNETT. Bring us programs that move revenue, bring assetts together, give our advertisers a reason to buy and our readers a reason to read.That's MARKETING! Not a brown bag lunch to hear other marketers talk about their own acheivements. This is her BIG first initiative? She's got to deliver more than that.
Hard to step in here, but I think what 4:34 is saying is that Jim and others might step in more and clear the air sometimes.There are people who know things and it would not hurt to offer a touch of truth. That doesn't mean whitewash things, but crazy talk should somehow be branded as such.There is enough REAL craziness going on without inventing imaginary little monsters for Lady Gagannett.
Lady Gagannett! Inspired!!Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh!Caught in a bad romanceOh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh!Caught in a bad romance
P.S. This is about a communications company, which is involved in making a lot of money from selling words in the English language. If they can't figure out how to deal with this blog then we are truly in deep do-do. I see some business site put a valuatioh of $121,000 on this blog, (up from $108,000 when I checked two weeks ago) and there are about 2,600 readers here a day. That compares to $3.5 billion in market value for GCI and millions of readers. GCI has 50,000 employees, so not even all Gannett employees know about this blog.http://bizinformation.co/www.gannettblog.blogspot.com
5:20 says it best and is in the know. If we had real leadership at the top, things would be transparent, in- fighting would not be tolerated, real team building between divisions would exist and the walls would all be torn down. We would cheer on each other instead of backstabbing.Then....there would be no need for a blog.Oh the Land of Oz.
5:35 Then they are harmless, and no one is upset.
4:34 How come everytime I see Gracia, I see Robin? Powerless?
ANONYMOUS SAID... AFTER 4 MONTHS CORPORATE HAS ANNOUNCE M.S. JANET HASSON HAS BEEN PROMOTED TO NEW PUBLISHER IN WESTCHESER SITE. TONY SIMMONS CANNOT BE HAPPY ABOUT THIS HE WAS NEXT IN LINE IN MY OPINION WATCH OUT.
5:24 If there is a "true story," then why isn't Pence out there selling it? One press release in 12 days, and even that was screwed up.
I have always heard that morale is bad, and that morale is bad everywhere in the news business and that newsapers are failing and...Yet why is Gannett the only company with a blog like this, with real teeth and anger and even communication even if much is suspect?Jim takes a lot of crap but he is part of the reason. He is dedicated and comes up with reporting on his own.But Jim isn't so singular that others couldn't do it. There are layoffs everywhere in the business, newsrooms shutting down, laying off people by the hundreds.Why only here is there an atmosphere conducive to this blog? Where is the Times blog, the Post blog, the Tribiune blog, the McClatchy blog, an AP blog, a Bloomberg blog? Why only here is there a blog like this?It is because Gannett is undergoing something singular, something has become undone in a way not seen elsewhere, a breaking of the trust that used to hold the organization together. Choices are made -- cut back deliveries, slash returns, don't cover things, use file footage, don't staff stations overnight, don't factcheck copy, run anything with cleavage, ask readers to report rather than reporters, remove honor boxes, don't run scores, don't rush updating scores on websistes, don't deliver to homes anymore - that just wouldn't happen when people had a common goal. The slogan should be 'What the hell, no one cares anymore.'Gannett has no journalistic soul anymore, no heroic editors or publishers fighting to stave off cuts, even if they fail. What does Gannett stand for?A brand without a reason can't last long.This blog exists and thrives because despite thousands of good people at Gannett, many of them managers and leaders, the company has gone off the rails in a fundamental way.Look at what has become of reporting at Westchester, the market-first dizziness at USA TODAY, the Cincy newsroom, the design hubs, the business collapse at Arizona despite the company's strongest journalism there, the digital confusion that stalls every initiative.Gannett is a train wreck beyond all other media companies. No wonder there's a blog.
5:02 Yes, there are an awful lof of pro-union socialists posting on this board and quietly humming the Internationale to themselves. I can see that from the viciousness of the underhanded attacks on some of the most brilliant captains of industry in the history of journalism.
To 6 p.m., well put post. It summed it all up so nicely.
5:35 For some reason, I think we are hitting even closer than we believe we are.
Melanomas again, but why is Your Life publishing HealthDaily stories today that appeared four days ago in other publications?http://www.alicepeckday.org/healthday_news/melanoma_vaccine_shows_promise_in_trial
5:57 no need to shout.
Employee morale and the lack of inspirational leadership is Gannett's elephant in the room.
nicely stated, 6. Nailed it.
Pence not a power player. Sure, just like the aide who follows Obama around carrying an attache case agents call "the football."
The assessment by 6:00 is accurate.This is a company in disarray, fearful and trembling. There are people now in high places who sneer at what the company does (newsgathering), and want to replace it with the cheapest of media streams, similar to the $5 a column filler purchased by shopper newspapers at the beach.As if readers in print or online won't notice.The smell of fear and failure is everywhere with 6 people chasing and analyzing things for five months that two non-fearful people used to do in a week.Bad times at Gannett. Very bad times.
Readers of this blog rightfully question the future of Gannett in general and their local publication specifically. To most, and myself included, it seems that we are heading towards an iceberg, and there is no one compentent at the helm to avert disaster. When I first got hired, I was told over and over again what a wonderful company this was, and all the good things they did for the employees. It was family oriented and supportive on many levels, but things have changed since then.I want to highlight a few here starting with sick leave. Once we got 5 days per year, and any unused days was rolled over to the next, and so on and so on. Now we have 7 days, use them or lose them, where some do and other don't. Being in good health and coming to work every day is now punished.Back in the day you could collect a bonus if your spouse carried the insurance burden, getting up to $700 a year for not being an expense for medical benefits. They lowered the "bonus" over 2 years and then discontinued it all together.I was promised a monthly retirement check after being vested and being elligible for retirement payment, but that changed to an increasing lump sum payment, based on a secret formula using years of service and pay history, to be paid out upon termination. That little goodie got frozen and replaced with an increase to 401K contributions, knowing that many, if not most, wouldn't or couldn't increase their own contributions to the 401K.None of the above was done to benefit the employee, but instead was done to increase profit (cut loss?) and line the pockets of higher up's with increased bonuses. We are now expected to do twice or trice the work for no compensation. My work has suffered the last few years, because I simply do not have enough time in the day to get everything done. No raise in sight (possibly a pay cut to reward me) but a few well placed "Thank You's" for a job well done, but that doesn't feed me or my family.When I joined the Gannett family, I basically signed a contract containing what my obligations to the company were. I would be held responsible, and possibly terminated if I didn't hold up my end of the deal, but they have changed the rules of the game and I (we) have no recourse. I am sure it is legal, but I know it is immoral!Just proves the point, that in a sandbox, the one with the toys makes the rules. I am looking elsewhere and my little paper will be screwed when I leave.
The lemming trolls are on the march tonight. They are the ones claiming the character assassinations "hit the target." How were these people ever at a newspaper?5:30, 5:48, and 7:05 have no idea what they are talking about.
6:00 says: Gannett has no journalistic soul anymore, no heroic editors or publishers fighting to stave off cuts, even if they fail. What does Gannett stand for?A brand without a reason can't last long.Maryam, anything in your resume or your life make you qualified to understand this...how the company should be about NEWS/JOURNALISM?Everyone understands platforms are diverse....i'll take my news anyway it comes. BUT GIVE ME SOME NEWS!!If you want to be successful at this company and actually do something amazing for the world of Journalism, visit a few newspapers...and newsrooms at the TV stations, and find a way to give a pulse back to Journalism at GANNETT. The NYT and WSJ are both good examples of quality journalism and they are winning the game.
I can't stand reading this blog because of the negativity, constant inaccurate speculation and ongoing harassment among posters. But unfortunately, I have to read it to know what is really going on. There is too much spin.There is a fundamental mistrust that could be significantly impacted by open communication vs bits and pieces through press releases. How do you do anything if there isn't trust? Get that and this blog goes away. Without trust, we fall apart like anythong else. Get trust, and we can focus on where we need to go.
6:00PM, 'What the hell, no one cares anymore.' That should be the new Gannett marketing message.10:32PM, watch you back, there's not many of us leave that know how it use to be.
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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