Sunday, June 05, 2011

May 30-June 5 | Your News & Comments: Part 6

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24 comments:

  1. Part 5 of this discussion was among the most interesting and non-crazed discussions about the real problems at Gannett.

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  2. Part 5 is a very good thread, worth a second read, despite the transparent attempt to take it south with name-calling and baiting.

    It demonstrates that there are still many highly intelligent and articulate people left at Gannett who care about the company's future.

    So bravo to those who take the time to post well-thought-out comments. Maybe the cloistered few who are running Gannett into the ground (and enriching themselves as quickly as they can) will eventually be disabused of their notion that everyone around them is too stupid, overworked or unaccomplished to notice.

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  3. I agree with the comments about Part 5. And the post by Anonymous@4:34 p.m. in Part 5 is so sound, so reasoned and so intelligent that it ought to be somehow incorporated into the Home page of this website. From time to time I have tried to say essentially the same things, though less effectively than that writer did.

    On another topic -- the link to the six-figure valuation of this website in Part 5 is interesting and was news to me. However, as Jim well knows the valuation is fraught with problems, including the one that any conventional business faces when its business is too dependent on one or a few customers.

    The widget maker whose business is booming is still in trouble if 80 percent of its sales are to a single customer because the loss of that customer means it's out of business. This website is valuable only because it attracts eyeballs. Those eyeballs are here because GCI is a certain kind of company in a certain kind of circumstance and this company and its plight are, in a sense, like it or not, at the center of their world. If and when that changes, the eyeballs will head elsewhere and this site's valuation will head south, too. Simply put, Gannett blog is a business with one client and, as such, is one breaking news alert on CNBC away from obsolescence. But Jim is smart and already knows that.

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  4. 9:50 I have no idea how that website put a $100,000-plus value on this blog. Dollar-wise, it's worth nothing to virtually anyone but me or to Corporate.

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  5. I bet Corporate would pay you $100,000 to kill it.

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  6. Part 5 of this thread is the best summary of the state of affairs at Gannett, and without the usual vitriole.

    The comments by 6:00 are especially worth reading. It would be nice if discussions could remain as reasoned here, whether you agree or not with what is being said.

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  7. Yes, part 5 was a good read. Just let me point this out. Were I work we have no money to buy parts when the press goes down. They scramble to fix it in ways I would have never thought, especially for working for my boss , who is not that type of Director. From a high,high up person in Gannet told me point blank a month or so ago...If we do not have a decent 2nd Quarter, Q3 is going to be ugly, as in massive layoffs, furloughs, printing plants shutting down you all know the rest of good things to come. From what I understand Q2 was not good. Just stating the facts

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  8. Like I said in this blog not long ago, THE DAY'S OF BIG IRON ARE COMING TO AN END. The internet and online content can and never will bring in the cash that reading the paper did, but The screwballs at corp. don't care as long as they make millions. They will keep closing plants and laying off until nobodies left, just give them some time. My thought is maybe 5 years and will all be done. If you think other wise you have no clue. Been with this company for 25 years and you do not need a crystal ball to see it coming, as for me I cant wait to take a long vacation and find something else to do. It is no longer a joy to go to work, its more like gong to jail for the day

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  9. As a college journalism major, what advice would you give today? Is there anyplace better to work than anywhere else?

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  10. 1:47 As long as college majors fully realize the storm they are walking into, I would not discourage anyone from getting into the business. It gave me a hell of a lot, and I must say I enjoyed every day of it. I don't know what the future will bring, and I don't know how newspapers will make the transition to digital, or if indeed they can make that transition and survive.
    I have slowly come to the conclusion myself that digital and newspapers are incompatible, and the faster we separate the digital operations from the old print, the better for both. People are willing to take liberties with digital (e.g. this blog) that we could never take in print. And print operates under a set of rules that digital doesn't embrace As we also see from this blog, there are advantages to digital that there is not in print.
    I would say I am very conservative, but I am coming to a conclusion that there's still life left in print, although clearly not the comfortable profit margins for business that there once were. Some people are as comfortable with newspapers as an old pair of shoes, and I work each day not to let them down. We have to maintain quality standards that make newspapers different from shopper, and we have to avoid jumping on the technological flavor-of-the- month. We are exhausting ourelves at this rate, and the Web is such a bottomless pit that we can never fill it. I should note I have colleagues who for whatever reason don't see it my way, and I am sure you will hear from them.

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  11. 2:07 fantastic post! I think you are right. I would not trust a website to do any indepth reporting. PLEASE allow print to survive somewhere in the U.S.
    The rest of the world still loves newspapers and they know a lot more than we do.

    The Great USA is all about capitalism and chasing the latest new thing.
    Journalism is critical and it will find its voice again I am certain.

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  12. Get into some other media outlet other than newspapers, we are not gong to be around long enough for you to have a decent career. TV, radio, not NEWSPAPERS

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  13. TV is going through similar things to what we have seen, especially with the arrival of anytime TV that erodes the finances they need to run their newsrooms. As far as radio is concerned, are there any all-news stations left except maybe on Sirus? Drive around the country, and you might be surprised how little valid news your car radio tunes in.

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  14. TV, radio not going to be much of a future either. Not traditional form. Everything will be morphed into digital properties and they'll be highly fragmented. Whether the wages amount to a living wage remains to be seen. sorry I can't be more optimistic.

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  15. 3:07 The one and only thing that print has going for it is that it attempts to verify what it publishes. If you read a story published by the New York Times or some of the big papers, you put some additional faith in what it says because of the brand. If you tarnish that brand in any way, you harm the product. This is words we are dealing with, not iron and plastic. You can't turn the key or push a button to determine if a story works as promised and is valid. As a consumer, you can only build faith by repeat experience. I wouldn't think we would want to give anyone a reason to believe their faith is not well-placed.

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  16. With the exception of NPR, PBS and 60 Minutes, most broadcast stories originate from a print source. It kills me to see Time magazine, for instance, losing money. I trust the NYTimes to tell the truth and investigate a story. To a lesser degree, the WSJ. However, since Murdoch took over WSJ, even that is showing cracks.

    Within Gannett, the bigger papers like the Freep and Enquirer seem to be putting out pretty good papers. USAToday has always been McPaper, news-lite. But it's had a great brand. A lot of personal attacks on Heather Frank but she was hired by Hunke to execute a strategy. Accountability still resides with Hunke and Dubow on the USAT changes.

    Is there anybody at USAT who thinks this is working? Anyone willing to say yes it's got a chance?

    Maybe it just needs more time.

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  17. 5:03 It's not Time magazine that is losing money. It is Newsweek. Time is in fine shape. And, no, I doubt any here willingly will say that Heather and the AOL crew has a chance.

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  18. furloughed fury6/05/2011 7:56 PM

    Here's an interesting story about how Walmart is scrambling to increase profits and how the CEO could face a show down with share holders even though the big W increased profits 4.4%. Which begs the question, if shareholders are this angry at Walmart, where money IS being made, why are Gannett shareholders asleep at the switch as the five failures play smoke and mirrors with the companies future?
    Here's the article: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/06/03/walton-family-faces-a-tough-decision-about-walmarts-ceo/?ncid=webmail

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  19. Speaking of how disparate Gannett shareholders might gain a greater voice with management: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/business/05gret.html?ref=todayspaper

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  20. Heather is executing Hunke's strategy? What exactly is Hunke's strategy other then executing what Craig and Gracia want him to do which is cut-cut-cut? Do you mean the verticals strategy? Whose idea was that anyway? Hunke? Rudd Davis? All I see is a lot of musical chairs. Moving people and departments here and there and then moving them back and then moving them again. No one knows what they are supposed to be doing. There is utter confusion. I bet if you gave everyone the Gallup/Strengths Finder questions now, you'd see some record low results. Do you know what's expected of you? No. Do you have the tools you need to do your job? No. Do you have a best friend at work? No, I did but they were laid off or got the heck out. It's so sad what's happening to this company. And, it didn't have to happen. If only we had leaders at the top with some class and integrity. But, they ran out all the good folks who had the passion, smarts and spirit of teamwork needed to succeed. It is so hard to watch.

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  21. I don't want to start blasting Heather again, but the verticals/are in deep trouble. Piss poor strategy catering soft features to women. Her management team of ex gaolers has no clue about what to do and they don't want to get their hands dirty doing actual work. Plus they can't sell any ads. The combination is awful. What they decide to put up on Your Life is laughable and destroying what little credibility Usa Today has left.

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  23. It's not the women's stories in Your Life that bothers me. It's the melanoma stories. I can count four or five melanoma stories this month. I think someone at Your Life really likes the word: it does sort of roll in your mouth like a Dove bar with caramel sauce. Say melanoma to yourself and you will see what I mean.

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  24. 3:20 a.m. is an automated message from a spammer. Don't click on the link.

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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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