Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 11-17 | Your News & Comments: Part 2

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  1. Someone asked about staffing at the Home News Tribune yesterday, and I'd also like to know more about that from anyone who could shed a little light. There's been a few rumors swirling around here that I'd love to sort out:

    1. Are there really only four reporters left at the Daily Record?
    2. Have people at the APP been reassigned to the Courier News because they decimated their staff up there so much?

    And I know it isn't Gannett, but I'm wondering how the Star Ledger is doing with staffing these days, especially municipal reporters.

  2. I believe all these posts are rather humorous.
    So much passion and caring it seems, concerning the Gannett organization.....sort of like it is your own corporation.Do any of these concerns mean absolutely anything to Gannett.
    You current Gannett employees mean nothing to corporate management. You apparently care so very deeply about a company that will kick you out the door and laugh when it hits you in the ass.The point is ,why give a damn...it means NOTHING. You are just a disposable piece of trash,to be thrown out when the time is right.

  3. 8:31: There is always hope. I know you will all find this humerious, but what if Dubow and Moratore are coming to the sites to see if there is something or someone out there who has a way of making this a better organization? We have all been asking them to reach out to find their best and brightest employees, and get rid of the problem people. Maybe they are going to attempt to do this. You can't have it both ways. You bash if they don't come to the sites, you bash if they do. Which way do you want it? I think you're right in your belief that they don't care about their employees, but maybe they will learn something while they're out on the road that will make them care. I hope they come to my site.

  4. Will there be any changes in direction from the new CDO or just more of the same?

  5. 11:02 He's in the same boat as Maryam and can't go anywhere because of the constipation at the top. He's been so quiet I'm sure he's come up with something, but if no one bothers reading his suggestions, why bother. If you look up and down this corporate structure no one is doing much of anything except Dickey, when he's not on the golf course trying out his new Honma clubs.

  6. It is pathetic what has become of the Home News Tribune, once the dominant paper in Middlesex County (NJ) with a population of 800,000 - home to Rutgers, Johnson & Johnson, colorful (and crooked) politicians and gay American who became governor. Among the paper's alumni are Anna Quindlan, Mike Taibbi and Robert Caro. There are now four reporters. The last layoffs included the most tech savvy reporter (so much for the "new media" crap) and the chief photographer. The life-sucking, bonus babies in McLean must be overjoyed at having to pay a staff that can be wedged into a booth at a Route 18 diner

  7. " ... There is always hope. I know you will all find this humerious, but what if Dubow and Moratore are coming to the sites to see if there is something or someone out there who has a way of making this a better organization?"

    Yes, we're sure CD will spot that person in the newsroom, grab 'em by the lapels, slap on the back for great job done and promise to give 100 percent of all of his future, seven-figure bonuses toward such innovation that benefits the company until a sustainable, revenue-growth model is achieved! Yes, it shall happen this way!!!

    And then we'll all wake up from this utopian fantasy, realize that all of this is just posturing and/or a way to hatch yet another "big plan" that will result in reduced headcount and cannibalized products that can't be sold.

  8. 8:31 -- The problem is, top management can't find the people who might actually make the company prosper because those people are free thinkers. The Gannett way has long been promoting ass kissers and those who won't make waves. Since these people are in the top positions, they make sure that anyone who isn't like them is kept locked away in a dark corner, particularly when big wigs visit. In short, Gannett's dictatorial management style has led us to collapse. When you create a system where ideas can only come from the top, your company dies when those at the top are mediocre. And, even if those folks realize their follies, it's become too late for them to change things without firing all of the operating committee personnel at the local sites.

  9. 11:17 It appears that your ignorance doesn't stop your spouting. Clearly, accuracy is not your strong suit. Sadly, you're not alone.

    I read about passion for this company, when in fact it's resistance to change and lack of support for your co-workers who may have an idea different than their own.

    For example, there are numerous jabs regarding Deal Chicken, when in fact there are several co-workers who are working smart and hard to deliver a quality product, with the knowledge that they are doing good for the whole company.

  10. 12:13: "...what if Dubow and Moratore are coming to the sites to see if there is something or someone out there who has a way of making this a better organization?"

    If that's the case, they should visit the smaller papers that have been forced to do more with less for a lot longer while the savings pulled from their bottom line was (and is) used to prop up the Top 31.

    High-paid metro managers know very little about how to work on a shoestring budget. If that's what Gannett it going to force its managers to do, then it's time to turn to the managers who have been doing it for years, even decades.

    Come on Craig, Gracia; take off your blinders and visit the small sites to see the new reality for the survival of this company. The lessons learned there from cost-conscious managers who care about their product, people and community are the ones that can save this company. If you follow the lead of people who care only to line their pockets while sacrificing people (our "most valuable resource" as the old Gannett once touted)then we're certainly doomed.

    If you really want to make this a profitable company that protects the constitution, serves its purpose as a check on government and is the heartbeat of democracy our founding fathers saw it to be, that's what you'll do. Otherwise, you're spitting in the face of not only your employees, but our nation, our constitution and our democratic way of life.

  11. Has Gannettblog become a sort of watchdog site for corporate to find out what's really going on in the field?

    The corporate culture snuffs out comment from the minions, but if it comes anonymously, has anyone experienced a case where the information first reported here was followed up with a call from corporate looking for more details?

    Seems to be happening at PointRoll.

  12. Regarding site visits from Dubow and Martore: they visited our site over a year ago, did a huge "state of the union" address, but clearly did NOT want to be asked tough questions in that venue, and we were all pretty much then shot down. Now mind you, there were probably 300 people at this "event", which was a TOTAL waste of time. Something that had been preached to us with the "World Class" debacle was that everything that happened would be "bottoms up". Well, 18 months later, **it STILL doesn't come from the bottom up, nobody listens to the bottom, and everything gets shoved down throats regardless of right or wrong. And I can assure you, those with voices are quickly weeded out...it's just the culture from the very top down, and I mean Dubow and Martore. Those who don't say "how high", when Gannett says JUMP, are not popular at all within Gannett. It's SO sad to think of the quality people even I used to work with that never really had a voice, no matter how hard we fought.

  13. 1:35 -- Exactly. And that's why this company is failing. Innovative companies tap all their resources and value employees who make waves ... as long as they are constructive waves. Gannett does its damndest to beat these people into step and it certainly never promotes them. Most of the people in high-ranking positions are good at two things. Talking (even if they aren't saying anything relevant) and kissing ass.

  14. 1:01 pm - most definitely it happens. I have been on the receiving end of those calls from Corporate when they are trying to chase down a rumor that started on Gannettblog. Gracia reads Gannettblog religiously and treats anonymous "tips" as gospel for her witch hunts. It is really pathetic.

  15. The 12:23 analysis is brilliant. It explains why the company has little chance of recovering. It puts one in mind of Stephen Ambrose's description of a key reason the Allies defeated the Axis powers in World War II. American soldiers at any rank offered suggestions to overcome problems in the field and top officers listened, recognizing the average soldier had much to offer. German officers and enlisted, except for a very few at the top, lived in fear of their superiors and quietly followed orders even when they knew it guaranteed failure. I'm not comparing corporate executives to Nazis. That is unfair to victims of Nazi atrocities. I am saying there are similarities in the style of management. Another example is the Soviet system of government. Soviet leaders prohibited complaint or participation in the system by people. The Politburo managed by intimidation. The basis of that was fear of the people.

  16. This is an aside: Let's settle this Nazi thing for once and for all time, since I believe it is a disinformation campaign by a corporate troll. Is everyone aware there were Jews who served as generals and admirals in Germany's Nazi military? No? Then read "Hitler's Jewish Soldiers" written by a Cambridge Ph.D. and Marine Corps. vet Bryan Rigg:
    Rigg estimates there were 150,000 Jews who served in the Nazi Army and Navy, including generals and admirals. It came about because after Hitler took over in 1933, he required the military to swear allegiance to him and not just Germany, and good Germans follow their oaths no matter their personal beliefs. So let's stop pussyfooting around about this Nazi business, Godwin's law, etc. World War II is part of our history, and we need to understand the role of various propaganda efforts in making that. So if you want to use Nazi, use it.

  17. The future is now: Lead headline on Cherry Hill website:

    Cops: Wife puts severed penis in disposal

    Pandering for clicks!

  18. Craig Sevier7/12/2011 5:16 PM

    Re 3:21's post: I have this book. I believe 3:21 means not Jews, but persons of partial "Jewish ancestry" -- the "Mischlinge."

    Additionally, 2:49 has it mostly right: Gannett has sealed its chances of survival (i.e., none) by emulating a totalitarian government. However, German tactics in the field were often based on individually creative iniative, and it was the Allies who soon copied that structure as much as feasible.

    Carry on. Let's get back to discussing Gannett!

  19. 5:16 You are correct about the mischlinge. But if you know the traditions, the Jewish line is passed down through the mother, so even half-Jews or mischlinge were Jewish whether they recognized it or not. This all gets very confusing involving other people's religion, I admit, and takes away from the point I wanted to make concerning a poster's obvious reticence in using the word Nazi.
    On your second point: no. Hitler dictated local field tactics, which is why the Germans were forced to surrender a huge Army at Stalingrad. That was because Hitler refused to give in to the field marshal's request earlier to withdraw and reorganize. The iniative here was from the field commander, who saw the need to put his Army back together after the Soviets split it in two.
    I agree with the third point of getting back to GCI issues.

  20. Executive Editor Ronnie Agnew is leaving Gannett to become the Executive Director at Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Below is the Email from Publisher Leslie Hurst:

    ------ Forwarded Message
    From: "Hurst, Leslie"
    Date: Tue, 12 Jul 2011 17:13:20 -0400
    To: JacksonMS-All , Hattiesburg-All

    Subject: Ronnie Agnew

    I just announced to the Information Center that Ronnie Agnew, executive
    editor of The Clarion-Ledger since August 2002 will be leaving to join
    the staff of Mississippi Public Broadcasting. With the exception of
    three years in Alabama, Ronnie has spent more than 20 years working for
    Gannett newspapers, including the Hattiesburg American, where I first
    worked with him. He joined Gannett at The Cincinnati Enquirer in 1986.

    Ronnie is the winner of four Gannett President's rings, and the
    newspaper has won a number of national and state awards during his
    tenure. He was inducted into the University of Mississippi's Alumni Hall
    of Fame and selected as the 50th recipient of the Silver Em, a
    prestigious honor awarded to a top journalist in the state. Ronnie
    serves as a member of the American Society of News Editors' board of
    directors and chairs its diversity committee.
    I know Ronnie will be deeply missed. Please join me in wishing Ronnie
    well as he embarks on his new adventure as executive director of MPB.
    Our loss is their gain. He will be with us through the August election;
    Aug. 5 will be his final day.
    We will have a fitting send-off for him on Friday, July 29. Details to
    - Leslie

  21. 1. 1,100 to be laid off across USCP announcement coming soon.

  22. When did this place become an adjunct of The History Channel? What's next, ancient aliens?

  23. Craig Sevier7/12/2011 6:55 PM

    LOL! Thanks, 6:33! Just wanted to clarify some perspective as I liked both 2:39's and 3:21's points, too hard to resist. But, yes! Let's get back to GCI!

    What's with the "1,100 layoff" BS? I wish Jim's blog had a way to not let posters use any ol' monicker. I realize most cannot post under anything but "anonymous."

    I don't have that restriction since I'm ex-Gannett and last I heard from the corporate bootlickers "everyone" is still creaming their jeans over that.

    Yet anyone could use my real name to post as if from me, just like the "My Boss" deal and "1,100 layoffs," so abused. Still, Jim's blog remains fascinating.

  24. It was 5,000 layoffs

  25. "Corporate Bootlickers" your so deep Craigie

  26. So,curious as to how many employees left at each of the USCP Sites? Can we add that to the spreadsheet? Gives a clue as to where these 1,100 layoffs will come from. My Boss, has been the only one here with a any track record, numbers might be off, but I suspect layoffs planned in stages will get to the 5,000. We've already seen wages freeze prediction happen at sites and since Q2 was dismal..not surprised to hear more layoffs and does this have to do with Gannett Local?

  27. Sounds like Gannett Michigan is bleeding talent left and right.

  28. MyBoss: what about USA Today?

  29. Maybe Detroit finally gets its share.

  30. I see the C-N and THNT kept their Sunday columnists while canning bread-and-butter municipal reporters in the latest downsizing. I guess the focus groups and reader feedback sessions showed that readers want columns, not local news.

  31. So if I have this right, there are four reporters in the Home News Tribune and four at the Daily Record? What about the Courier News? And how come I never hear anything about the Vineland Daily Journal?

  32. Detroit here! We were notified today via email of a one week furlough for everyone to be taken before the end of the year. Is it a coincidence that the furlough announcement came the same day we launched Deal Chicken? What the cluck?

  33. Who is Miek Lopresti?


  34. never mind @8:52...after 29 minutes they fixed it

  35. Anonymous wrote: "Is anyone having problems with the severance-like process Gannett has recently laid-off workers tied into?
    7/12/2011 5:49 PM"

    I am reposting this in the General Comments section, but perhaps 5:49 pm could clarify the question.
    I was laid off earlier this year and went through the whole TPP process. Apart from the tedium of filing weekly for unemployment, I have to say that I did not experience any particular issues with the pay part.
    Health Benefits are an entirely different kettle of fish, however.
    Please post your question.

  36. Detroit furloughs are for non-bargaining unit people only (managers really). But I hear they will be dumping regular joes pretty soon, going online only perhaps?

  37. So if 6:31 is the real My Boss(es), any more details? Would that be on top of the 700 already announced? At least send confidential intel to Jim!
    Congrats to Ronnie Agnew for getting out, but public broadcasting ain't no picnic these days, either. I wonder if the C-J will go to a general manager structure.

  38. 10:20 PM here: that should be C-L. Clarion-Ledger.

  39. Why did he leave? Was he sick of Gannett or was it because Leslie became his boss?

  40. That would be a welcome break My Boss, considering the limited staff that we have. Deal Chicken is a nightmare. Corporate has dropped the ball on this one. People with no permanent location, no email, no computers — no support. What a surprise! Another great idea that corporate dropped the ball on. We are so freaking doomed!

  41. My Boss rarely had good intel on USAT. Predictions were mostly about digital and the community newspapers. Unless I'm forgetting something.

  42. At least MY BOSS has something to contribute, unless it is the corporate MY BOSS trying to screw with this blog. Honestly at this point — who gives a crap. With the corporate management we have — we are all screwed. I could care less anymore. I am ready to get the hell out of this sweat shop with no long term plan. What do we have a CEO with a broken back and nothing on the horizon and his co-partner in crime, also with no plan what so ever. They have all these grand ideas but the time they execute them they are already old news. DEAL CHICKEN — great idea, but too late out of the gate. Failure before it even has started. Thanks again corporate for your slow response to a great idea.

  43. The furloughs for Detroit are for managers and employees who are non union.


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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