Saturday, July 16, 2011

July 11-17 | Your News & Comments: Part 6

Can't find the right spot for your comment? Post it here, in this open forum. Real Time Comments: parked here, 24/7. (Earlier editions.)


  1. 1. Confirmed 1,100 to be laid off. Includes all USCP, some corporate and some non-dailies.
    2. Digital is not participating in this round as Mr. Payne is working with consultant Tish Squilaro to remove 200 from all of Digital in a new restructuring to be rolled out end of summer.
    3. Pointroll was severly reprimanded by Gracia for their recent marketing efforts. All marketing and press releases must now be pre-approved by Robin Pence, then Maryam B and then Gracia before release. This now applies to the whole company and all divisions.

  2. My Boss:

    All of that sounds plausible, although:

    1. Seems unlikely there would be such a large layoff so soon after Dickey said efforts were being made to limit job cuts to consolidations only.

    3. Overall, yes, Gannett produces so few press releases and other such announcements that it would be feasible for Martore to sign off on each one.

    But if she was that unhappy about PointRoll's tap that ad campaign, why is the site still up?

  3. What does Digital entail, exactly? Who are those people?

  4. The My Boss post is bogus. If you knew what Payne was working On you'd know that there is no way he is layng off 200 people. Get ready to be dazzled and thrilled people. This is no hype!

  5. Just saw yesterday's comment about rumored layoffs in south group. Why are they being isolated?

  6. Several people disagreed with my assessment of Gannett so here are additional details. I said that Gannett has,
    1. Strong employees- for the most part my co-workers are passionate, smart and hard working. Our employees are our real strength.
    2. Billions of revenue and strong margins - the company financials will prove this point.
    3. Great brands - near 100% name recognition in our communities and viewed as credible by most people
    4. Top notch journalism - who does this better in our communities than we do? We are definitely top notch. My paper has good journalism every day.
    5. Good sales teams - again, who is better than us in our local media markets? Certainly no one has a larger staff.
    6. Very strong websites and traffic - our sites have the most traffic among local news sites in our markets because they are good and people keep coming back.
    7. Excellent partnerships - depends on the markets but we have some good partnerships on the news side including news sharing arrangements. On the ad side we have all of the digital partnerships.
    8. Strong future - with everything mentioned above we are very well positioned for a strong future. Now, we have to continue to change and we don't have all of the answers right now. But there are a number of companies who would love to have the types of people, brands and relationships that we do.

    Signed, I like Gannett

  7. WOW
    I like Gannett......You can take that post and
    revise it again as you stand in the unemployment
    or while you are on hold when you phone in weekly.

  8. 10:02, glad you like Gannett. Again, you don't state anything but the spoonfed corporate gibberish. What is the business plan? How are we going to remain strong when there aren't enough people to cover the news? How are you going to keep employees happy when you state Gannett is extremely profitablle yet there will be more layoffs and you're forcing us to take a third furlough? You have managed to avoid every question I asked earlier. I wish Gannett luck.

  9. @10:16, there will be no layoff for 10:02. It's so obvious this person is either from corporate or one of its corporate trolls trying to put a positive spin on the company before the quarterly meeting on Monday. Most people like their job at Gannett, but I don't know of anyone in the field who actually likes Gannett anymore.

  10. Mr. I Like Gannett, please address each one of the questions asked here.

    I happen to know some of Gannett's strongest employees and they're all looking to get out. I'm talking about Publishers, Directors, several people in Editorial, Advertising. The biggest problem Gannett faces right now is that nobody understands the direction Corporate is taking this company in and it's frightening.

    If there's billions in revenue and strong margins, why is there a third furlough, or any furloughs at all for that matter, especially when the corporate execs are taking all money saved by way of a bonus?

    Top notch journalism? At the various sites I've worked at the communities complain loudly about how horrible the papers are. Circulation is declining rapidly.

    I wish you could have shared Gannett's vision with me instead of its pipe dream because I, too, want to like Gannett again. Unfortunately, you haven't convinced me that there is anything new in the works so I'm still looking to get out too. I wish Gannett luck.

  11. 10:02, the website in my locale sucks - nothing in the surrounding area compares to it - it is that bad. I have always thought, when they first rolled out Gannett websites, that it would be our demise.

  12. Re: 2:34 a.m., regarding regional sports desks.

    In Wisconsin, there is at least one - The Sheboygan sports editor also oversees the Manitowoc sports department. There are a couple sports reporters at each site.

    They may have a similar arrangement for the central Wisconsin papers - Wausau, Stevens Point, Marshfield, Wisconsin Rapids.

  13. "Now, we have to continue to change and we don't have all of the answers right now." The folksy word-stylings of Craig DuPence.

  14. How does a company go about changing and not have all the answers right now? That should alarm everyone. Shouldn't there be a business plan or are they truly slashing and cutting to keep the company profitable while they try to figure it out? Help us all.

  15. What's up these days with those cloud communities from-----can't even remember the name of the company? It was the one I think Saradakis (think that's him name) owned part of and sold to Gannett, if I'm remembering correctly.

    Also, does Big G still claim ownership in Topix? Last I saw there, you have to pay to have information corrected? Wasn't that way a few years ago when someone posed as me and made some awful comments.

  16. Even Jim detects a My Boss pretender.

    Seriously, My Boss really did leave the digital part of the company several months ago. Accept no substitute.

  17. The 6:15 MyBoss post is bogus. Pretender!!!

    And 10:02 has drank way too much Gannett Kool-Aid.

  18. Re: 11:20 a.m., 2:34 a.m., regarding regional sports desks.

    In Wisconsin, there are two.

    The Sheboygan sports editor also oversees the Manitowoc sports department. There are a couple sports reporters at each site.

    They have a similar arrangement for the central Wisconsin papers - Wausau, Stevens Point, Marshfield, Wisconsin Rapids. The Wausau sports editor oversees the others. There are one, maybe two sports reporters at each site.

  19. "I'll move myself and my family aside
    If we happen to be left half alive
    I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky
    For I know that the hypnotized never lie"

    Methinks the new boss is not the same as the old boss.

  20. Follow-up on earlier discussion of 4-day work weeks.

    Another option might be a 37.5-hour week instead of a 40-hour week. That was standard for hourly employees another, non-Gannett newspaper company more than 20 years ago.

  21. @12:36 p.m., is all the pagination for the central sites, including sports pages, done in Wausau now? And does Green Bay paginate the Manitowoc newspaper?

  22. @12:40 p.m. - Yes, 37.5 hours is the standard at the non-Gannett daily where I work. And in fact, I believe it has long been the standard at many of the NJ Gannett dailies.

  23. Dear I like Gannett, if you want to express your pride in working for Gannett, feel free. This is a free country. I once thought as you did. However, I do not anymore. Here's why:

    1. Strong employees. Yes Gannett does have some very good employees who have kept things going this far. However, there were many more good employees with a lot of experience who were let go for no reason than to cut expenses and make stockholders happy. These were employees that had the experience and knowledge to help the company through this mess, if upper management bothered to listen.

    2. Revenue and margins may be great, and may have lead to outlandish bonuses for corporate staff, but they have come on the backs of those great employees who had to go a few weeks without pay or lost their job through layoffs. On top of that, the average employee in this company has seen little if any pay increase, has had to do more work to make up for those laid off, and has not received any bonus for any good margins. (Unless you count keeping your job a bonus.)

    3. Great brands that are not so great anymore. As the staff gets cut, the product gets smaller and had less locally-written pieces. On top of this, the cost to receive this smaller product has increased. The readers have noticed this. They are our most important customer. They are the ones that the advertisers want to reach through our products. It is a vicious circle...when one side starts to leave, the other will follow.

    4. The local journalism is still good. But because of layoffs, there is less of it because a smaller staff cannot cover as much as the larger staff could. Again, the readers have noticed this.

    5. Sales staffs are great, and have one of the toughest jobs: getting a business to purchase advertising in our products, which have gotten smaller and less local due to layoffs.

    6. Web sites are getting better, and have become the place to turn to for news that cannot fit into the print product.

    7. I'm not as familiar with our partnerships to comment on this.

    8. The future is questionable. Our products have gotten smaller, the cost to purchase has increased, and the readers and advertisers recognize this. The only way that I see improving that is investing in staff and providing local news that the readers want to read. If the readers/subscribers come back, the advertisers may follow, if the economy improves.

    If we continue the current path with more cuts at the local level that continue to cheapen the product that we put before the public, then nothing can stop the devastation that is coming.

  24. Expertly stated, 1:54. Gannett is a textbook case of a BUSINESS failure first. Top managers should be criticized first and foremost for their woeful shortcomings on a BUSINESS level before anything else, as opposed to their horrific postures with respect to journalism (the second level of criticism here) and then on the humanity front (the third ... still a valid point but not as important as the other two in the broader view here).

    Hey I Like Gannett: I notice that even you couldn't find a good word to say about CD and his enablers, could you?

  25. Gannett will not put BLUE CHIP stickers on USA TODAY papers printed at The Arizona Republic. Does any one know if they are discontinuing this practice all together or just at the Arizona Republic Deer Vally plant. NOTE: BLUE CHIPS are advertising stickers they put on hotel papers.

  26. I am happy to see this much needed debate between employees and who I believe is a corporate manager (I like Gannett). I'm looking forward to I like Gannett's response to these questions that need answering. Signed, I like Gannett Blog.

  27. @10:02 " Now, we have to continue to change and we don't have all of the answers right now." This is the most honest thing corporate has said and it is very very disturbing. Just like I thought, there is no long term business plan.

  28. Montgomery a Superfund site? One of the most commonly used solvents in the printing industry is blanket wash, which is used for lithographic printing processes. Blanket wash is used to clean residues, such as old ink, paper fibers and paper coatings, from rubber rollers that are used for the printing presses. When done manually, workers wipe down the cylinder with cloth rags dampened with blanket wash, which was typically stored on site in 55-gallon drums. The rubber rollers are usually cleaned before each press run or at the end of each shift to ensure excellent print quality. This is one of the suspected contributors to the contamination in the groundwater.

    Twenty years after contaminated groundwater was discovered in downtown Montgomery, the Environmental Protection Agency has identified the Montgomery Advertiser and the Alabama Department of Education as two entities that may have caused it. And there could be others named.

    It now is believed that the plume, which encompasses about 50 city blocks in downtown, is the result of a "major commercial printing industry" disposing of contaminated industrial wastewater through the sanitary sewer and storm water systems between the 1940s and 1970s, according to EPA documents. The EPA sent letters to the Advertiser and the Department of Education in May, informing them of the results of its pending investigation into the contamination, which has been termed the Capital City Plume. Although spokesmen for both organizations declined to answer specific questions, they said they would cooperate with the EPA's investigation, although they did not indicate they were ready to accept its findings.
    "We are proud of the role and history of this newspaper in Montgomery. The Advertiser Company is cooperating fully to investigate whether our business is connected to the identified contamination," Samuel P. Martin, president of company, said in a statement. "We are vested in the well-being of this community, and we will work with the state, the EPA, and other regulatory agencies to understand and address our responsibility, if any," Martin added.
    The EPA has spent $2.3 million in public funds at the site -- and it intends to collect that, and possibly more, money from the entities ultimately deemed responsible. The letter sent to the Advertiser and to the state Department of Education also said that benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes (collectively called BTEX) were among the contaminants.

    The contaminants, which have been found about 35 feet below the ground surface, are not in the water used for drinking. "One of things we initially did was work with the Water Works to make sure there was no potential for this to get into the public drinking supply," said Scott Hughes, spokesman for ADEM. "There's no indication that material ever entered the drinking water system."
    The EPA believes the Advertiser could have poured "trade wastewater" down floor drains that were connected to the sewer system or washed soiled rags on site, back when the newspaper offices were located at 200 Washington Ave. Employees of the Montgomery Water Works and Sanitary Sewer Board have found soiled rags in the sewer and storm water pipes in downtown, according to the USGS report.
    How much solution was used to clean the press is unknown, but the standard is estimated to be about 160 gallons per year, according to the report. The EPA believes it could have occurred between the 1940s and 1970s. It was not until the 1970s that guidelines were in place on how to more properly dispose of the substance.
    The Advertiser ceased printing at the Washington Avenue location in 1997 when it moved to its current riverfront location on Molton Street.

  29. Try as the might, they couldn't get those damn stickers to stick. They scrapped the whole thing.

  30. If 10:02 isn't a corporate troll, it must a newbie hired to work on one those new digital teams. You've been welcomed in and fed a hook-line-sinker story about where the company's going, etc. I've seen it all before. After about 6 months, when the team doesn't produce as expected, the group is splintered up and cast off -- some to other groups and some to the street. Sorry to say...but that's probably your destiny, too.

    I was once eager (and naive) to jump when asked and roll over and perform new tricks, but after being cast off and disregarded one too many times -- generally because of poor management and vision -- I am no longer fooled by their games.

  31. I don't think 10:02 is a troll or any other agent for Corporate; they sound like a genuinely enthusiastic employee.

    That said, I think 1:54 offers a reasonable and well-written response.

    I'll add one more point: It's true that Gannett has billions in revenue. But that revenue has been falling nearly every quarter from the prior year since late 2007. Profits have held up only through cost-cutting.

    Corporate's failure to get revenue growing again shows the strategic plan is failing in a crucial area. Companies with continually falling revenue eventually go out of business.

  32. From Gannett's 2010 annual report to the SEC (Item 3: Legal Matters):

    Some of the company’s newspaper subsidiaries have been identified as potentially responsible parties (PRP) for cleanup of contaminated sites as a result of their alleged disposal of ink or other wastes at disposal sites that have been subsequently identified as requiring remediation. In four such matters that involve a governmental authority as a party, the company’s liability could exceed $100,000.

  33. 3:55 p.m., damn interesting information. Please keep us up to date on the situation.

    At my site, the photogs used to dump the used chemicals from processing film down the drain. A person who no longer works there used to run water down the drain once a month, to keep the nauseating smell to a minimum. When it gets hot out now, the stench is practically unbearable. And of course, the higher-ups say they can't smell a thing when we complain.

  34. Ah, that old rumor again. The production facility in Freehold, NJ has long been rumored to be a Superfund site waiting to be discovered - it was formerly a 3M plant.

  35. If anyone wants to pay $15/month to read about self-promoting pap disguised as journalism and what the local United Way was doing, I know a website I can send you to.

    That is, until no one is left to upload that crap onto it.

  36. There are numerous press men at my site who have bone cancer, obviously related to the benzene that was used to clean the presses. Think Gannett cares? You guessed right.

  37. Jim,

    Let us know when you hear from the real
    “MyBoss” or “MyBosses”. Curious to hear
    what they have to say.

  38. And don't forget the original "My Boss Says" ... or was it "Said"?

    Fooey on all fakers.

  39. 6:54 that is a serious claim. Please name your paper

  40. Craig Sevier7/16/2011 9:06 PM

    Part of the problem with posting anonymously is one can either say the moon is a rock in space or the moon is made of cheese.

    But I understand that if a Gannett employee were to identify one's self here, they would, despite the silly First Amendment, find their "unloyal" ass skidding down the sidewalk for some other magically convenient reason.

    Nonetheless, bone cancer, 6:54? Cite the site, please. If it's true, that's a class action lawsuit and some people will be going to jail. If it's BS, then don't post it.

  41. The First Amendment protects our rights to free speech from infringement by the government. But that's the extent of it. The amendment doesn't say anything about free speech and companies like Gannett.

  42. I have to say, I'm more interested than usual to see what the quarterly results will be. I have no logical reason for thinking this, but somehow it seems like this is an important quarter.

    They're laying off people, they're having top-level meetings about doing more with less, they're rolling out Deal Chicken, they're launching marketing campaigns, they're consolidating everything that can be consolidated.

    If, after all of that, the revenues are still dropping, then I'd suggest that all these actions add up to a major fail that's unlikely to be reversed.

  43. Craig Sevier -- another idiot who doesn't understand the First Amendment.

    In this case, whistleblower protection might apply. But I don't think a site led by Jim Hopkins, a raving psycho who was thrown out of Gannett and banned from its properties, would have the credibility to make that stick.

    Sorry, Jim. Looks like you don't get to be president.

  44. Craig Sevier7/17/2011 12:42 AM

    Class action. You guys know my name. I have zero interest in "anonymous." Doesn't matter. Your types are going down. These types who can't even spell. Another "idiot?"

    This is public. Every deed this company has done is public.

  45. Craig Sevier7/17/2011 1:00 AM

    "Idiot?" Really? I would appreciate the smallest gesture to demonstrate that entirely false, angering premise.

  46. Craig Sevier7/17/2011 1:07 AM

    I have no time for this.

    It's supposed to be give and take, not attack and attack.

    Jim does a good job. Superb. But he can't moderate 24-7/

    Yet here get this shit. I'm not an asshole. I actually enjoy disagreement as long as as everyone's on the same page.

    Not here. I get slammed on gannteblog, insulted. Personally! Why is that not real?

    I'm done.

  47. Craig Sevier7/17/2011 1:14 AM

    I know who some of these posters are. But it was OK my name, never theirs. I have family. So do they. It's some game. Not to me. So everyone take care. Leave Gannet when you can or can't. Just leave.

  48. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  49. Craig, to answer your question: You think the First Amendment applies where it doesn't. It's as simple as that.

    If it has to be explained to you, then you are an idiot. Again, simple as that.

    Also, Craig Sevier clone -- you misspelled a couple of words. Bad clone job. Try to do better.

  50. 12:38 PM - loved the post. I agree.

    The new boss is not the same as the old boss : )

  51. @3:55: You posted virtually the whole story. A link would have sufficed. Every click counts, you know.

  52. @12:03 troll: You do realize that you're ridiculously easy to spot, don't you? Calling someone an idiot (next up: moron!) and then lying about Jim's exit from Gannett, which was a buyout (and is on the record).

    And Craig, please stop using your real name. It's not useful. No one cares who you are, and it just gives these trolls a toehold to try to rile you up in their lame efforts to disrupt this blog. Yes, it was a brave effort in stepping out from the cloak of anonymity, but it's not advancing anything. It's no doubt raising your blood pressure, too. It's also clogging the blog with your understandable desire to defend yourself.

    I know I've started skipping over your posts, and posts adressed to you. So please consider dropping using your name, especially now that someone has cloned it. We'll all be happier. Thanks!

  53. @3:32 a.m., glad I could make you smile!

  54. Short version - "Congress shall make no law..." Not that Gannett can't fire your ass for posting.

    Don't wave the First Amendment if you can't even understand what it means or how it applies. Jeez Craig, better to have people assume you're an fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    (hint: that's not the Second Amendment)

  55. It is not a claim, it is a fact. Numerous pressmen and a few others and that worked for Gannett when benzene was used on the presses. Some have died from the cancer and a few are still alive. Class action lawsuit seems in order,

    6:54 that is a serious claim. Please name your paper


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."

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.