An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
Projections for the entire industry are not good. Each company is facing new realities. Each company is trying to figure out how to be smaller and still be profitable. Even the heralded companies for digital moves and those doing better at cuts in the right places know it is back to the drawing board. Gannett is no real evil with some exception. It is time to shed and close properties or sell some to locals at bargain rates. Keep the ones where upswing potential exists as the economy stabilizes. The thing to get worried about is that industry projections have always been off in extremes. When they say its going to be great, it is better than that. When they say it is going to another bad year, it is going to be hell.
There are without a doubt many papers that Gannett should sell. Why they continue to run several of them in New Jersey on skeleton crews - The Daily Record, Courier News, Home News Tribune, and the Vineland Journal - defies logic. Changes in the design of the Asbury Park Press do suggest that Gannett may merge all of the papers under a single title, like New Jersey Today. Either that or they're just milking the entire group for everything it's worth until they can no longer put those papers out, and then they'll try a digital switch. And when that fails, I guess it's over.
Why all the bloody misery? It's sunny outside, and the weekend is head. Looks good to me.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Just thought that reference is going to drive Gracia nuts. There are a lot of people interested in obscuranta
Though the Daily Times in Salisbury, Md., has suffered through layoffs, what's really hitting the newsroom hard are the people leaving of their own volition for other careers. And they aren't being replaced. Two more are leaving today, and there are more to come. When the copy desk positions are eliminated next year (moving to Asbury), cue the noise of crickets.
@8:34: Please don't be so quick to throw the NJ papers under the bus. These properties contain hard-working, decent individuals who have devoted themselves to their work. It is called loyalty and pulling together with your co-workers who have become like family. You may want to save your own neck, but please don't be so cavalier with other peoples' livelihoohd.
The "Vertical" strategy at USA TODAY has reached new heights of corporate insanity.Everyone agrees that the Your Life effort has bombed badly with audience actually DROPPING from before.Yet the main excitement around the Vertical desk is about their new offices, desks and who sits where. Some of the sanest and most respected people in the building (the Editorial Page staff), is being forced to move two floors up so the Vertical VPs (VVPs for future reference) can hang up new pictures and look at the pond.Requests to redesign the disastrous Your Life landing page are being met by indifference from IT, which has gone on to other things.The VVPs continue to fly cross country and meet, meet, meet while the product collapses.No one will confront Hunke about it, not even the new Deputy Publisher, whose first act was to OK the forced relocation of staff!
8:34, here's what I think is happening. G A N N E T T is standardizing fonts and design in papers through the hubs. It has already standardizing ad sizes. It is generating a nation/world news page and a baseball agate page and probably others and certainly more like that in the future. So in the future, you can just mix and match these pieces of things and create "local" newspapers with a few pages of local news, a rail of things to do to go with a national entertainment page and that sort of thing.
QUOTE here's what I think is happening. G A N N E T T is standardizing fonts and design in papers through the hubs. It has already standardizing ad sizes. It is generating a nation/world news page ... UNQUOTE This is a perfect example of how dysfunctional Gannett has become. Why should we have to "think" (as in guess), about what is happening? Sure, a certain amount of corporate discretion should be allowed (Apple certainly holds things close). But putting out newspapers in a centralized way is something few other companies care about (to say the least). Why not be up front? Memo to staff: we are planning this, it should be ready by a date, and here's how you might be affected. Instead, we get vague, non-speak memos that talk about amorphous centralizations. That we have to guess in blogs like this about what OUR company MIGHT be doing shows an incredible disconnect between leadership and staff. Let us know what the plan is. Maybe, just maybe, we could HELP!
@10:43 - I agree with you wholeheartedly. I wish my fellow commenters wouldn't be so quick to bash other Gannett properties. We're all in this together.
11:08. The problems at the verticals boil down to effective leadership and accountability. Heather Frank was a bad hire, and she made a succession of bad hires. She has taken the wrong approach/with the verticals' editorial mission. She has ostracized non AOL hires by power grabs and an imperial attitude. The whole management team needs to be replaced by hands on, knowledgable editors. They also need people capable of selling the concept to advertisers. Secondly, no one holds Heather accountable for the utter failure her project has become. Building new offices is not a solution. Nor is flying around the country for useless /meetings that could be done by conference call. Her people seem to conduct meetings and surf the web, but little more. Who to blame? Hunke, who is either completely bamboozled or just doesnt give a damn anymore. At the least, someone should put a stop to this nonense. No one but Hunke can.
Gannett today is like General Motors in the 1970s and '80s. GM took what had been uniquely styled cars with their own identities and standardized them to the point where it was hard to tell certain models of Chevys, Buicks, Pontiacs and Oldsmobiles apart. Same with Ford and Mercury. By cloning one format across markets, Gannett will strip its papers of their proud identities in both the papers' and communities' eyes. The websites are already there. Gannett should know better than to subject geographically diverse products to a single design template. That works for a smart phone or a slanket, not for newspapers.
Not a G paper, but another example of the industry circling the drain. Check out reader comments from sotry Chicago Tribune throwing more veteran staffers under the bus (of course Tribune did nostory, so I guess no one got fired).http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/chicago-media-blog/14864443/newsroom-layoffs-show-tribune%E2%80%99s-true-colors
Jim: Why haven't you deleted 10:04?
Newspapers are no different than any other industry. Cut here, cut there. Sometimes a big cut, sometimes a little cut. I've given up worrying. When they tell me to go, I'll take my coffee cup and my Gannett "Hey, you passed the 'insider trading ethics quiz' certificate" and walk out the door. I'm not going to worry about it anymore. I'll find something else to do. It might be in journalism or it might be stocking shelves at Wal-Mart but I'm going to be good at it and make someone proud.
Here's an interesting piece on msnbc.com, with the headline: A boom in corporate profits, a bust in jobs, wages Here's a snippet: Wages and salaries accounted for just 1 percent of economic growth in the first 18 months after economists declared that the recession had ended in June 2009, according to Sum and other Northeastern researchers.In the same period after the 2001 recession, wages and salaries accounted for 15 percent. They were 50 percent after the 1991-92 recession and 25 percent after the 1981-82 recession.Corporate profits, by contrast, accounted for an unprecedented 88 percent of economic growth during those first 18 months. That's compared with 53 percent after the 2001 recession, nothing after the 1991-92 recession and 28 percent after the 1981-82 recession.And a link to the article: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43860044/ns/business-stocks_and_economy/
This year we got "I'm not going to hire independent contractors and treat them like employees" certificates.Nobody explained what this "hire" thing was, though.
I was willing to say all the backstabbing complaints about heather frank was about jealousy and old schoolers unwilling to change. But ive been checking out Your Life religiously the past few weeks and must say, the concept is tired, boring, unremarkable and smacks of something I would have read in the mid '90s.
I thought that picture of breakfast in bed with toast, church bells, etc. was perfectly ok. Someone take exception?
...it is literature, a classic:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_(Henry_Green_novel)
When will the oppression of toast end?
6:32 Out of context, that word sounded profane. (People often get into the same sort of trouble with "niggardly.")Besides, who says she's a fan of "Loving?"
All part and parcel of this p.c. problem. You can't have a discussion of fascist policies without someone coming up with Godwin's Law, and the crowd that wanted to ban Lady Chatterly's Lover and other literature now have succeeded in getting Uncle Tom's Cabin out of the schools. And our papers water down the news. Connection? I think it's censorship. English is a very rich language and sex is one of the major drives there are more people speaking it every day.
7:31, oh please.A non issue fot sure.
7:59 Non issue? Then why hasn't Cincy yet put Viagra in that DUI story, along the lines of overdosed on Viagra?
Jim, your bloggers (me included) have previously reported on this site how that corporate, after an unfortunate change in how we report and allocate cost for services that metro papers provide smaller sister papers, determined in the summer of 2009 that the smaller NT-31 newspapers in New Jersey were actually operating in the red, as in no profits whatsoever. Thus, the decision was made to strip them down to "flying gas-cans," where a handful of reporters, a GM who is also an editor or ad director, and a few ad reps and clerks run the nameplate out of a strip mall -- with all authority and decisions resting at the metro. Frankly, although the rest of the NT-31s aren't in dire shape like the New Jersey titles, it's the fate in store for all of our smaller papers.I had hoped Jim was going to dig into this sad state of affairs once he got the list of the Top 31 markets.
1:59 That may or may not be true, but let's assume that these are not money makers. So why then is corporate keeping them alive? Makes sense they would fold them if they were losers, doesn't it?So I think the reason they are keeping the T-31 alive is some hope for whatever local market reasons they will eventually become winners. It is the human condition to gamble. Las Vegas and Atlantic City show this is true.
1:59 and 5:36 both raise very good questions, and I'll devote much more space to this topic very soon.
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.
Subscribe in a reader