An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
So who works for the Courier Post these days? My guess is that they have plenty of idiotic Rowan grads to use as low-paid content farmers.
A little simplistic buy interesting look at the problems with newspaper web sites. It's almost as though the guy works for Gannett. http://bradcolbow.com/archive/view/the_brads_this_is_why_your_newspaper_is_dying/
Why The New York Times has succeeded in charging for online access. This New York Magazine story us an eye-opening read.
Deal Chicken's deal for today in the Arizona Republic: $999 for $2000 worth of Laser Lipo Services. Arizona needs tourism business, maybe it is time to plan your trip.
Like it our not our future is in the hands of of few egomaniacs who don't know and don't care. The lack of knowledge of how things work is appalling. This will make a good book/business case some day.
Was just watching Mel Antonen, a former USA TODAY baseball writer, on MASN (the local D.C. sports channel), and he was smart, lively, full of facts and the best thing on the show.He was let go last year because we had "too many baseball writers" in the new world of try to sell personalized sports content.Just a perfect example of how USA TODAY has systematically and blindly gotten rid of actual talent in pursuit of some vague business-speak goal of "leveraged content" and the like.The only reason anyone reads a story or clicks on a link or goes to a movie or downloads a song or posts something to share on Facebook is if it's good. And that takes, yes, talent. Talent like Antonen or any of the numerous ledger sheet items we gave gotten rid of because of corporate ignorance and beancounters.Platforms don't win
Finishing up...Platforms don't win, nor do corporate schemes built on dowsized content.Talent does.USA TODAY has chased away its talent and the result is its weakening position in print and online.I will pay for NY Times content. Would anyone pay for USA TODAY content?
Jim, glad you changed the name back. If recent history proves anything it's that whatever CD touches turns to crap. If you let him name blog your views would drop at alarming rate.
9:55 absolutely has it right. Why did USAT let Larry Weismann go? One of the best football writers around and he was terrific -- not good -- on radio representing the company.I was hardly in their league. But, hell, I was consider the 'go to' person in my GCI editorial dept. If an assignment was considered impossible, I found a way to make it happen. If a major package fell through, I was the one to either make the problem go away, or produce something quickly to replace it.So what happens? I get my notice. Managers plead to uppers to keep me. They're told, "It's not about the person. It's about the organizational structure."So buh-bye GCI. When you have senior "leaders" making decisions solely based upon organization models -- when these empty suits don't even have a clue as to who delivers and who can't -- you get what you wish for: utterly mediocre product that consumers/advertisers are rejecting.
10:29 -- I was let go for the same reason. A very hard worker who took pride in the work, I lost out due to a combination of seniority/job code. I actually had more seniority than most in the newsroom (yes, newsroom, not Information Center) but the least as an "editor," even though my main function was writing. They went merely through a formula, for legal reasons, I assume.
I am a former Gannettoid of ten years.I left on my own accord nearly 2 years ago.The stress was incredible even then.Life3 was hell.There was constant pressure from the mother ship to increase revenue,to develope new sections even if they were crap and sell advertising into them.And oh by way, increase rates while you are at it!Local businesses were very,very unhappy with the quality,the products and now a rate increase.Revenues continued to fall rapidly and the stress increase and layoffs made the products even worse.The stress level was incredible and the moral was like working in a morgue.I ran into one of my former co-workers a few weeks ago and asked how can you stand coming to work still after all this time! Her reply was ..we are all just numbed and brain dead. We deal with it as though it is a "normal" way of life.We forget how it used to be,when it was fun to come to work.We forget that it was a pleasant thing to walk through those doors and be greeted by our friends / our co-workers.Most of those are gone.We just work like we are robots and if the time comes for more layoffs or closing ,so be it ,we will deal with it then.For now ,we are still employed.I knew she was very miserable to say the least, and dreaded every Monday and having to deal with another week of it.Then comes the end of week ,and will there be layoff notices,as that is when those normally occur.This was a formally happy and very upbeat person who loved life, now 2 years later is a depressed and very unhappy person and all because of Gannett.I wondered ,how many out there have the same story,the same life draining situation.I still come here to keep up to date and to be reminded to thank God every day that I took the risk and left and am now back to my former life loving self and thriving as well.
Thanks, 11:10. For all of those in GCI still there who are happy with being "uncomfortably numb" and living in a state of exhausted fear, here's why you shouldn't fear leaving for something else:"If an assignment was considered impossible, I found a way to make it happen. If a major package fell through, I was the one to either make the problem go away, or produce something quickly to replace it ..."If this describes you, then your work skills are infinitely transferable to other jobs/industries. Trust me. It may take some strong self-marketing, hustle and the recognition of an unconventional hirer, but these are skills that are uncommon and highly valued in workplaces that aren't newsrooms. Sorry to strike the cliche, but think just a BIT 'out of the box' and figure out how your talents, work ethic and resourcefulness can bring value to other places and you'll be essentially blueprinting your own escape plan.
@11:10 - same thing happened to me, though I wasn't even on the editorial side. I CHOSE TO LEAVE, as it is my obligation to control MY destiny, and nobody should leave their destiny in Gannett's hands...be proactive, even though it's painful, and yes, it IS very painful. But, like 11:10, you CAN once again find happiness, people who still understand the value of people, and create your own morale. I KNOW this isn't an easy decision, I spent my entire life in this business, having worked for only 2 companies, and yes, when I did it, I was approaching 60!! I'm not physically dead, and I no longer chose to be BRAIN DEAD. Believe it or not, we all have limits...I reached mine on my own, thank God I still had faith and pride in myself, though Gannett tried to destroy it all. Good luck, you CAN do it!!
I refer to my layoff as the rapture and those left behind are made to suffer in that soul-sucking Gannett environment.
If you've worked for USAT for any length of time, you know that they have always de-emphasized our editorial talent. We seemed to always be fearful of the "celebrity journalist." We want the platform (the newspaper) to be the star. The Jack Kelley debacle only cemented this belief. So it's no surprise that even today we are focused more on the platform and less on the people who actually produce the content.
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@3:25 - Exactly! I don't fault anyone who makes the conscious decision to hang on until the bitter end, as long as you don't let it take you with it, and I'm not talking about a "job" per se. Just start preparing for the inevitable if you're miserable so you can cut through the crap when it happens.
I got out of the gannett circus a few years ago...on my own terms. Not saying I'm some genius but knew all through my ten years that this is an evil company populated by horrible, incompetent, pompous, arrogant management at the mother ship and scared management on the local front. Scared to be creative, scared to give a damn about (local) employees because of the nasty culture from the top down. yes, I'm damn glad to be out and yes I do check in here to watch the decline and downfall of gannett AND most importantly to reassure myself that I did the right thing.
Well I was informed today at FLORIDA TODAY that my job position was no longer available. No big surprise really, just had that moment of blinding reality gob smacking me in the forehead. I have read this blog and know there is a life outside of the newsroom that I will enjoy. It hurts that my 20th anniversary with the company was going to be at the end of September. Well let the good times roll. No looking back and no regrets.
USA Today does have a celebrity journalist, at least in sports. Mike Lopresti bigfoots his way from major event to major event while reporters who actually break stories are laid off.As an example, today Lopresti writes about baseball when this entire week has been non-stop NFL -- the end of the lockout, trades, free-agent signings, training camps opening.
6:26: So what? There always should be designated stars at newspapers. They usually get there because they're damn good. (I can't speak for Lopresti.) Craig Wilson didn't get his column for being a nice guy (which he is). He got it for being a damn nice writer, and a good interviewer/observer. (Even if you're not much for the column, you surely must concede this in reading his feature stories.)Problem with USAT is that there aren't more stars hired there or groomed to be. Seems the vast majority of the writing is bland, bland bland ... Notebook dumping and lifeless quotes and obvious observations and voiceless narrative (if you can even call it narrative) and over-attribution to the detriment of the reading experience. If Lopresti and a few others have enough clout to rise above that, more power to 'em.
Good luck, 4:31. They're morons for letting good people go. Be kind to yourself and know that your journalism skills equip you well to continue to do something else that will help society.
Timothy, I hope you weren't a writer. You don't write well.
To Timothy,Aren't you glad that are now away from fools like 8:42 ?Good luck and from a former Gannettoid who had the balls to leave on my own terms.You will find that in time, you will come back to real life and actually enjoy it. I'm sure it's a bit scary right now .Just believe in yourself and you soon find life away from Gannett will be wonderful and you will come here to read the posts like 8:42 and just laugh.That is why I still come here,to read all about the spineless ones who stay and then have the nerve to mock those of us who got away from the evil Gannett.Believe me I thank the lord every day for getting the heck out and now 2 years later and am once again myself and prospering very well.
Jeez 8:42, cut Timothy some slack. Are you a Gannett manager. I ask only because you seem to possess the arrogance of some of the bad ones. Are you seriously going to grade a guy's writing ability on a comment that he made on a blog? I don't know about you, but I don't tend to double and triple check every comment that I add to a blog for grammar errors. It's not because I don't care. It's because this is a different outlet than, say, a news article or a novel or even an online post to a professional news Web site. Judging from your two line post, I could argue that you are also a poor writer. For one thing, you didn't back up your point with an example of his poor writing or explain what you would like to see him do better. Isn't that a key element of constructive criticism? Oh yeah, you weren't trying to be constructive. You just wanted to know what it felt like to kick a guy when he was down.
The Chicken sucks. How bad? Deal Chicken may be new but the Gannett papers aren't. If the existing strength (liberty taken) of the papers and their respective sales and marketing teams can't muster some immediate support from what has to be the largest respective client databases in each city, then the future is already decided. The Chicken is cooked. Watch for Gannett's new, newest best idea soon.
Lopresti is one of the absolute best in the business.
@241 So true. A great man, too. Always a good read.
I hate this waiting game. The sky has been falling for a ling time. This chicken is so ready to know what will happen.
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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