An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
Well now that the holiday is over more layoffs can begin.The quarter is in the books the half year is in the books,and I believe this may have been the worst quarter yet on the revenue side. Don't think for a moment layoffs are over .I hope everyone posts here to let the world know.Don't let Gannett fly under the radar happened many times in the past.
Dunno. I was watching CNBC this morning, and they were rambling on about eliminating $30 billion in agriculture subsidies as part of this debt-limit package they are putting together. This is the sort of stuff Des Moines would be very inerested in since Iowa won't exist without federal agriculture subsidies. They get about 54 percent of the government ag subsidies that are issued right now. But the problem is that since the layoffs they lost their Washington ag reporter, and this is not a story you can ask someone in Des Moines to put together over the phone. Think others are thinking of the consequences of these most recent layoffs which evaporated arts and culture coverage at some other papers like Louisville. Stupid idiots.
The impact of these recent layoffs are the equivalent of little nuclear bombs that have gone off across the papers in GCI. Suddenly, whole sections no longer exist, and the remaining staff can't handle any more workload without major overtime, which is a no-no.
8:34 And if the politicians don't read about what's happening when they look over the local paper in their Washington offices, they figure no one back home cares about agriculture subsidies. So that's how you get grudging support from farm-state Republicans for eliminating them.
The leaders are all fools,no doubt about it.The solutions put forth are "how many more can we lay off and still put out a publication".Sites all cross the country are wondering how low will they go with the cuts.How many closings to get to where they believe is the bottom line, and no more can be sacrificed?That is the real question.How many more have to be pushed out door before ...OK, that's the end??
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Any ex-Gannetoids with experience?Pension: Lump-sum or payments? And why?Yes, I know that even discussing a pension probably is obnoxious to some of the recently laid-off. But I've got one, and I want to play it smart....
Another Gannett paper taken to task but for a different reason. http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20110705/APC0601/107050427/Letters-P-C-falls-short-reporting-all-info
I would say lump sum unless you are ready to retire. Roll it over into an IRA asap.x gannetteer
When my job was eliminated, after more than 40 years,I didn't have a choice of monthly pension payment or lump sum, I was on the "old" pension plan which is the monthly payment.
Lump if you can and roll over into IRA. Do NOT let Gannett 'keep it for you' ... get it out of greedy Gannett's hands as quickly as possible and hand it over to chuckie schwab or Fidelity or t. rowe or whoever -- respectable financial companies as opposed to the most warped, morally bankrupt media company in America.
My recommendation to 8:54 is to take the pension lump sum immediately after leaving the company. Do you really trust Gannett executives with your retirement money? No way. Put it in an IRA that you control. Concern over getting my pension money is one of the reasons I retired earlier than I might otherwise have.
I recently faced the same decision on the lump sum payout vs. the monthly payout. I opted for the lump sum, on the advice of my investment guy, but he also knew I wanted ALL funds OUT of Gannett hands...period. I wanted to break ties completely and permanently!
The only thing about rolling your money into an IRA for 2 or 3 years, make sure you keep track of it after rolling it over, because when the 2 or 3 year term(s) are about to expire you will receive notification from the financial institution explaining same and asking what would you like done with it (money)? If they don't hear back from you they will roll it back into another IRA and GOD FORBID you needed some of that money for personal expenses and/or matters. What will happen is WHEN you give the excuse you had forgotten to get in touch with that Financial Institution to let them know that you need the money - you will be penalized! So don't wait until after the fact! Mark your calendar(s) and stay on top of it! .... I know.... I know... that mattress is looking better and better as each day passes....... penalized for wanting your own money..... hoo boy..... if you think too much about it - you might go crazy!!!!!!
When you roll it over and put it in an IRA, they will have you pick a fund to invest it in. If you don't know how to do this, follow 9:46 advice and ask them to help you. Alternatively you can go to Morningstar.com, pick funds, and look for a four-star fund that fits your age bracket. As you get older you will want to avoid the go-go funds and invest in conservative funds or bond funds. Avoid at all costs Arial funds, because they have huge GCI holdings.
10:52 AM, funny you should mention Arial funds. I specifically made it a point to let my Financial Adviser know that I DID NOT want one penny of my money invested in anything associated with GCI !!!!!!! ROFLLLLLLLLL
10:38 mentioned possibly needing the money soon. If you're in that boat and you aren't on the verge of retirement, you might consider rolling it into a ROTH IRA. After five years, those give you penalty free access to your money. The down side id you'll have to pay tax on the full amount right not, but you don't pay taxes later. Whether it's right for you probably depends on your age and how close you are to retirement. If you're young-ish, the Roth might be perfect, as it gives you a lot of flexibility and you might actually pay less in taxes long-term. If you're fairly close to retirement, you're probably better off paying the taxes as the money comes out. And penalty free access to the money shouldn't be a problem since you'll have that once you retire.
8:54: I second the recommendation to take your pension as a lump sum and roll it over to an IRA at Fidelity or another investment firm. That's what I did with my pension and my 401k when I was laid off in 2008. If you need to start getting some income from it, you're fine if you'll be 59 1/2 years old and can withdraw without penalty. If not, then explore buying an annuity with the IRA funds or using the "substantially equal periodic payment exception" for IRAs. Both avoid penalties for early withdrawal but get money into your pocket. I picked the annuity because I was 58 and close enough to make it to the 59 1/2. The period payment option, however, also was workable. Get a good investment advisor, and push for a consultation with a retirement income specialist. Best of luck.
Ditto all: lump sum.
This is 8:54. Thanks for all of the very helpful responses about pension strategy and tactics!
How much time before Gannett cuts a check for pension money? I sent in paperwork about 3 weeks ago .
Takes a while. But they eventually send it. Plan on six weeks after sending paperwork that dots all Is and crosses all Ts just the way they want it, and if it comes within shorter time, consider yourself lucky.Of course, with ever decreasing numbers of people there in the CP admin side, you may need to expect longer and longer waits. And, of course, GCI not motivated to give up access to your money, given that only the most naive of employees would be fine letting GCI 'keep holding it' and the vast majority are saying 'give me my lump now so I can park it somewhere else!' Worst. Media. Company. Ever.
I received my lump sum pension check a little over a month after I left the company. It was a great relief. You hear soothing stories about how federal law protects your pension from greedy or inept corporations. The fact is, only a portion of your pension is protected. This company, which lays off employees, diminishes the product it's trying to sell and gives huge bonuses to its top managers is not to be trusted. I believe they are capable of draining the pension fund.
News will draw readers, and readers will draw advertisers. That equation hasn't changed despite platform shifting. Passion topics are not needed for those editors and publishers who already understand their communities and how to cover them. Give people news they want, not what we identify for them for advertisers to lure particular customers. Passion topics are a narrow approach that will further marginalize audiences and lead to the demise of longstanding, respected brands at many sites. What Gannett doesn't understand is that readers, either print or online, are not dumb. In fact, they are quite savvy. They can see through these efforts as unsophisticated and desperate money grabs. Gannett, provide leadership that respects readers, not mandates written by marketing professionals who don't understand the difference between "news" and widgets.
I agree about "passion" topics. In one NJ location, the so-called passion topics are food, "sustainability," and the arts. What total nonsense. People have been eating for a long time and I never meant anyone with animalistic passion for going to restaurant A as opposed to restaurant B. The "arts" is quite a nebulous topic and "sustainability" is a cliche. The bottom line: As Gannett NJ papers abandon news (The Morristown DR no longer covers Morris County, or for that matter, the town of Morristown full time) executives continue to be shocked at circulation declins. They stubbornly refuse to see that circulation loss and irrelevancy result when news about local towns and school boards vanishes. I tell you, if the people running Gannett 75-100 years ago had the same mindset as those running it today, the company never would have been a success.
Thanks to all who responded re: time period of receiving pension fund checks.
Have any other Gannett sites restructured their Marketing dept. the way Indy did? At that site they made the employees reapply for their jobs and changing the name of the department.
From 11:10 AM to 11:41 AM - I'm not youngish but early 50's. After a long working career with Gannett, I was laid off in 2008 (due to no fault of my own, of course), did a complete career change and went back to school in the medical field; studied hard. I graduated this past June. I too took the lump sum and rolled over my pension and 401K into 3 different accounts - Hey, ya can't put all of your eggs into one basket or one financial institution as the saying goes. Anyhoo - I'm starting now to send out resumes and wanted to take some money out of one of my IRA's as a shoulder to lean on until I actually do get a job. I do have some savings to cover my living expenses up until December this year when one of my IRAs matures. I'm thinking about using half of the money even if I do get a job and re-enrolling the other half into possibly a 5 year ROTH. I hope the taxes aren't too much! All 3 accounts are doing quite well - THANK GOD!To all of you that were laid off, do not despair! Pray for strength and guidance, keep your heads up and keep a smile on your faces. You are all very intelligent and if you decide to go back to school, you'll be amazed and proud about how quickly your intelligence will aid you in learning/obtaining a new profession! Devise a plan to and stick with it! Will keep you all in my prayers!Note: Even though I'm not in this field anymore, I still like to come here to Jim's blog to read about how my ex-coworkers are doing. So let me take this opportunity to say thanks, Jim! Your blog kept me quite entertained, especially in between studying and doing homework, and don't worry, I wasn't a bottom feeder! I did send in money to your CA address! Also, sorry all - I didn't mean to be so winded! LOL
CORECTION: Devise a plan AND stick with it!
2:19 - No, they didn't restructure the marketing department. Like pretty much all mid-sized and smaller markets, Gannett just eliminated the entire department. Marketing departments at any paper smaller than the Top 33 don't exist any more.
Might be a dumb question, but I'll ask anyway. If you are feeling especially crappy about this company, but still need to work here, can you take your pension money out while you still work for GCI? I am fully vested.Thanks in advance....
Speaking of the marketing department...has anyone heard from or seen the new USAT CMO?
No, you can only get your pension if you leave the company or are laid off. Same with your 401(k)Might be a dumb question, but I'll ask anyway. If you are feeling especially crappy about this company, but still need to work here, can you take your pension money out while you still work for GCI? I am fully vested.
Regarding pensions, I was just laid off 2 weeks ago & was told that it would take 90 days to receive the documentation to choose what to do with my pension. Is this standard proceedure with other recent layoffs? I do not trust Gannett with my pension, especially when there is no way to independently verify online how much is in my pension plan. I spoke to my HR representative and he said it would most likely take the full 90 days to get the pension info out due to the large number of layoffs company wide. Thank You!
3:22 Marketing is gone period. Regardless of size, top 33, bottom 33, group site, non-group site. If there is a lose Marketing player here or there - they simply haven't been found yet or they are listed in another column (advertising, production) on some controllers spreadsheet. Even Greg Watson, a former East Group Marketing Director, with his cherished lineage, had to run to safety as a "advertising" director.
3:49 - thought so...thank you for confirming.
There is a Marketing department at the Wilmington site. No director, but still a viable Marketing dept. Not sure how they missed the axe.3:22 Marketing is gone period. Regardless of size, top 33, bottom 33, group site, non-group site. If there is a lose Marketing player here or there - they simply haven't been found yet or they are listed in another column (advertising, production) on some controllers spreadsheet. Even Greg Watson, a former East Group Marketing Director, with his cherished lineage, had to run to safety as a "advertising" director.
I left everything financial with Gannett. I'm not very financially minded, and am still quite disoriented (no "tainted crackers, though, sorry for disappointment for one who surely hoped so), and here at last is a thread of information on the only source of information available to anyone associated with this crappy company.They cut you lose, and, man, you are the poster child to Gannett of Alzheimer's. A year? Ten years? Twenty? Doesn't matter. And I'd like these corporate people who hail the 800 number... once they try to use it. And the way this company is headed, they will soon discover another reality.
4:05 PM, correction- Greg is the Advertising and Marketing Director for Florida Today. Former marketing director is now Director of Strategic Marketing or some BS.
The 90 day waiting period is a stalling tactic. I don't work at Gannett, but when I left another newspaper company, I took the lump-sum payout in lieu of the pension, and I had a check in a week. i then rolled it over into an IRA and that effectively wrapped up my dealings with them. I have read other posts on this board indicating Gannett tries to control its employees even after they leave, and the delay over pension payouts sounds to my ears like they are doing exactly that.
Nashville still has a marketing dept. It includes about five people. And I think three of them are managers. (At least two of them are.)
@2:08 p.m. - Are you talking about the APP? If so that's a ridiculous focus to take with that paper. Yes there are pockets of arts/culture scenes and they're important, but there are much larger issues that people would actually read about, like real estate, retail business, environmental issues, and most importantly, EDUCATION, the reason why many of the people who live there moved there in the first place.
I have said it before and I will continue to say it until they show me the door - we need help if the NJ group is to survive. There is nothing but gloom and doom all around and I have been in several of the properties. If things go as expected, we will lose half of the sales force - resumes are being put out in record numbers. Our newsrooms are practically bare - and noone is reporting local news anymore. We are all pretty much beaten down.That is the truth.
I'm going to post with a call sign for now - Jim will know how to contact me. I am more than willing to help anyone work through the paperwork to get their retirement completed. 6-8 weeks has been the mantra for years as to how long it takes to get the paperwork for your elections. Expect 8 weeks with the number of folks they're processing. There are 3-4 people in the pensions office dealing with this, so it will take a while.Find yourself a financial adviser if you don't already have one. If you are under 59.5 years old, roll it over into the IRA of your choice to avoid penalties. Once you hit 59.5, then you can start withdrawing (Note: I am not a financial person - I just play one in my mind).Read everything in the packet they send you. Make sure you check the boxes. Even I got a page wrong and I'd been working with them for a while. If you have to have your spouse sign the waiver, make sure you do and get it notarized. Once you send your paperwork back to Gannett, expect another 3-4 weeks to get your check from Northern Trust - the bank that manages the pension program.
Great. Now the Deal Chicken has invaded The Tennessean.com website. So thankful for the "skip this ad" button, but still annoying!
Rochester columnist Bob Matthews, eager to burnish his bonafides with the Gannett high command, urges the NFL and National Basketball Association to cancel their upcoming seasons. That's easy for a hack to say when the company he works for rewards its CEO and his cronies while laying off 700 employees.
Interesting blog that has leads on job openings for reporterswww.tumblr.com/tagged/gannett
There's not one question on this string that should have gone unanswered this long. You'll get 'em when you're layed off. You receive payment in about 3 months - which often (intentionall??) coincides with jobs payments ceasing.
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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