An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
Re: a note on the 'skip this ad' button default on interstitial ads. If your site still tells your advertisers their information is so offensive you want to give readers an option to skip it, at least word the button as "Continue reading". Turns out, some advertisers are rather sensitive.
Is there any layoff news?We should be hearing something this week.
What bugs me about the Deal Chicken ad on my Wisconsin website is the "coming soon." It's been running for about a month. When is "soon?" I'm sure readers are as annoyed as I am by the ad.
My mission today: to continue to suck as much money out of Gannett's coffers as I can before they lay me off. Quality product? Who cares. Just show me the money.
@9:44 - Good morning, Craig!
From what I'm hearing from folks (I no longer work for Gannett but have many friends who do) and am seeing from Facebook posts, sites rolling out Deal Chicken must be desperate to populate their email database. They're practically BEGGING to share the URL to go and register your email. I'm guessing corporate has put a quota on the number of emails required to roll out the Chicken.
Gannett employees are paying the price for catastrophic management decisions made six years ago. Don't blame the economy, tho the company would like to. The fact is more competent innovators have found a way to profit in this environment. GCI sunk a billion five into an $80 stock that fell to $3 before rebounding to $14. Few companies still in business have been as wrong as Gannett and survived. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall in those board meetings.04/14/2005Gannett Board authorizes additional $1 billion share repurchase programMcLEAN, Va. – Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) announced today that its Board of Directors has authorized the repurchase of an additional $1 billion of its common stock.Prior to today’s action, a substantial portion of the $500 million authorized for repurchase under the program announced October 26, 2004 had been used.
Starting my day, reading the Gannett Blog for my blood pressure enhancement, I was struck by this recollection.I remember when my mother died and, in the days following her death, as I was consumed by sorrow, grief and details that must now be addressed, I was struck by the realization that the world around me was still moving as if nothing had happened. Life truly goes on, even though it has changed in your eyes forever.We are days removed from yet another radical transformation (read: bloodletting) that has right-sized (read: decimated) our operations. Lives have been forever altered, unwritten promises to our audience have been broken, our purpose and service to our communities have been weakened yet again. Yet life goes on. Deal Chicken is coming! It will be better than Yahoo! Our commitment to Public Service Journalism will be stronger without the people we fired! We value our customers, but don't call after 10 a.m.! The question is no longer will Gannett survive. Indeed, it will do whatever it takes to cut expenses as a replacement to revenue until it becomes some entity that will sustain itself.The question is: Do you want to be a part of it, the new Gannett? If your son or daughter were looking for a job, would you encourage them to apply at a Gannett site? Would you buy a house, send a kid to college, make a long-term investment based upon the stability offered from being a Gannett employee? Are you proud to work for Gannett? Would you tell others that?I used to be very proud of the company. Hell, I was a companyman, to be blunt. I defended it from potshots (frankly, for example, I thought First Five Graphs was a good idea) and, even if I didn't like this or that, I felt I had invested my youth and my family's well-being with people who were decent, good people (granted, with some obvious and colorful exceptions). I saw a long-term future with the company. Through company-wide meetings and other corporate events, I developed friendships with kindred spirits at Gannett sites from coast to coast. In short, and I know there are many who don't feel this way, it was fun to be a Gannettoid.Nothing last forever, not the company I once liked to be a part of, and certainly not newspapers. Like a death in the family, we mourn but we move on. Life does go on. So, anyway, what's the latest on Deal Chicken?
Nice post, 10:12. I concur to a point. When I still worked at my site, I was proud of and defended to death my actual site, but not Gannett.
Wow - the Lansing State Journal took a pounding in the local alternative weekly today. http://npaper-wehaa.com/citypulse/#2011/07/06/?article=1317498There are a few references to Gannettblog too.
@10:27 thanks for the link. I like it that so many alt publications are reporting on the layoffs. It keeps it alive and real in the public eye, something Gannett isn't so good at anymore.
Nice link 10:27. Wish I thought stories like this would make a difference.
9:56am, the site I used to work at was told that they need at least 15,000 email addresses before they can roll out Deal Chicken there and they had no idea how they were going to do that.
A dissenting view about what is going on at Gannett these days, written by a former Chicago Sun-Times editor:http://newsosaur.blogspot.com/2011/07/why-newspapers-cant-stop-presses.html
In an attempt to get me to return to the Home News Tribune as a Sunday subscriber I received an e-mail. They has images of section leads. The Page One headline and the sports headline had Manalapan headlines. Manalapan is NOT in the circulation area. I thought it was a secret HNT abandoned its own market. The secret is out.
12:03 Easy, just get copy of the local a Yellow Pages, and call them up and ask them for their e-mail address. What could be simpler?
...yes, I'm just kidding. But it wouldn't surprise me at all to find out that was the mindset.
As we get further removed from this latest round of layoffs, it is more clear to me and to many others who remain in Wilmington that June 21 was the date that David Ledford lost the newsroom. Demoralization is so widespread that we don't even try to hide it.
12:03 p.m., what was the city size and circ for your former site, for comparision issues? I'm not sure what my former site's goals are for e-mail addresses for Deal Chicken, but they'd never get 15,000 in 15 years. Just saying.
@12:36 thanks for the newsosaur story link. I see his point, but I doubt that's something Gannett could pull off, what with all the slashing of newsrooms and other departments. Here's a reader comment on the story. The line about needing a hospice is right on.Ah, Alan, how are they going to build a digital business with bundled ad sales and digital imaginations that don't extend beyond annoying ads that fly in from the left and flap their wings at you when you're trying to read the one local story of interest today? How are they going to do it with newsrooms so reduced and demoralized that they don't even notice when well-known community people die? (Happens all the time in my neighborhood.)If there were a hospice for newspapers, a compassionate newspaper doctor might be suggesting to the loved ones that the vital signs are faltering, there are other early signs of systemic shut-down, and it might be time to make the patient comfortable and start saying goodbye.
I see my site is back to a once a week rerunning of a story that's on the USA Today page somewhere else in the paper. Have they stopped trying to make sense of what they run?
At some point, differentiating between corporate and the site we call home becomes a distinction without a difference. At that point, the answer is 'No, I am not proud of where I work." It has happened in Westchester.
From what I am being warned by my manager, USAT employees can anticipate one week furloughs in the third quarter.
@Jim: you mentioned in an earlier post that you thought USAT editors were being pressured to run stories from other GCI papers. The editors don't have much of a choice, actually. Ken Paulson started this ball rolling when he figured it would be cheaper to throw a couple of bucks at local "correspondents" than it would be to hire competent reporters at USAT. As a result, there's more crap from these correspondents appearing in the paper as Dubow, Hunke et al suck all the money out of the system. USAT circles the drain, in print and online, local papers feed the maw to their own detriment and the greedy continue to line their pockets.
4:57, what makes you say "in Wilmington that June 21 was the date that David Ledford lost the newsroom." Did he pick the wrong people? Did he do something that didn't happen elsewhere?
USAT paying a stipend to local reporters is not new. My previous site had one the whole time I was there (7 years). If the designated person left, they just changed the person.
Maryam is back on the road again, this time touting Des Moines' Ragbrai and a new USA Today book site in her email to the troops.
The Des Moines Register, fresh from laying off sportswriter/columnist Sean Keeler, has shifted former sports columnist Marc Hansen back from Metro (http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20110706/SPORTS/110706027/Marc-Hansen-returns-to-sports):The Des Moines Register’s Marc Hansen is returning to his roots.Hansen has rejoined the sports department to write columns on the teams and personalities Iowans care about most. As a Register columnist from 1981-2001, Hansen took readers behind the scenes across the globe — including coverage of six Olympic Games.Hansen, who most recently weaved tales of Iowans and their lives in the Metro & Iowa section, has worked at the Register since 1978.Look for Hansen’s first column on July 17 in the Des Moines Sunday Register.
How did Ledford lose the newsroom? Leave it on the bus during his morning commute?
I saw a post in one of the other comment sections regarding Mark Silverman, and yes, he was a completely pompous, arrogant individual, but it may bring warmth to the hearts of those who suffered under him that I had the pleasure of putting him in his place one time and lived to tell about it LOL! At the time, the newsroom had their own computer support/admin that was separate from the business side Systems group where I worked. While newsroom support guy was on vacation, We were covering support calls for the newsroom. On this particular day, I was constantly pelted with calls from his secretary about him having problems with his email. At the time, I had three dead computers from the accounting department on the bench (it was during budget time and these were priority repairs), and had to prioritize my workload. I told the secretary that I could remote into his desktop and help him fix his problem right away, but she said he refused and wanted me to come fix it personally. I told her that I would get there as soon as I finished my current calls. In the span of about 20 minutes, she called 4 times saying that Silverman wanted to know what was taking so long. Each time My reply was the same. His inability to open an email attachment was secondary to the accounting users being unable to work. His secretary finally came to my office and begged me to go see him. I relented, fearing some political reprisal later on and followed her up to his office and he was not there as he had left the building and went to go get a latte down the street. She called him on his cell phone and he said I could just wait until he returned. Ummm, I don't think so! I told her to call upon his return and I left and went back to my computer repairs. When He finally returned to his office an hour and a half later he was livid! I walked up to his office to fix his email problem and it turns out the idiot did not know how to open an email attachment in Microsoft Outlook! The whole time I was trying to help him, he was rude and very disrepectful (It's a miracle no one has sued for working in such a hostile environment)At this point, knowing what a jerk he was and his reputation for demeaning his underlings, I was not about to take any crap from him. I told him that the systems department was not responsible for teaching users how to operate their email program, He was welcome to sign up for one of the training classes sponsored by the HR department, and furthermore it was expected that users had a basic knowledge of how to operate a computer when they are hired. He looked over his goofy librarian glasses and said "Don't talk down to me, you obviously don't know who I am" I responded that it really didn't matter who he was, and that it didn't change the fact that I couldn't fix stupid, and walked out of his office. I should note that at this time in my career with Gannett I was very disheartened and ready to leave anyway, but to my surprise my superiors backed me up since he was so out of line and provoked the situation by trying to pull rank when we had very well defined protocols in place about priorities when it comes to computer support (we were already terribly understaffed due to layoffs, requiring a strict set of priorities). When a user's computer is dead and they are unable to work, that is a #1 priority, especially if it is a writer on deadline or in my case a few accounting users that had to submit budget work to Gannett and were on a deadline as well. I fully understand where the commenter was coming from. It's a miracle one of his employees hasn't snapped on Mark Silverman in a bad way given the way he treats his subordinates. Of course Mark Silverman will never suffer like so many of his staff with layoffs and all, but you can't help but think that Karma has name highlighted somewhere LOL!
Unfortunately, buzz is growing about yet another furlouh coming at USA Today. Is it any wonder that two more reporters say they're leaving?What is happening is absolutely ridiculous. Either shut the place down or go for it. Furloughs and asking people to xerox on both sides of the paper won't get us anywhere and will only add to the talent drain.
10:27 - It would have been nice if some fact-checking and proof-reading had been done. It's Mark Meyer, not Mike, and I hardly think the ad market is "week". That sort of thing undermines credibility, alt weekly or no.
10:58, too bad none of that happened. There was a great SNL with Jim Carrey that featured a sketch about B.S. tales like yours. Likely what really happened was you blew off your work priorities and got your ass chewed.Stop spreading B.S. here, idiot. No one is buying it.
I buy it because the executive editor at my site was just as inept when it came to using email, all the while swearing that digital will save us all.
12:03 here, the site I used to work at has about 50,000 circulation and covers a valley of about 600,000 people. Not sure how they were doing with email addresses, but when I was let go they didn't have anything near 15,000
I sense we have a new and cleverer corporate troll appearing.
USA Today furloughs will be required to pay for Heather Frank's verticals overhead. When you demand buildouts of individual offices for her do nothing, highly paid management team of AOL castoffs, the money has to come out of someone else's pockets. Is anyone actually reading the drivel in Your Life? The concept is amateurish. Advertisers? Where are they? More insular meetings and management hires seem to be the on going strategy, but it just ain't working. These people are in way over their head, and the rest of the paper will pay the price for this ill conceived mess.
@1;22 a.m. thanks for your reply! I'm the poster who asked the question about your former site. I have a feeling my former site, while much smaller than yours, is having trouble getting their needed Deal Chicken e-mail addresses.
@11:41: On the other hand, the first sentence of a story in the Greater Lansing Women's magazine (published by the LSJ) out today reads: "Lansing-based poet Melissa Dey Hasbrook has worked years to master the art of poesy." POESY. WTH?http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20110623/GLW01/106230358/Poetry-inspires-reflectionI guess no one is credible anymore?
Poesy:http://www.thefreedictionary.com/poesyMaybe no one is credible because no one tries to get informed or check their basic assumptions before sounding off anymore?
10:45 - game, set and match. Why do we have to write for the lowest common denominator? Can't we occasionally use words from eighth grade vocabulary instead of remaining in fifth?Answer: Evidently not.
Maybe it was intentional. Maybe not. Most people would look at that and see a typo. And no, we don't have to write to the lowest common denominator, but writers are told from Journalism 101 on that they are to write to a sixth grade reading level.
2:39, you are dumb. Just admit your comment was stupid and move on.That tall tale at 10:58 is a great one. Even if it's true, why not just address the guy's problem and move on? Typical IT behavior -- they have no people skills, and then they try to blame everyone else.
Well there 12:53, I don't really care whether you believe it or not. Anyone who had the displeasure of working under Mark Silverman would know what it was like. My point was not so much that that he couldn't figure out how to properly use his email as it was how much of a jerk he was and my apparently being one of the few people on this planet to not take any of his "I am a god" crap. I will say though I agree that the SNL skit was very funny :) I saw the writing on the wall at Gannett and found another better paying job in the worst economy in years while all my superiors suffered along (and I must say my heart bled for them everytime I heard about another furlough) so I wouldn't necessarily call me the idiot.
For the poster at 4:40...I did fix his problem for him, my appologies for not noting that fact more clearly in my original post as after re-reading it sounds like I left without fixing it. I was very polite and professional with Mark, I am known amongst my peers for actually being an IT person with people skills (a rarity I know). Anyone who worked at The Tennessean with me at the time would vouch for that, some would even kid me about always being so happy and personable. However I do have my limits as to what I will put up with, and Mark Silverman's behavior was way over the line. While it's not a situation that I am proud of as I did lose my cool with him, given Mark's reputation I felt that now a few years on, the tale deserved to be told. I feel terrible for my colleagues still working there that are either too old, or whose skills are too narrow to be able to get another job. I admit I was fortunate to find another job that was both a promotion and an increase in pay, but the bottom line is that my skills and personality are what got me that job because there are a whole lot of good IT people out of work. Hence my earlier comment about 12:53 calling me an idiot.
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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