An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
On the U.S. newspapers editorial side, I believe we will be hearing a lot more about "passion topics" in about six weeks.
I think some serious analysis of the advertising departments and their sales strategies ( or lack thereof) needs to take place. I know that economic times have been rough, but at this stage of the game ad directors need to take some responsibility for consistently falling revenues. I feel this is especially the case when we're just shifting dollars that would be print to online, butter not coming up with anything innovative to truly grow the business. Thoughts?
sorry to the spelling freaks...that should have said but are not...rather than butter.
8:04 I don't see it. The ad directors are about to face a huge uproar as Deal Chicken comes online at other newspapers (unless something magical happens to stop it, which I frankly don't expect). They are going to see what happened in Phoenix as long-time veteran salesmen involved in retail sales storm out the door. These are people who can sell anything, and they know it, so they are not troubled finding other lucrative sales jobs. I think the ADs will see how really disruptive Deal Chicken is to their operations, and it will take a real long time to adjust to this. Again see Phoenix. This can all be averted by launching Deal Chicken run by corporate out of the Crystal Towers, and completely independent of the newspapers. But they are refusing to do that and are counting on newspaper sales offices to give them business names for e-mail lists, and support staff for Deal Chicken sales staff. I am just crying in the wind about this, and am frustrated no one in corporate sees it this way, so there is nothing to do. It's like the layoffs. You just have to sit back and take it, even though you realize the layoffs are destroying the newspapers, and even the public is telling you in party conversations or over the back fence that the paper is really sucking these days.
The profit is much higher in online so of course they want as much revenue as possible there. The ad directors are too busy in meeting and doing what corporate says to be innovative and have freedom to turn things around.Remove the handcuffs - empower the people and you will be amazed at what happens.
Infographic linked in Part 6 gave me the first good laugh I've had in two weeks. Keep 'em coming, USAT!
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The online revenue could be high, but not if you have a regional digital director who sits on his butt and passes the buck and does not know how to communicate. Comes up with all of these ideas and noone to implement them. Control of the digital team that is performing well - two out of the entire group - and the others make their sales from the Jersey Shore. Go to mycentralljersey.com and check out some of the lousy daily deals. and the same salesperson will be selling the chicken deal.
Seriously, give the digital and sales people a decent product to sell. Give them a product that customers can read on their smart phones or tablets and decent websites. Give them a product to sell that isn't diminished in physical size or page count. These things, such as developing technology to read the Gannett papers (NOT just USA Today) on 21st century devices, improve the quality of the content (and not by cutting content providers or wasting money on a lame marketing strategy (Gannett: the thinnest daily newspaper is all in reach), fall on the shoulders of corporate executives to give the orders to develop this and spread throughout the company. And that isn't happening. Don't blame the sales people or the digital team. They're doping the best they can with the product they are given to sell. And that product is looking more and more like a Yugo every day.
Passion topics: (But since when did Gannett have a paper in Las Vegas?) Seems on topic:http://www.ghnewsroom.com/blogs/david-arkin/x1760690470/David-Arkin-Gannett-St-Pete-Times-give-keys-to-Sunday-circulation-success
Wow.Somebody posted this on the Tennessean layoffs thread. It is really - true. Reposting here for perhaps a broader audience:Let's just sum it all up.Tennessean editors had to make some hard choices, and the tried to do it based on the necessity of the jobs people had at the time of the layoffs - not on the merit of the people. They were all fine people. Night and weekend staffers caught the brunt of it, but so did journalists whose jobs could be freelanced out, specifically the entertainment staff. There was an exacting measure of logic to the cuts, as insane as cutting weekend staff at a daily paper sounds. It just means already overworked people will now be sharing weekend shifts, but the cuts won't cost us A1 stories.Nobody at the site itself wanted to do this. There were a couple of people on the list who everyone in the newsroom knows - rightly or wrongly - were in perpetual hot water. Still, their presence and contributions will be missed as will their personalities.Folks, whether you work in Nashville or do not, hear this: Gannett is a morally bankrupt company at the top. MORALLY BANKRUPT.For all the good people at the individual properties try to do through their journalism and public service, the people at the top - CD, BD, GM, et al - are simply milking this company and the communities it purports to serve for every last drop of cash. That's not cash for Wall Street, investors or even for the company to reinvest. Look at the numbers, and, frankly, Gannett's long-suffering investors are getting repeatedly hosed. The board of this company is freakishly stupid for allowing it. I have this mental picture of them: Two dozen gimps sitting around a table drooling and picking their string warts as CD flicks paper footballs at them from his wheeled perch.No, they are milking this company for personal gain - obscene salaries and bonuses. Greed is good, pure and simple, when it comes to the corporate officers of Gannett. They are willingly running the ship into the rocks. They are sitting by as Rome burns. Whistling past the graveyard, if you will.In short, they are killing community journalism in this country on purpose.What can stop it? Nothing, really. This is America, and if investors and the Gannett board are stupid enough to sit by and watch it happen, then that nullifies the only real authority the crippled robber-baron at the top of this train wreck of a company would bow to.Perhaps what makes it all so galling is that "the company" doesn't seem to really care. In fact, in some weird way, the Gannett hive mind appears to delight in rubbing things like this layoff in the faces of the employees through bloodless corporate speak like BD's letters and the largess Nashville has seen in the design studio.I mean, do they really expect employees to rally around and say, "Whew! We are so happy, HAPPY this transformation is taking place. We are rooting for our company. Go, Gannett! Go, Craig! Cut another hundred, baby!"Do they expect that kind of enthusiasm? Surely the ubiquitous Gannett "they" are not so detached from reality that they think employees - even high level managers like Silverman and Hudler - are cheering this crap on. The corporate speak seems almost an Orwellian form of intentional cruelty. It's like someone asking you to chuckle heartily while getting buggered.But, I digress.It would take a journalist from somewhere significant with the right gravitas - the Wall Street Journal, probably - to do the story right, but the story is there: The Raping of Community Journalism.You only need two words here, folks, to understand our woes; Morally bankrupt.
7:39 Right on, and welcome to the club of those who realize there is nothing we can do to stop this steamroller as long as the Corporate leadership remains in place. I keep on hoping the board of directors will wake up and do something dramatic, but it just doesn't happen and I have to believe this is the way they want it. They run this company, so that is the way they want it. Maybe if Arial and the other big funds would sell their GCI, it would get some attention, but that's not happening, either.I had hopes in Maryam seeing the problem and forcing some changes, but then each morning I turn on CNBC and see the branding campaign commercials are still running, and so nothing is moving on that front, either.
It's not just the continuing branding campaign ads, but Maryam can't do anything new and novel as long as the layoffs continue. She's trying to weave together a new theme for the company, and the nature of the newspapers keeps shifting beneath her. She needs stability to do her work because as long as things are moving so quickly, her portrait for the future is just a blur.
Morally Bankrupt @7:27 nails it. This is why Dubow can snag a 9 million dollar bonus while they lay off 700 people. This is why they hire a talentless hack like Stoney LaDouche who the entire industry regards as a huge joke. Why else would they hire a twice fired and incompetent executive without a single redeeming quality? Because Gannett knows he is a bankruptcy expert having destroyed JRC and Philadelphia Media Holdings.It is very clear now that lies have been told for a long time, certain folks are in charge of spreading those lies and only those morally bankrupt people will be retained. There is no reinvestment in the company, they will continue to pay down debt and will likely be acquired by a digital content provider once the talent (salaries) has been completely drained.They have and continue to rent space and jettison assets to other businesses in the corporate towers at Tysons Corner - A "GARAGE" sale on the front lawn can't be too far behind.
Talking about morally bankrupt - While all the local employees have to deal with the TPP nightmare, directors who were let go still get a "severance". Yes they get their full pay from Gannett, plus insurance for their allotted weeks. Then they get to apply for unemployment. Just another way for GCI to screw the little guy. Gee thanks.
Well put, 7:39. You've provided yet another reminder that Gannett is not worthy of people with talent, ability and potential. I left several years ago when I realized that journalistic commitment had become a farce and that Gannett didn't hire or retain managers for their ability to recognize and generate must-read content. I was increasingly surrounded by imbeciles, the brainwashed and the zombified clock-watchers who were too meek or too unemployable elsewhere to challenge dumb policies and decisions. The lesson here is that workers of real value need to be mindful of their careers and migrate to employers who recognize and reward that value. At this point in the game, any further time spent with Gannett is a blemish on your resume. If you were any good, a recruiter might wonder, why in the hell were you with Gannett?
@ 7:39 I was one of those "in perpetual hot water" types you spoke of when I was let go from another property two years ago. My "problem" was calling out my egotistic but inexperienced and very untalented supervisors when they made bad decisions that had negative influence on our ability to just do our jobs the best we can. So they would spitefully keep me off assignments that I was good at because they knew I "liked" doing those and out me on things I (and 99% of our readers) had zero interest in doing. Morale killing was the only thing they wete good at and the overwhelming amount of time they would spend trying to make me miserable was baffling as they always used the "we're too busy to do it that way" when pressed about why they made the bad decisions they did. TOO BUSY DOING BULLSHIT. They used to have meetings to discuss what they would say in the meetings they were going to have later, and then have a meeting to discuss the meeting they just had. BUt there was always time to criticize me and my work regardless of how many awards I won for it. BAd attitude was more a more important issue than actual work. Reading the comments here- I see this wasn't just a problem at my site but runs throughout the company. Go after quality people because you know they figured out you are a fraud and make them quit or lay them off. That serves the readership well.
11:37, your post is such a mirror image of my Gannett career trajectory, it's almost spooky.
If you are on medical leave where do you stand as far as your employment with Gannett when you return to work
Jim: Have you given any thought to the possibility that alleged posts here by the former Asbury Park Press newsroom employee charged with masterminding a multimillion-dollar drug trafficking ring may lead to a subpoena (or some other legal demand for release of information) to you or to Google? I'm not a company troll trying to frighten you, just a regular reader who wonders.
The beginning of a new quarter is good time to check your 401K and move your money out of Gannett stock (if you haven't already done that!).
Any thoughts of a subpoena? More like hope and pray. Ain't nothin' drives up page views like someone refusing to turn anything over to a court.Shoot, sorry, filter was off. Gannettblog respectfully asserts its rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution, and will not release the information the court is requesting.
I know what you are talking about, but tell me what judge is goingto sign a subpeona to Jim for information posed anonymously on a blog which contains anonymous postings? Yes there was some indication of names inside that post, but who is to say that someone outside of New Jersey wrote that post and signed someone else's name to it. It would be laughed out of the courthouse, I would think. But that is my opnion.
p.s. on the subpeona. Read the post agan and ask yourself what information is in that post of interest to the case that is being brought against various people. I don't see any admissions of criminal activity there. Do you?
p.p.s Lastly, Jim states that he does not permit postings of any criminal activity on his blog, and also contends that everything on this blog is 100 percent his responsibility, and 100 percent true to the best of his knowledge.
Heh 11:37 you sound the dude from Reno that keeps telling everyone how much smarter you are/were than every manager you worked with. I'd love to hear from your co-workers to see if they thought you were as scary smart as the two of you say you are. Just wondering.
2:39, sorry, Einstein. I have not posted in a while, and when I do, I use my real name. Additionally, I'd thank you to not mis-characterize the posts I have made, no matter how evidently challenged one's reading comprehension skills. Scary smart. Please. Thanks.
Does anyone have concrete evidence Florida Today will be axing 25 people, as said on the blog earlier this week? That will only leave about 25 in the newsroom. At a staff meeting earlier in the week, a staffer asked the publisher how he expects staffers to continue working hard while Dubow and the rest are collecting huge bonuses while laying off people and bilking the company. One of the advertising heads piped up and said this is how all businesses work. Typical of management. Justifying bad behavior with more bad behavior. The publisher is a good guy, and this is an impossible question for him to answer, but it is a good question that should be posed to the people running the company.
11:37: They probably let you go because you were so damn self-superior and generally annoying to have around. I've worked with dozens of journalists like you and the 'I'm so much smarter than my bosses ... No one appreciates my brilliance ... Look at my journalism awards, see? ..." act gets really old, really fast. Grow up.
5:07 Why are you belittling a fellow employee. He or she makes no claim in that post either to brilliance or being an award-winner. The post indicates he or she is just an ordinary reporter who did the sort of competent job that readers once appreciated by reading our papers. People who make assumptions like this betray their own insecurities and views of their presumed self-importance.
When will the USAT verticals begin to bring in at least enough revenue to cover the $160,000+ salaries of the GMs that are running them?
Are news assistants being let go?
5:40: You need to read more carefully, as well as for subtext:* "My "problem" was calling out my egotistic but inexperienced and very untalented supervisors when they made bad decisions ..." (Meaning, those decisions I disagreed with. Which I disagreed with all the time. Loudly and without any regard for the time-tested standard of 'knowing when to pick a battle and when to shut the hell up and do your job.')* "So they would spitefully keep me off assignments that I was good at because they knew I "liked" doing those and out me on things I (and 99% of our readers) had zero interest in doing ..." (The fools! They could not sense my clear superiority! How dare an assignment editor actually assign me stories ... Especially the ones I don't want to cover.)* "BAd attitude was more a more important issue than actual work." (You mean I get evaluated based upon something OTHER than my brilliant work?!)* "BUt there was always time to criticize me and my work regardless of how many awards I won for it ..." (The inevitable "I won awards" statement. Despite the fact that journalism awards are like little league soccer ... EVERYBODY gets a trophy!)
Any suspects in the Journal News/CinDee Royale tire slashing
Heh 3:16 who says 2:19 was talking about you?
3:31 Yes, the Florida Today stuff is real, but we don't know when the ax will fall. They seem to delight in swinging this ax. You can hear the whisper from time to time, and you know it is coming. Yet logic tells you how unnecessary this all is and if they followed other newspaper concerns, they would stop the layoffs and admit they were wrong. Then you realize they aren't going to do that, and once again you hear the whisper of the ax. This is called sadism, and it is a psychological disorder. You can look it up on wiki. Unfortunately, we are accepting this regime, so look up masochism while you are on the wiki as well. Realize that masochism is a sickness, too.
A sadist and the masochist were stranded together on a deserted island. The masochist says to the sadist, “Hurt me, hurt me!” The sadist answers, “No.”
3:16 read your own posts. In everyone of them you tell readers you were one of the best artists or blog writers in Reno yet no one in management recognized your superior skills. Read the posts Reno dude.
Craig Sevier, I think you should learn from this thread that posting under your name at Gannett Blog gets you nowhere.Look at all the hypocrites attacking you! They bitch the same way you do, but no one calls them out. Well, except for me. I enjoy sticking a pin into the perpetual whiners who hang out here and lick Jim's boots.
8:58: Best. Post. Ever. Loved reading it. I knew a couple of reporters like that when I was with Gannett. 95 percent of the people I worked with in Gannett were great people, worked hard, and never believed a task was too big or too small for them. They made coming into work fun. But, boy, did you dismantle that person's post with authority. You are exactly right.
7;40, your salary estimates are way low for verticals managers. If people really knew how little work these people actually do and what they earn, there would be a full scale revolt. Blame Heather Frank and her enabler, Dave Hunke.
And they have their corporate jets, lots of them, to fly around in so they can make their company paid country clubs over the weekend. Wow, hard jobs these guys have. Free lunch too. Lots of help to sit on their assests.
What, exactly, is a "passion topic"? Sounds like pr0n to me...
10:54 Nashville's Mark Silverman hints at an answer in his quote in this post.
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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