An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
Writes Jim: "The vast majority of my readers prefer the commenting rules that I've maintained for nearly four years now." I am mostly supportive of this blog, but I find that statement very hard to believe. What is it based on? I doubt very much "the vast majority" of us think it is OK to allow people to anonymously call out managers or colleagues as drunks or lazy or thieves, make lewd statements about female managers, or think jokes about the name "Crotchfelt" constitutes fair commentary here. We may put up with it, or understand how hard it is to police, but we certainly don't endorse it. All we are asking, Jim, is that you try harder. This blog doesn't deserve to be a backwater place for insults and juvenalia. It only devalues the blog and your efforts.
Today, Dubow says in a memo to employees:"I want to take this opportunity to give you an update on the strategic plans we are undertaking to position Gannett for long-term success."What can Dubow point to in the last several years that reflects short-term OR even long-term success? Increased revenues? No. Profits? No.Stock price increase? No.Increased circulations? No.New products? No.What other yard sticks does he use?Layoffs.Weeks without pay.49% increase in his pay.Doubling the dividend for his millions of shares.When will the board replace this guy?
I make a motion to fire Craig Dubow as CEO.
A. 8/01/2011 11:22 AM asks:How did Carolyn Washburn ever get into the news business?By being the nastiest, most abusive bully I have ever seen in a business setting. I left rather than work for her when I was finally presented with that option. Nothing you could say would be too strong. She has no knowledge, skill or talent, but that isn't what anyone is looking for at the top in Gannett these days. Plus the number of things she has said openly in meetings that are actionable is unbelievable.B. The Gannett culture does bleed through here, such as the bully making fun of eliminating a religion blog. You don't care, so all the readers shouldn't? Why be so hateful for no reason?C. As for the sad elimination (and horrendous treatment of it) today at USAT, I found it very similar when Karen Crotchfelt went to Indy relatively recently. She didn't let grass grow under her feet before demoting the VP/Marketing and then shortly after that unceremoniously eliminating him. She could have waited just one week and made it part of the layoffs, so that it wasn't so bullying and personal. But no. That's not her way.Why? She, for the most part, made her bones in marketing (before eating up everything else like the black widow she is), so she kills whatever is closest. The same thing happened today in McLean. If the person involved is talented and dedicated, it only speeds his or her demise.I hate this company and the bone-picking demons left to run it.
What a dufus this guy is. Worse, the board.
The Deal Chicken is not going to work in NJ because they have the same worthless salespeople who supposedly sold the Daily Deal selling it! They laugh and joke about going to the beach and the bars - in the meantime they are selling NOTHING
OK, I've been as much of a CD basher here as anyone. Never before has a greater combination of tone deaf, arrogant, visionless and greedy qualities come together in the form of one human as a leader. That said, let's give a shred of credit where credit is due: The most recent communications was relatively free of empty buzzwords and actually indicated concrete changes that don't sound like awful plans. However, am interested in what some of them actually are, like the USA Today Sports Network. Anyone know? He surely doesn't mean a sports TV network to try to take on famous, four-letter sports network, does he?
The Deal Chicken email in Phoenix looked very different today. The chicken is played down almost entirely. Yes, the chicken is dumb, but it is the only thing to make it stand out from all the others. I don't know which is worse.Homogenization from corporate?(Plus I bought one recently and when I had to call for a reservation, had to say, "I have a deal chicken." That felt really stupid!)
Yes, Ed is a great guy but none of the events that he put on were ever monetized. Tons of money spent with no return. Event Marketing is suppose to be revenue producing. Where was Steve Hyatt from HR in all of this? Have a plan and communicate it.
It wasn't Cassidy in charge of monetizing the events he produced, it was advertising who pushed him to produce. Cassidy was cut down to a one man show. Why is Cassidy gone while Lee jones, Lori Erdos, Tony Hill and the rest of the advertising clowns sit on their do-nothing tushes laughing from pay check to pay check?
Hunke's bungled a lot of things, but I have to agree with 8:33's comments. You're a highly paid HR VP and a communication cluster like this lands on the Publishers desk. Hunke has no choice but to fall on the sword and send out a memo that puts him in a very bad light. If I were Hunke, I'd be fuming that Hyatt and a couple other folks didn't ensure this was communicated properly.
@8:08, you surely must be referring to the sales people at the courier-post. What a group of losers!
Interesting point about monetizing the events. Who decides on participation? Is that his job or is he merely following orders? Just curious on what this guy was responsible for. Cannes? Olymics shindigs?
I got to work with Cassidy at a trade conference he had set up for USA Today. He was the most respected person on the floor. He worked the media, set up our pathetic speakers and wrote most of their presentations, was pitching prorgams and arranged for USA Today equally pathetic ad managers to meet new clients they had never thought to go after, was explaining our ipads and mobile pieces, talked with foundations about how they could support education department with grants (and we know that is the only thing keeping our sinking circulation afloat right now). It was never about Cassidy. Never saw him stick his face on internal emails All Around Gannett. It was all about USA Today for him. Can't wait to see Micek and Banikarim try to pull this off with their NBC recruits.It is disgusting and outrageous how Cassidy has been treated. Is this how you let your minions run lose, Hunke? Do you just look the other way while they lop off the heads of the best we have to offer? I hope Cassidy sues the hell out of this company. Wherever he lands outside of this collapsing enterprise I know he will get smothered with hundreds of Gannett resumes.I am sure we will now expect to see postings on here starting to knock Cassidy down, say he did nothing, was not producing enough, was a sub-par performer. It will start like it always does on here. You can bet Hunke has put Pence, Banikarim, Micek and his mole Angela Phillips to work to write things to knock Cassidy down fast and justify yet one more of his unbelievable decisions.
Is Payne going to trust the same people behind the current designs to bring in the new?
Good call, 10:05 p.m. But David L. Hunke isn't smart enough to maneuver his way out of his daily blunders. Leave that to Maryam Banikarim and her lapdog Sandy Micek who no one seems to have ever heard of in any industry. They will reduce Ed Cassidy's track record and performance ratings down to dust in no time. They are masters of destruction. Then they will hire _?_ more Marketing Vice Presidents to replace Cassidy for Micek's "team." Place your bets now. I will guess 3 more VPs. How many do you think?
That's not fair to attack A P. She is all about the emoyees.
So just when did Ed Cassidy becoem some sort of legend in USA Today? Ashes to ashes, dust to dust for Cassidy so let's move on.
Cassidy is just one more court jester hung on the march to claim Dunke. How many more does she have left to send to the guillotine, HR?Long live Queen Maryam.
A whole day without one slap at Heather Frank. How refreshing. Who in hell is Ed Cassidy and why should we care. Get over it. We've got the next Deal Chicken cheap deal to look forward to. The future looks bright.
Is the board still excited about the Yahoo deal?
Is the board still awake? alive?
The Yahoo deal is a disaster. I know who got all the credit for it. Will she also take the blame?NO way.
The board of directors need to be removed. They are merely puppets and have no vested interest in saving journalism. What a joke?
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6:24 Let me clarify. The vast majority of my readers prefer to post comments directly, without waiting for me to screen them first. Also, my readers prefer to post anonymously, without being required to register.On the other hand, many if not most of my readers dislike personal attacks on anyone. I don't either. At the same time, I try to allow as many comments to stand as possible.This is, after all, one of the few forums where Gannett employees and others with an interest in the company can share information.Deciding which comments to leave standing is always a subjective decision. Some readers think I'm too lax. Other readers think I should let every comment stand.I'll never please all the people all the time. But I'll keep listening to your feedback.
Can anybody tell me what makes Phoenix so special that they've avoided sending their ads to GIADC to get built? Did they call up Austin Ryan and say "We've got a deal chicken, let us out?"
5:30 AM, maybe because they saw the crap everyone else gets back from GPC and had the guts to tell corporate "Hell no".
Yahoo was a Martore sith decision. She knew better. Drawn to the dark side she is.
Gannett is a company in total chaos.I have been waiting to get laid off for the last 6 months,Revenue is down at least 50% from the high of 2 years ago at this site. Circulation is way down.The designers have little to do as the number of ads has dropped so drastically.They put out special sections that have very little actual content and even less ad support.The workplace is a morgue as people know the end should be anytime.The number of employees is down to about 25% of total pre-layoffs.The editors are so stretched that all content is watered down to the point where subscriptions have fallen off the table.The only real predictable revenue are legals and regional retail inserts.Fridays are special here as everyone expects this week to be the last week.Very strange .
Yea why is phoenix so special? Is their ad production dept. not getting consolidated or is it postponed? They are the only paper not consolidated.
I heard Phoenix's complaining was the reason my customers are getting proofs that say 'this is not a proof' - has AdTracker ever worked right the first time they offer a 'feature'???
Ed Cassidy - sorry to see you go and treated so poorly on your way out. Unfortunately, our new leadership is incapable of anything else.Sandra Micek - welcome to USAT. Based on how you handled Ed, you'll fit right in around here. Until your turn, that is. What's the average life expectancy of today's CMO....24 months? We all hope you bring the average down a bit.Hunke - more of the same from you. How about retirement?
8:33 PM - thanks for weighing-in Sandra. Spoken like a true, new Gannetteer.
Blah blah Ed blah blah Carolyn blah Crotch lol.It's like a seventh-grade schoolyard up in here.
9:41 AM Dear Mrs. Banikarim, our 7th grade teacher, you are being a little too obvious on here with your "anonymous" comments. You'd do better if you changed the comments you are posting so they didn't sound exactly like what you say in the office.
Blah blah all you like. Ed Cassidy's professionalism, integrity, creativity, dedication, damn hard work are going to be missed around here. Nobody gets this one. We know Hunke, Banikarim, Ellwood, Micek, Martore, Pence all have his blood on their hands.Shameful. I hope every one of our competitors out there is reading this. Or tell them to read this. And then he will take us along.
Did anybody catch this Boston Herald piece? check out Marymont tossing Florida Today way under the bus, OUCH: Kate Marymont, vice president of news at Gannett’s community publishing division. "This is really about building quality."Marymont cited Gannett-owned Florida Today, a Brevard County daily and the unofficial home newspaper of the Kennedy Space Center, which recently published a commemorative section for the final space shuttle mission. Written locally, the 64-page magazine was outsourced to the newspaper chain’s new design studio in Nashville, some 700 miles away."It’s a splendid piece of work," Marymont said. "Brevard did not have that kind of firepower. They simply could not have done the same kind of work."http://bit.ly/opvBKN
If the design studio is so great, how come it's still way, way behind schedule? We were told we'd know about our jobs by the end of July...and guess what, that's passed and not a peep.
Gannett stock plunging toward $12 a share. Yes, the market is having problems on a broad level. But we just doubled our CEOs compensation. That means he's a genius and can buck trends like this, not simply ride the wave that every other idiot is riding. Right?
Ironically, Brevard had "that kind of firepower" before Gannett decimated their ranks. I have two words for Marymont, but they're bad words so I'll refrain. I will add though that it's hard for a media company (and its reporters) to maintain its credibility when the top leadership engages in blatant lying at every turn. Toss this into the same pile as Martore's no more layoffs (at this time) 48 hours before telling the people in Brevard their jobs are being eliminated. Business leaders and many people in the public are aware of the turmoil in Gannett. They know we're losing our jobs and the company is losing its way. When our executives lie, whether to analysts, in interviews with other media outlets or to employees it hurts all of us.
Ed Cassidy's firing is just another example of the "we know better than you" arrogance that has permeated USA TODAY from the new management. Having any arrogance at all is ironic, if not tragic, considering how almost all of them were cast-offs (read: failures) from other organizations. The fact that they think they know better than the people who have been here all these years would be laughable if it weren't so sad.
@10:26 it could be worse: Gannett could have Lee's stock sitch lmao 95 cents. WOW.
Jim,Would still love to see you do something on the NY Magazine article from last week on the NYT's paywall and overall commitment to quality content. I think it's a huge difference in the marketplace.
@11:29 -- That is painful. I think everyone knows that media is dead as a reasonable investment right now. Unless you just want to buy cheap and gamble that some miracle technology will change everything. Even then, it should only be a small part of your portfolio and seen as a real gamble. An investment that will very likely bust ... or could pay big dividends if something unexpected happens. The problem is that media CEOs are still being paid as though they were running big-time operations, not the flailing industries that they are. There's no way Craig Dubow should be pulling down more than a million a year for his piss poor performance. I would wager you could take any business school grad off the street and he/she could manage us at the same level as Dubow. Get a really smart one who can see beyond the next paycheck and we might even do better.
8/02/2011 11:29 AM It is a combination of the arrogance of corporate heads and USA Today's willing compliance.Ed Cassidy was doomed the minute Banikarim arrived on the scene. She wanted his head on a platter. Most of management were all subjected even his own staff to having to evaluate him behind his back with Banikarim's hired consultant/executioner and answer her same bs questions over and over again meant to discredit him and get him fired. So this is how Gannett will do those meaningless performance reviews. What makes this so pathetic is it was done with conspirial blessings of Hunke and Ellwood.
Now this is how a CEO should act, when his company is not doing well.http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Satoru-Iwata-Nintendo-Management-Pay-Cut-Compensation-Loss,news-12042.htmlNintendo CEO cuts his pay in half due to the poor company performance.
Dubow and his buds think they are actually worth what they are being Paid. These idiot directors are underwriting the fantasy.
9:52 AM, I'm just another expendable peon; the difference is, I honestly don't care about these individuals and probably never will. Gannett Blog has become a gossip rag.
This is coming three or four people down the line, so lord knows the validity of what I've heard, but: My father is good friends with a former USA Today production chief who e-mailed him today to say he heard from a current member of the USA Today production staff that either an entire shift was laid off or that some large section of people on the production side were being let go.I know this is incredibly vague, but more people being laid off at USA Today might be something worth looking into. Then again, it could be old news from the 700 employee blood letting a couple weeks ago.
Production isnt the problem, 2:22. It is the top heavy verticals, business side and editorial that is stuffed with highly paid do nothings and meeting attendees. Copy desks could also stand some bloat trimming.
Where ARE the verticals?
Google acquires Daily Deal. Heh haters I thought you said it was too late to get into this business????? Bring on the venom
I don't know who this marymont is but she obviously has her head somewhere other than her shoulders. Florida Today has done excellent work with special sections, yearly specials, and yes, even space related pieces. And as stated, they would have done an excellent job with the NASA special, IF they still had the resources. It's like taking the steering wheel off a car, then bit..ing how hard it is to drive without a steering wheel!
Seems to me that Cincinnati Enquirer and Uber Editor Carolyn Washburn still ignoring issues of Robert Mecklenborg story. Here's the lede to today's piece:The Ohio Highway Patrol is investigating whether former state representative Robert Mecklenborg broke the law when, on an Ohio driver's license applications, he falsely reported he had no pending motor vehicle citations in Ohio or elsewhere - four days after he was arrested in Indiana on a DUI charge.That's fine. But what about the temporary Kentucky license tags on his car? No license. No Ohio plates? It's nearly 3 1/2 months since this clown was arrested and the Enquirer has yet to report that his blood test showed he was pumped up with Viagra, had out of state plates on his car and a young woman not his wife in the seat beside him. There are so many holes in this story it looks like Swiss cheese. Washburn still still refuses to be aggressive with this story. Perhaps, she is too busy planning the lounge she wants to plunk in the middle of the newsroom for visitors?
Is it me or is the stock headed into single digit territory by Friday?
@5:24 p.m. Good thing I sold mine today.
Banikaram and Micek get their second scalp. Eric Laurence handed his pink slip. Where's your memo, David L. Hunke or didn't the gals tell you about this one either?
@5:55, I doubt that Eric's demise was their work. Wasn't he in sales? I would guess that was the doing of Gordon Lee Jones, III.At least he did something this year besides golfing.
4:16 ooh conspiracy!!! Viagra in the blood stream. Who cares? No one but you unhappy haters. I live in Reno and even I know these facts. Let it go
True about impending layoffs in USAT prepress. Also worth noting: USAT has been losing reporters and online producers at an alarming rate these past several weeks.
Ed. Cassidy was a good guy, a valued colleague and a talented staff member who deserved far better treatment.No conspiracies needed. It just plain sucks.
@9:11 pm Eric had been moved to marketing during the Wilks regime, so, yes, Micek is responsible for his demise as well. Eric is a good guy with some digital chops, so losing him will hurt USAT.
It's amazing how two cast-offs (read: failures) from NBC could know exactly what to do so quickly in their time at Gannett/USAT. We're loosing more and more good people everyday and replacing them with mediocre talent from other companies who didn't want them anymore. What a way to build an empire.
I was disheartened to hear about Eric Laurence. He is a smart guy who is passionate about the brand. His departure makes no sense except that Jeffrey Wilks jumbled the marketing department in his short reign and now a few have had to pay for his zealousness.
9:29 you are so right. The folks at USAT rode their horse right into near bankruptcy. How dare these new folks try and change things. Outrageous. We need to get rid of them and go back to the past where arrogance ruled.
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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