An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
Another day,another opportunity to hire a useless vice president. Whose turn today? Dave? Maryam? Payne? Heather?
I would bet Dave and Maryam are spending most of their days now trying to figure out how to put out this Cassidy fire raging that they so ignorantly ignited. Dismissing, discreditng and demeaning usually is the best Gannett approach, right Dave? And Maryam is already hard at work doing just that.
looks like the deal chickens better deal with cassidy first
Clearly Mr. Hunke has run out of ways to justify his next bonus. The so-called Transformation has been a cluster f*** that left USAT spinning out of control with no sure hand at the helm. His next big idea seems to have been to hire a bunch of VPs with jargon-filled job descriptions to give the illusion that something is being accomplished other than the total destruction of the Nation's Newspaper. Who wants to place odds that the board will buy it?I don't understand why no one has stopped him. An entire newsroom and no one has the balls to speak truth to power? Hunke has managed to tear down in a matter of months what took years to build. And now he's spending money we supposedly don't have on VPs and cosseting the Your Life vertical with do-nothing hires and new offices? Is the man insane?I'm seriously asking that question. I've never seen anything like this. Someone needs to whisk that man away for a psych eval. He has to be, at some level, delusional.
Hunke is a milquetoast. (Well, scotch-toast, but that's another discussion.) He delegates everything of importance to incompetents while he flies around the country, speaking to Rotary and other local business organizations. That kind of activity is fine for a metro publisher, but not for the head of the formerly largest paper in the country. And, oh, the irony: Ed Cassidy wrote and produced the presentation that Hunke trots out during these visits. In fact, Hunke doesn't say much that's coherent and did not come from Cassidy's keyboard.If, as others have said, Banikarim had a hand in Cassidy’s position being cut, then it’s doubly bad on Hunke, as he allowed that to happen to the one person who’s kept him afloat since he arrived. (And, it’s worth noting, was not among the cadre of know-nothings assembled by Hunke himself.) If the cut was Hunke’s doing, it’s even worse as he repays dedication and performance “above and beyond” with treachery.I have no doubt that Hunke will get his due and be on his way soon. It’s just sad that he’ll have made a fortune before that happens, and that he gave a good shove to a paper that was teetering on the brink. I don’t want to be around when it hits bottom.
What we have is management that is convinced that we have to change the way that we do business and I agree. The problem is that you need to know something about the business in order to change it. Everyone they have making decisions is knows nothing or are far removed from the business so whatever they decide will not work. This will make a great business school case study some day.
When the Transformation first started, Hunke held a day-long session in the First Amendment Dining Room. It was a day to talk about what was coming next, explain roles, stroke egos.When pushed to answer "Will this make people leave?" or "Will people lose their jobs?" - Hunke's best answer was that people who really love USA TODAY would stay.A year later I think what we've learned is that many people who do love USA TODAY are gone. Of their own volition, like me, or forced out by people who will never understand the heart of the company, like Ed.So today I ask Hunke, do you really love USA TODAY? Do your new hires?
Banikarim has carte blanche to do what she wants, so i doubt there is fallout from ed's firing for her to care about. Just looking forward to her next travelogue, her lunch session with fourth tier facebook execs and her next hire off the nbc scrap heap. She must be following the heather frank playbook; appear to be doing something, but failing to actually advance a business plan delivering tangible results.
Hunke's big plan is to act like a greeter at a vegas casino, glad handing clients. Ellwood is now the day to day person, although she has not been seen in the newsrooms. They are relying on Payne's big digital plan for the website. But as others have so well noted previously, dressing up a pig wont matter if the emphasis on content doesnt change. This shouldnt be about marketers and bean counters. Thats not journalism. Veteran reporters have fled en masse. More ar looking for fear of layoffs. How is that helping usa today when talented producers leave and all that is left are editors, interns and slugs?
And I had such high hopes for Maryam. It's been too long and not one positive thing has happened. This company is so screwed.
Another day, another set of whiny complaints on Gannett Blog.
I am all for change if it makes sense. The transformation is an unmitigated failure. Advertising sucks, circulation sucks, most new business initiatives suck and no one seems to be in charge, but everyone wants to weigh in. When is Hunke going to realize that this isnt working? When will Hillkirk step up and decide changes are needed? Who is steering the ship? Where is the rudder? When is a course correction coming? This is why people are bailing. Is that the underlying agenda? Make the place so dysfunctional that the staff departures improve the bottom line and next year's management bonuses?
9:39: go fuck yourself before you go on suckup patrol at the crystal palace.
9:45, that's no way to talk to Maryam.
Susie E to the rescue!
Dear GannetteersYour position is going to be eliminated just like mine and thousands of others.Get the hell out now.What are you waiting for ?Some miracle transformation that makes Gannett once again profitable? That is not going to happen and you all know it.You believe your job is safe even though profit dives every quarter?You think your site can't survive without you?Do you know how to turn off the lights,as you think you will be the last one there to lock the doors and turn off the lights.The party is over, it is time to move on!
There could be a miracle transformation that makes Gannett more profitable again (we must never forget that through all this turmoil the company has been profitable, just not profitable enough). DealChicken could be successful and various online initiatives could work.Jobs, though, are not safe. In fact for this transformation to be successful the one thing they have to do is shed jobs. They don't care about attracting readers through quality journalism or compelling content, as the NY Times appears to be doing. Reporters, photographers, copy editors, page designers, all of us who work in the Information Centers, are an impediment to Gannett's success. Look at their latest ideas. Do any of them rely on quality journalism? No. They rely are tired gimmicks that have been tried before. Passions? News You Can Use. Real People Real News. News2000. All code for finding the cheapest way possible to fill the pages between ads. If Passions research shows readers want pet adoption stories look for us to spending time at the shelters while politicians skate with taxpayer money. It's obvious from DealChicken that the only thing they care about restoring the bottom line. DealChicken doesn't rely on local newspaper or web continent. In fact it takes money away from the local papers because every $$$ spent on DealChicken is $$$ not spent in the local paper. There's nothing wrong with profit. Profit made this company what it is today. But we should get rid of the idea that journalism matters here, accept the idea that we (editorial employees, press operators, anyone who has anything to do with legacy newspapers) are holding the company back from what Martore, Dubow and the rest have in mind. We need to move on. If you're not looking for a job or working on your Plan B you're a fool. The company has made it clear that they owe us nothing. The trade is that we owe them nothing. It's a simple contractual relationship. They pay for X number of hours, we provide X number of hours. Nothing more.
What do you expect from a company that takes out seasoned journalists and replaces them with kids and their iPhones? Instead of documentary photojournalism from a trusted name, readers are forced to pay for content that includes lead art snapped on an iPhone by some kid with no photo training. Who would buy that? I could draw cars with crayons at age 5, but Ford wouldn't have hired me to design the vehicles of the future!
Re: 11:21AM, Ford would have hired you if Dubow, Martore et al were ruining Ford.
Oh crap. Did I say ruining? I meant running. My bad.
Would have never happened:Henry Ford would have gotten up out of his grave to slap whoever would have put D/M et al in charge.
Another day, another NEW LOW: $11.43.How's those options doin' for ya, Craigie and Gracia?
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11:21 and no one would expect you to design Facebook, Itunes, Google, HuffPo or Groupon, Living Social or Deal Chicken. hmmmm who wins in that debate?
wow, i haven't been on here in a few days and so much has happened! At USAT, Eric Laurence was eliminated?!? Unbelievable. That guy started fresh out of college and has really delivered over the years. His dad worked for the company too. just another example of someone they view as a number.
Disgusting path that USAT is headed down. Lisa Fleek in Seattle, 20+ years, Cheryl Easterwood in Phoenix, 10+ years, Ed Cassidy with 20+ GCI years, Eric Laurence, 10+ years. What do all of them have in common? Smart, passionate representatives of the brand, results-driven. Sick. But nobody at the top cares. CUT the COST!
What ever happen to the golden boy Rudd Davis.
10:33: I am one of the few left who knows where the light switches are to turn them off. And how to lock the doors. But no one's hiring my demographic, so wish me well as I try not to die before retiring.
Good luck 3:20 ,I wish you the best.Sorry to be so cruel,but anyone who is not very near retirement should get out now and let the top management try to put out newspapers and shoppers and see what it is like to actually have to work in publishing .And not just make the layoff decisions and write themselves the unbelievable salary and bonus checks.
10:56, grandstanding is fine and all, but if you have the delusion for a minute that the digital age is about "quality journalism" then you've got another thing coming.Locally, perhaps, there is a market for stories that matter. And in moderation.Nationally, it's all about the lowest common denominator. It's all about who can attract eyes and get the news in front of the reader the most quickly.News consumers, too, are evolving to a place where we can get "just news" anywhere online. The problem is quickly escalating into that of the 'value add', rather, what can I get besides news?The average reader doesn't care if a story has a typo. Not in the big scheme of things. The average reader doesn't care about style and all the research you did. The average reader wants to know what's going on in the world.If you can be the person to tell them the fastest, and with the slant they want to read it in, you win. "Legacy newspapers," as you call them, are very much exactly that: legacy. Gannett's biggest problem to this point hasn't been 'forsaking journalism' so much as failing to understand and adapt to the digital space.And if you think that's foolish, I invite you to take a look at the media properties that aren't diving into the toilet and ask yourself how they deal with digital.
3:35. Not so fast. We're not dead yet. I see a huge market for local papers developing, and at the top end the quality sheets like the NYT, LAT and WSJ (without Murdoch, and hopefully soon for the future of the WSJ). Gannett needs to save the community newspapers and separate USA Today off on its own. Too bad they didn't sell to Murdoch when reportedly he was interested, although I really don't think he was serious because he had other plans.
Not so fast, 3:43. We're not dead yet. I see a bright future ahead for the community papers, perhaps stripped off the USA Today burdens when USAT is sent off to be an independent company. (see how big companies are splitting on Wall Street probably because a new tax bill is coming).
3:32 suggested getting out unless you're nearing retirement. I'd say get out IF you're nearing retirement. Things are in crisis mode at the Mother Ship. They have lots of lawyers and they will figure out a way to take your pension. My IRA took a horrible hit today with the market crash and tomorrow may be as bad or worse. But I can pull it out and put it in a mattress. Your pension money is supposedly yours. Don't bet on it, friends. Think about walking away and going to getting a job at Starbucks or Wal-Mart if you want to get your hands on your pension money. I really think Gannett is capable of grabbing it. The company is in the tank and the outlook is horrible.
I'm so glad they already let me go, and I took everything with me when I left! No way was I risking ANYTHING further with Gannett.
Just because I don't cry enough when I get home after work, I checked my 401(k) using benefitsweb.com/gannett.For a company that keeps telling all us fogies in print that we need to innovate, why does the site tell me that I should be using Internet Explorer 5.5, 6 or 7?Cripes, even MICROSOFT is telling everyone to stop using 6 because of security issues. For goodness sakes, whoever got bribed to farm this out to benefitsweb.com, please give them some cash back so they can upgrade to IE 9.
USAT is actually publishing 32-page papers?!?It is inexcusable that they don't have more ads.As Al used to tell us, "If you don't sell ads into this paper - & right now - you will not have the privilege of working for the nation's newspaper, you won't have the privilege of working for Gannett".And that's back when working for Gannett was a good thing. A real good thing.BTW - we got the ads.Tell you what - for a million a year, I'll fill that sumbitch for you, Senor Hunke.GathGath
Congrats 7:55 you now hold the record for the silliest, most childish gripe of the day! Take a bow!
8:51 Big Al never had to sell against the web, mobile, tablets, the cable Competition of today. In addition he wasn't a nice guy and treated people poorly. Let's not make the guy out to be more than he was. He created a national newspaper when all he had as competitors were local papers and TV. It's a different world
Don't get me Wrong he was brilliant but the world was different. He wouldn't be a savior today
Any word on the Courier Journal filling their VP of Advertising position?
I have to wonder how much Dubow et al lost today of Gannett's money in the stock market? Didn't he get board approval just last month to re-purchase $100 million in Gannett stock? Christ almighty, when will Dubow and Matore learn that you don't play the stock market with stockholder's money. You would think these idiots would have learned something in 2008 when they gambled about 1.9 billion in the market and lost. All of us have been paying the price since for that incredibly stupid decision. This management's team decision making borders on criminal behavior
9:39am Thanks for stopping by Robin Pence. You survived the Maryam hatchett this round at the expence of Ed Cassidy but you won't survive forever.The fact that Robin Pence is still in PR at Gannett and the best PR person in the company, Ed Cassidy, is gone says it all about how inadequate Maryam is as a CMO.
Wow 9:52 and guys like you are do brilliant. What company do YOU run? Oh that's right NONE. They haven't bought any stock back yet. It goes a little lower they buy a lot of stock for $100 million. No one knew including you Kreskin the stock market was going to collapse. But prognosticating from your couch after a few PBRs Is more your speed. A fan of Gannett and proud of it. Have at it Lemming Trolls
10:13 I hope Banikarim doesn't fire you next. She likes to target people who love their jobs and have given years of service. You sound like the perfect next employee to get wacked.Hope you have a lot of Gannett stock to keep you afloat when that happens.
Princess Maryam. Perfect.But, sweetie, be wary of the Queen.
watching the Met's/Marlins game the other day the announcers stated how when they get to a city on a road trip they immediately go get the local newspapers. In this case they all bought the Daily News, NY Post, Times, and Newsday. You can hear this on other games, and when something breaks in a sport (you will hears this with football and hockey also), again, it's "what I read in the paper today" kind of quotes.So why, if EVERYONE, as stated by the tech heads, is going to the internet, do you always hear of people going to the paper and not ONLINE somewhere?Just more proof to me that the papers themselves are self destructing for some unknown reason. Newspapers are still very relevent, and wanted. They can coexists with the I-net and such.
@12:43am They didn't mention The Journal News???? Oh wait- Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. There. Better now.
12:43 AM, I fully agree. We have convinced the public, wall street and ourselves that newspapers are dead. It's now becoming a self fulfilling prophecy, not just for Gannett.
I agree. I wonder how much of news that's given away on AOL, Yahoo, etc. comes from local papers. Would be interesting to see every paper take its content off line for one week. None would lose much money because they're making pennies with online. Maybe I'm wrong but I'd like to see what happens.
Gath,Sorry, you're a little late. USAT is already stuffed with about 25 or so SVPs and VPs whose contribution to the company is highly in doubt...in fact, destructive. I'm afraid you'll have to stay with the horses. Probably more rewarding anyway.
6:58...are you one of those that know better than everyone else? The Journal News is NOT in NYC...just in case you really wanted to know, so no, they wouldn't pick up the Journal News.Newspapers are in this mess because of them selves...not the Internet, news TV, or anything else.
Speaking of the journal news....Any idea yet where it's relocating to?
anonymous said... look for cuts and layoff at GCI in SEPTEMBER and bye the end of 2011. it is coming. watch out great source.
Hey 10:26AM -At least the horses are better at selling ads than the staff they have now. And we don't have a VP among 'em!Cheers,Gath
The only consolation now is that Dubow's stock options are worthless.
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