Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Aug. 15-21 | Your News & Comments: Part 2

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  2. Something is deeply wrong if this company cannot obtain working capital at ultra low interest rates. Maybe the dividend hike and stock repurchase plan were ill conceived from the get go. Doubt this will affect her bonus, though

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  4. Comment one should be removed. The personal attack on Martore is unwarranted and has nothing to do with how badly she has screwed up Gannett while improving her salary and bonus.



    GREENVILLE NEWS raised price of store papers to $1.00 daily and $1.75 Sunday. a few weeks later they stopped putting the TV booklet in the store papers.

    now they have started a false advertising campaign, by putting on the front of their sunday papers for example " $258 savings in coupons inside today's paper. problem is, the papers contained no coupons. this was at walmart where they had several hundred papers there and the store employees helped me look- we found no coupons in any of the papers. then I went to Ingles grocery store. same result there no coupons. this has been going on for several weeks. is there anything we can do to shut this 'rag' down?!? is there any legal roads we can take to get this company fined for false advertising. this company is a LIAR.

  7. Once again repugnant personal attack on a female executive. That's your fan base Jim

  8. I did a double-take reading the first comment. Please remove the offending portion. Despite the fact that Martore is a terrible manager and devoid of social skills, there's no need for vulgarity.

  9. 8:14 Maybe the coupons were in display ads, rather than inserted.

  10. To the people who wanted the comment removed, that's not very inclusive or mainstreaming of you. It takes all kinds and we should be appreciative and tolerant of people and behaviors different from our own.

  11. The dollar amount is of savings, not necessarily coupons. If one real estate ad offers a price drop of $23,000, the paper could just as easily, and correctly, mention that "savings of $23,000" are offered in that edition.

    Read the words, don't imagine what you think you read.

  12. Hey Jim, can you repost an edited version of the 6:23 AM comment? I thought part of it was informative.

  13. Following is an edited version of the first comment that appeared on this post -- one left by 6:23 that I removed because it included offensive language:

    Martore the [XXXXX] again. Threatening to fire anyone who does not comply with her rules. She had a finance team meeting and basically ripped apart the corporate finance team. It seems like Gannett is having trouble refinancing debt and might even miss a few payments.

    Get ready for some severe layoffs!

  14. 9:09 how silly is that post. We are buying back $100 mill in stock but can't pay our bills. Come on folks, if you are going to make things up at least get creative.

  15. Someone in the last thread expressed the wish that Carl Icahn make a move on Gannett. Corporate raiders like to go after companies that are bloated one way or another, with excessive costs or underperforming assets. Gannett has underperforming assets, but it has always been a low-cost, Walmart-style operator. That's due in part because of Gannett's half-hearted commitment to journalism, but also because being lean-and-mean makes the stock less attractive to someone who wants to grab the company, hatchet the workforce and pump up the profit. Gannett does that quite well on its own. That's its operating model.

  16. @Jim: Any intel from the T-31 meeting?

  17. A earlier poster noted the lackluster performance of Carolyn Washburn and Julie Engebrecht in Cincinnati. That's true. More and more Dayton and Columbus stories showing up in local section because they've gutted the Metro staff and don't have enough people left in the LIC to cover the news, much less do penetrating investigative work. Wasburn spends more time talking about turning West Chester office into a community center and putting a lounge for visitors in the middle of the newsroom than she does talking news or being a watchdog. How she's managed to snow people for 25 years is amazing. Engebrecht is just as sad who brings little authority to the table and is generally seen as a lightweight and a bad lighweight at that.

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  21. Cj had 10 people in finance given notices for sept 23rd, I was told today.

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  24. Some very important bankers were in our offices last week to discuss financing options for Gannett "and potential spin-offs".

  25. One consequence of newspapers taking in mediocre reporters who cannot write can be seen today on the wire. Eventually these subpar performers find a way to join wire services, and then we get an article like the one today about the Indiana State Fair accident.

    Today's reporters are dumb and lazy, so they rely on irrelevant comparisons. The article said the OSHA investigation into the rigging collapse is certain to take months because the Notre Dame probe took months. Really? The situations are entirely different, but hey, don't bother to quote any sources or do any checking!

    These kinds of stories are all over the Internet now. The writers don't want to work, so they just make stupid comparisons and contrasts.

    How did these people ever get hired?

  26. I am pleased to announce that effective today, we are establishing a Midwest Group Information Technology department. This is a move from local IT direction and structure at each of the operating units within the Midwest group to a department that will serve the entire Midwest group. Over the past 24 hours each of the IT employees within the group have been directly notified of this change and how it will impact their role. The change today is the beginning of an evolution, not a sudden change, which will provide positive changes in how information technology is supported and provided throughout the group.

    The goal is to establish a cohesive organization that strives for consistency in process and technology allowing for greater business opportunity and value. We will be achieving this goal by aligning resources within teams of specific disciplines.

    The structure of the department will align resources under three teams that include Client Services, Infrastructure Services, and Business & Analytical Systems. Each of these three teams will be under the leadership of a director-level position.

    · Client Services will be led by Alan Bruce who has been serving as the Information Technology Solutions Director for Gannett Wisconsin Media and has been with Gannett for 13 years.

    · Infrastructure Services will be led by Eric Heinkel who has been serving as the Information Technology Solutions Operations Manager for Gannett Wisconsin Media and has been with Gannett for 15 years.

    · Business & Analytical Systems will be led by Cilla Trenado who has been serving as the IT Director for The Times Media Network in Shreveport and has been with Gannett for 35 years.

    A list of functions within the three teams are listed below.

    Client Services

    · Customer Service

    · Policies & Compliance

    · Content Systems

    · Digital Solutions Development

    · Ad Production Workflows

    · Layout

    · Classified Systems

    · Image Processing

    · Commercial Printing Technology

    Infrastructure Services

    · Servers/Data

    · Network

    · Telecommunications

    · Desktop Standardization

    · Infrastructure Finances

    · Infrastructure/Operations Standards

    Business & Analytical Systems

    · Advertising Systems

    · Circulation Systems

    · Analytical Systems

    · Customer Solutions Management

    · Business Interfaces

    · Customer Relationship Management

    Each member of the IT staff will be impacted by the organizational changes announced today and will be reporting under one of these three teams.

    In the short term, the IT staff in each location will continue in their role as they have in the past. The initial phase of this new department structure will be discovery. During discovery we will focus on fully appreciating the people, priorities, needs and requirements of each operating unit. The discovery phase will allow for opportunities to be identified and implemented. Again, I want to emphasize that our new department is an evolution in change and not a sudden change in the way we perform our jobs.

    Our long term goal is to be a cohesive organization that efficiently and effectively provides a high level of service while being a strong business partner.

    If there are any concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact myself or any member of my leadership team listed above. Our team is focused on being as transparent as possible as well as fluid in our ongoing approach.

    On behalf of the new Midwest Group IT leadership team we are excited at the prospect of new opportunities this team can collectively accomplish and look forward to working more closely with each one of you. Thank you!

    Phil Legler

    Midwest Group IT Director, USCP

    Vice President/Information Technology

    Des Moines Register Media

  27. I dont know that you can say Icahn is focused on bloated employee bases any more. Maybe in the greenmail 80s. He is more focused on underpermorming assets. Motorola (he just made a killing on the Google deal) Lions Gate Films, Clorox, Forest Labs are all about lousy management and low stock price. Gannett seems to fit the bill. He could take a stake and lobby for a spinoff of TV, maybe Usa Today, or Career Builder. Hey, if bankers are already looking at unlocking value, why not call Carl? He would have Dubow and Martore over a barrel. And hopefully, wearing one.

  28. If spin-offs are in the works, GMTI, is a prime candidate. There is money to be made in managed hosting these days, but not when you're giving your product away for free to incompetent end-users, aka most of the sites.

  29. GMTI is doing such a nice job handling issues with Wave 2, we should get a freakin' rebate on our free product.

    an incompetent end-user


    Just curious if this is from a credible source or just someone being spiteful and making stuff up... anyone have any details or sources for this?

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  32. It is pretty credible, unfortunately.

  33. @2:50 it must be since ten of our cj finance people got notices effective sept.

  34. 8:14...happens all the time here. Rack and store cards saying "up to" 300 dollars in coupons and savings. Technically right and legally written but you know people don't read it that way. You would have to take advantage of ALL coupons and savings to realize the number. Totally misleading.

    Also here, whatever routes are at the end of the run usually end up with half the store ads if they are lucky and usually no coupons. That's due to the papers on the front end sometimes getting 2 and 3 coupon copies...store ads as well. Insert packages usually are made up Wed-Thur. so it falls on them. Complaints every week from stores and carriers and customers to no avail.

  35. Lee offering buyouts in STL. They hope 10 from the newsroom will take the offer.


  36. T-31 meeting today's happenings ... my guess is ... lots and lots of buzzwords followed by lots and lots and alcohol tonight followed by more buzzwords tomorrow.

  37. Jim, that Des Moines IT announcement is pretty significant. Is it going to get its own blog?

  38. to jim and 8:31 am

    it was coupons! red plum and smart source. I have neighbors who take the paper and they received it. 8:31, I did READ the words friend. IT WAS COUPONS. I realize there are rop ads and display ads in the paper. and I wasnt the only one complaining. we are being told by greenville news when we complain, they aren't getting enough coupons and then they mail them to us???

  39. What is going on with Courier Journal Finance?

  40. Don't stop by here very often since moving on, but as soon as I started reading this story on the U, I thought of my former employer.


    Donna Shalala and Miami are in some deep trouble with the NCAA.

  41. At our site the burst says that "subscribers will receive $### in savings ..." Single copy editions no longer contain coupons.

  42. Curious to know what the community news braintrust has been discussing for the past two days at headquarters? Perhaps sharpening their knives for the next round of staff strafing?

  43. The only thing Gannett has learned and done in the past few years is that they can manage a bottom line via layoffs. Print is a mess with no direction, and on-line cannot cover the losses of print. While no plan has been announced, it appears Gannett is shrinking print as quickly as possible (and related staffs) until on-line revenue is comparatively viable.

  44. 10:47...sounds like something our circ manager would do here. Since he took power everything he's done is aimed at helping home delivery This would be a huge nail.

    What they don't understand is people leave home delivery for single copy, not the other way around. They would just go to the competitor's.

  45. 8:21 PM and others: The coupon distributors and other national inserters have been shorting newspapers for years by the number of total circ that is single copy sales at each paper. Many of them think of single copy buyers as second-class readers, without the right demographics (especially household income) of subscribers. Distributors also don't always buy the whole market, often just select zip codes that are more likely to use their coupons, or shop in stores that sell the couponed items.

    So Greenville may only get 70% of needed coupons to cover its entire Sunday distribution. This shorting practice is frustrating for the Advertising and Circulation departments, not to mention SC readers, but this is nothing new. Don't blame the paper, blame the advertiser.


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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