Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Aug. 29-Sept. 4 | Your News & Comments: Part 2

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51 comments:

  1. From a former Gannetteer:
    Get away from Gannett! Why work your but off so that they can hire over paid execs who don't pull their weight and are only concerned about bottom line revenue.
    You go through the stress ,the worry about losing your job,trying your best to make budget!
    Why ! Why whore yourselves day after day for those bastards who treat you like disposable garbage!

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  2. Pointroll kid8/30/2011 9:35 AM

    DG Fast Channel (DGIT) has bought MediaMind (formerly Eyeblaster) the other month and now this morning announced that they are buying EyeWonder. Both of these companies compete with PointRoll and many of our clients would say that MediaMind and Eyewonder are great companies. Heck, we lose most of our business to both of them.

    It appears that Saridakis is extremely close with the DG Fast folks and this is part of his strategy to roll up the rich media space. I wouldn't doubt that DG Fast gets bought by GSI Commerce as Saridakis is making a big media technology push at GSI.

    Everyone at PointRoll is buzzing about it this morning and some of our sales people are thinking of just jumping ship since they are all missing their targets.

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  3. New Murfreesboro GM:
    http://www.dnj.com/article/20110830/BUSINESS/108300321/DNJ-GM-We-re-part-great-things-?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

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  4. Pointroll is toast. Sales are down. Operations keeps screwing up campaigns and our leadership team all live and stay in Chicago. We have not seen anyone in the last month even show up at our offices.

    Our new office space is a disaster. Cubicles, low ceilings, smells and dirty bathrooms. We look like an insurance company.

    This company jumped the shark a few years ago.

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  5. To the press operator I call "The Layoff King,"

    Sounds like you're pretty frustrated trying to do it all... I once had an old pressman tell me, "No one can be as good as you, as fast... how did this paper survive before you came along."

    I've had the oportunity to work in both shops, union and non-union, and be assured, it's in human nature to let someone who thinks he does it all, do it.

    You are tilting at windmills, Don Quixote.

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  6. Hey, shouldn't we be talking about how we can help the Indy union make the most of its campaign to lift the curtain on Gannett's bad journalism? Seems like a good opportunity to shine light on this company's lack of corporate integrity. Indy residents deserve to know more about the Star's failure to adequately cover its community. Ryerson's weekly whines add insult to injury. Where can we send money to help the union's cause? What about an online campaign targeting key advertisers and subscribers? Think about it. How can we help the union get the truth out?

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  7. From a "retired" journalist. The Courier News staff in Somerville is doing a great job covering the impact of Irene in Central Jersey. (Kudos to the Home News Tribune staff too.) Decimated by Gannett (imagine only three reporters covering a market of more than a half million that includes two of the richest counties in the United States!), the CN staffers are performing superbly under both natural and man-made, ie Gannett, adversity. The local staffers, from the reporters and photographers to editors, are to be congratulated for doing well under corporate-imposed handicaps. I hope their feudal masters at APP and elsewhere appreciate the job they're doing.

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  8. I interviewed at DG recently and will most likely leave Pointroll to join them after I receive my next commission check and true up.

    Pointroll is totally upside down these days. Now with this acquisition by DG Fast Channel, we have no ability to compete with the combined eyewonder and eyeblaster.

    Apparently, Rob Gatto has some grand plan he is pitching to Gannett, but he has not delivered at all, so he lost all his clout with the higher ups in Gannett.

    By the way, Gannett is a DG Fast client too through the broadcast division. Too funny and ironic!

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  9. This just in ...

    Silverman joins Gannett's U.S. Community Publishing's corporate news staff

    The Tennessean announced today that editor Mark Silverman will leave the newspaper and join the Gannett Co. Inc.U.S. Community Publishing Division's corporate news staff in mid-September. Silverman was editor of The Tennessean for nearly five years.

    In his new position, Silverman will be part of a team helping the company's news organizations transform their coverage and increase their local impact at a time when the media landscape is changing rapidly. This will be Silverman's third tour of duty on the corporate staff. He also has served as top editor in Detroit, Louisville, Rockford, IL., and at Gannett News Service.

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  10. The U.S. attorney for Arizona, Dennis Burke, has resigned over the "Fast and Furious" scandal. Nothing on the Arizona Republic's website, azcentral.com, though the story is on latimes.com and the independent tucsonsentinel.com. How long will it take the Republic to catch up?

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  11. Arizona Republic finally posts a story about U.S. attorney resigning because it's "the right time in his life to move on and pursue other career aspirations." Yeah, right. And the LA Times and Washington Post and Tucson Sentinel say it's over the "Fast and Furious" gun scandal. A weak effort by the Republic: http://www.azcentral.com/news/election/azelections/articles/2011/08/30/20110830us-attorney-arizona-burke-resigns30-ON.html

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  12. Heads UP! One of the Tops Resigns from The Tennessean.. Going back to Corporate..

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  13. Yep, looks like five years was Silverman's sentence to Nashville--banishment from corporate:

    http://www.tennessean.com/article/20110830/NEWS01/110830021/Silverman-joins-Gannett-s-U-S-Community-Publishing-s-corporate-news-staff?odyssey=mod|breaking|text|FRONTPAGE

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  14. How bout them period 8 numbers? Period 9 looking any different? I am scared. If we keep this up we may as well crank out the final edition and retire the press.

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  15. Ding-dong... Silverman's five years, preceded by EJ Mitchell's reign of terror, have destroyed and demoralized a once-great newspaper. Let's just say he won't be missed except by a couple of toadies. I feel for the journalists at the next paper where he lands next.

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  16. Silverman wasn't so much sentenced to Nashville as much as Nashville was sentenced to Silverman. He's used mediocre news judgment, questionable hiring practices and horrible leadership to destroy morale across the newsroom. His management style in Nashville has been disfunctional at best, and at worst abusive. Will he be missed? Not by the newsroom, but maybe by the Nashville Scene, which has published plenty of interesting copy about his exploits over five years.

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  18. Silverman's reign of terror in Nashville is now over. This man shouldn't be supervising ANYONE. Why does Gannett continue to let him have a job? Now corporate has to move some of the incompetents that Silverman promoted. Otherwise, one of them will be in line to be the next editor and not much is going to change. The chaos, the dysfunction, battered morale--all will continue if one of them becomes editor.

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  19. Does Silverman still berate and belittle people in public and throw tantrums like he did during his brief tenure in Louisville.

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  20. Graphic designer layoff in Phoenix has happened -many let go.

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  23. Mark Silverman did more to destroy morale at The Tennessean than any editor in the paper's history. His bullying tactics and micro-managing will not be missed.
    Some of those he laid off and/or ran off have already been missed. The print version is only a shell. The new editor has their work cut out for them because all that is left is a newsroom full of yes, Mark, anything you say Mark people.

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  24. I can't imagine working five years at a Silverman-led papers. One year in Louisville nearly killed some people.

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  25. Let me get this straight: horrible leadership, poor news judgement, rules by fear. And he gets a promotion. Makes sense.

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  26. Groupon Traffic Tumbles -- Is Deal Fatigue to Blame?

    The increasingly competitive group discount and daily deal marketplace may be approaching saturation, judging by new data from Experian Hitwise which shows that market-leader Groupon saw total traffic tumble 50% between the second week in June and the third week in August. The question is whether this indicates growing group discount fatigue among consumers.

    Well, not entirely: Living Social, one of Groupon's main competitors, actually saw its traffic increase 27% over the same period, according to Experian. But the fact remains that overall traffic to sites in Experian's "Daily Deal and Aggregator" category declined 25%, suggesting that a broader trend may indeed be afoot. A separate survey of local deals customers conducted by PriceGrabber in June found slightly over half said they felt overwhelmed by the proliferation of daily deals and group discount offers.

    None of this is particularly super news for Groupon, which has been gearing up for an IPO despite financial issues which have given some investors pause. According to a revised financial filing in June, Groupon posted a $420 million loss in 2010 and losses of $117.1 million and $102.7 million in the first and second quarters of 2011, respectively. Costs continue to increase in part because of the personnel-intensive approach to local sales. Meanwhile Groupon faces push back from deal partners who object to the standard 50%-50% revenue-sharing agreement (although rumor has it that some merchants have negotiated revenue sharing deals with a favorable 80%-20% split).

    None of this has stopped Groupon's valuation soaring from $1.3 billion in April 2010 to $3 billion in November, $4.75 billion in January, and around $25 billion today. Now we have possible signs of consumer fatigue, growing resistance from business partners, and the company has yet to post a profit: sounds like it's time for an IPO!

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  29. Sounds like a lot of passive-aggressive cowards are running forward to celebrate.

    That's pretty much what this blog and the "journalist revolution" (snicker) amount to these days. No one has the guts to do something or the smarts to succeed, but they're really good at dancing around after the guy finally leaves.

    Sounds like Silverman will still have an executive post, and the people here will still be trying to justify their existence.

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  30. Hey Mark! Thanks for contributing @ 5:25PM.

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  31. I will never understand what the performance review is for. Every year they find one thing that the employee didn't do to the managers liking and include it in the review. Even if it's a one time situation that can be handled by simple communication by management at the time of the incident. What does it accomplish to bring it up again during an employees review. This only seems to bring down morale and hurt the company in the long run.

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  32. 6:15 pm I think it's a control issue and gives management an excuse to give you a small (insulting) raise. They truly like to focus and obsess about one insignificant issue. I always wanted the opportunity to give my manager a review.

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  33. @6:15, because that's the Gannett way, focus on the negative, keep the positive in perspective. I wasn't 'allowed' to have someone evaluated at the highest level. I had to find something negative to drop it down at least a 1/2 point, and I was always told, "nobody's perfect". Didn't matter how hard I fought. And I couldn't agree more, the reviews are a waste, and they certainly aren't used to 'control' raises, because we don't get those either.

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  34. Good try, 5:34, but not very original or clever.

    Today we are seeing the fruits of FJFR -- Failed Journalists' Failed Revolt.

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  35. IMO Nothing but an egotistical, intimidating, morale destroying bully. The fact he still has a job speaks volumes. I was at the 'Ville. I saw and heard it all. Every day of it.

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  36. I don't know how Florida Today's revenue numbers look nor do I know how many people have been laid off in the last month.

    What I do know it's embarrassing as hell to bring in someone to be interviewed and walk down company street with recycling bins collecting rain water leaking from the windows overhead. Are we so broke that can't buy window caulking?

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  37. @6:43. Raise? What is this "raise" of which you speak? I got a good review but for the third time in four years I didn't get a raise. Company financial woes etc.

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  38. In other Nashville news ... long-time press room manager Gary Baumgartner (not sure of his exact title) resigned today!

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  39. Crotchfelt issued a warning to OC that we need to make Sept bottom line or there will be additional layoffs late November and December. Duh, this is the same old routine. Maybe she should take a 5% reduction like some other sites did and contribute.

    Crotchfelt Baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  40. Threats and fear are not working as tactics for improving performance. Celebration, encouragement, open communication, employee development and collaboration seem to be getting traction. Fear doesn't work... maybe a different approach is in order?

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  41. Following the Journal News' self-proclaimed success of providing adequate coverage of the hurricane, they got smoked by the competition, including the start-up, Patch.com on the very next "non-scheduled", spot news story.

    This afternoon a violent confrontation broke out at the, Westchester County-owned amusement park, Rye Playland. 15 people were arrested, two cops hurt. Those arrested were Muslims and the cause of the fracas was that ride operators at the park refused to allow muslim women on certain rides while wearing the headscarves that are customary garb for women practicing Islam.

    Great story, possible national interest. After midnight, the Journal News still doesn't have a single image related to the event on their website, Lohud.com. That is pathetic. Patch.com has a gallery with pics showing the multi-jurisdictional police response and video interviews to accompany a well written narrative. The local TV news station, News 12 has very compelling cell phone video of cops fighting with muslim women and other cops in riot gear forming a perimeter around the scuffle. Again, the Journal News has nothing!

    I could explain the many failures of specific incompetents at the Journal News so that people might understand who took the big bucks for a number of years while driving the Journal News into a business failure and community irrelevance. That specificity would likely get my post deleted because of the increased sensitivity level on GannettBlog.

    I will therefore, leave my generic criticism of the Journal News at this...a painful but non-specific criticism of a paper that is failing along with countless others because XXXXXXX took $200k/year to spout corporate, horse shit, buzz words. He would direct his subordinates to work done by journalists at other news organizations and suggest they do something similar...of course he would decorate his suggested theft of creativity with cutting-edge, corpora-speak like, "disruptive and innovative" or perhaps a new "iteration" of something.

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  42. Jimbolya it has been ages since you begged for money. Where is the quarterly update and plea?

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  43. So is Phoenix actually finally moving half their ads to GIADC? Any knowledge on what took so long, or why they get to keep so much of their work while the rest of us had to ship it?

    Jesus, I miss my artists.

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  44. I've written a lot of reviews, and when I give them there's never any surprises for my staff. If there was a problem in the past year, they know about it - or if they got praised, they know about it. I usually start out by saying, hey, you know all this but we have to go through it anyway.

    I would only give the top rating if someone was doing two jobs well for an extended period of time or a similar level of effort. There would also have to be exceptional cause to give the lowest rating. I wish I could give raises that meant something, but we are where we are.

    Exceptional means exactly that. Showing up every day, doing all your work correctly, contributing positively to the team - that's the minimum expectation of the job, a "3". You volunteer for committees, write a blog on the side, beat sales goals consistently, you see a "4". If I go on emergency sick leave and you take care of my work without letting your duties slide, it's a "5".

    I'm sorry if your manager doesn't approach it the same way, but the word 'review' indicates it's stuff you already know. If your goal is management, remember that little wisdom nugget and your staff will appreciate it like you would have.

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  45. 12:44 (former TJN photographer) just for the record, TJN did not get beaten on the Playland story. LoHud.com was way ahead of Patch from minute one and long into the night. Again, you obviously didn't even bother to look before spewing your hate. Might want to check this morning's front page, too, before you look silly again.

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  46. 6:39 AM is right -- I wrote and gave out reviews for years, and there should be little (or preferably, nothing) in them that surprises the employee. It's not cool to surprise an employee about a problem no supervisor told him about. (I had one supervisor under me who tried to avoid facing problems, and who tended to shuffle them off to me.) If a supervisor provided negative info about an employee for a review, and I found out the supervisor had NOT told the employee about the problem, then the supervisor would see that reflected in his or her next review.

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  47. The description of Gannett reviews are spot-on. I'm certainly human, not perfect -- usually accurate, I made inevitable missteps through stress or exhaustion -- and I appreciated feedback from my managers.

    But when reviews were sent back to be rewritten because I had two "5's" (according to one manager who later left the company in disgust, and thus let me in on that little fact), it was made clear to him that "3's" are what one gets no matter what.

    Indeed in my entire tenure with Gannett, at my site I never once received a cost-of-living increase even matching the Labor Department's inflation index, let alone some mythical "merit" increase.

    Yet one would think if one were in fact as "mediocre" as one's reviews consistently alluded, one would have been "let go" at some point rather than being relied upon to come in early, stay late and put in 60-hour workweeks when others usually refused.

    I considered it the lay of the land. While I loathed what were essentially meaningless reviews poisoned with a mandatory negative and often inaccurate comment to erase everything else which was positive, I loved my work (I insisted).

    Let 'em play their game, I thought. Doesn't matter, to me: I do very good work, I know it and so do reps, clients, even the manager forced to delete his heretical rating of "5" for some issues.

    I told myself that my signature on these things only attested to my read the document; not that I sanctioned their half-baked accuracy.

    Indeed, the form itself states that this is exactly what one's signature attests: the document was read. Yet the following year, guess what would show up as established "fact" lazily culled from a previous review so some manager could go through the motions again?

    I am glad to be out of that silly circus.

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  48. 1:56 pm - The only way you could get away with giving someone a "5" was if you balanced it out with a "2" or a couple of "3"s. That way, their average is still...average.
    The theory is that no one is *that* good and you are supposed to focus on improving them in the coming year. If you can't find any faults, you have nothing to "improve".
    So, when I did reviews, the 5s became 4s so I wouldn't have to argue with HR.

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  49. I found reviews to be demoralizing and insulting, because after a few it became obvious they were rigged and also because over the whole year no one brought up the supposed faults reflected in the review. Eventually I treated them like the sham events they were, but it pissed me off every time. It was only on Gannett Blog that some editors eventually owned up to the charade.

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  50. One of the biggest frustrations I had as a Gannett supervisor was having to tell an employee that he or she had a great year, with strong work and a rating of 4 on a scale of 5, but that the raise would only be 2.5 percent. I felt like the financial reward was an insult - often below the inflation rate. The company seemed built around giving small raises - the pool was never more than 3 percent in my years with Gannett - while paying multimillion-dollar executives and delivering 25 percent profit margins to Wall Street. Raises that small make it impossible to retain the best employees, and to keep people motivated. I worked in the newsroom, and the motivation, fortunately, was to give readers the best possible journalism. Journalists don't expect to get rich, but Gannett executives evidently do.

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  51. I do two jobs on a regular basis sometimes three but it only gets counted as doing my job. Never have gotten a fifth star for anything. What good is the grading system if no one gets the highest grade? It is a waste of time and does hurt morale but Gannett management seems to be on some kind of power trip.

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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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