An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
To the comments in part 3 about single copy sales/prices. In the years I've been here, our paper has had single copy sales really dent home delivery. Why? At the time S/C carriers were the best. They cared about the product and did everything possible to present a decent looking product, regardless of how it came out the door. Home Delivery and the managers/bosses who ran circulation...those who came from home delivery, did everything in their power to sabatoge S/C. What these people here don't get...and I suspect all over...is that people leave home delivery for single copy...not the other way around. With all that said...bring on price increases give racks to home del. carriers. They worry about their delivery time limits...the racks get delivered late..if at all. Price raises hurt everybody...especially for less product.Someone said raise revenue instead of cutting costs. That would mean making a product people will buy for the money they're asked to spend. All cutting costs does is cut quality. That does not equal selling more.
What could be worse than having Gannett's board of directors?How about having Hewlett-Packard's?
Stock price continues down.I would bet the farm that new layoff lists are being compiled .There are no new revenue resources that haven't been tried so expense cuts (layoffs) will have to be made.I wonder if there will be enough employees left to turn off the lights and lock the doors.
Being on the board of a news/media company like Gannett should carry with it an extra sense of responsibility - after all, it is the only business protected by the First Amendment. But to these high rollers all that matters is the paycheck for board members. For the top execs, it is about negotiating your parachute before you even get hired.
12:49: It's a total train wreck and it's only going to get worse.
Heard a couple days ago that Her Highness & Co. will be leaving the confines of the Crystal Palace to check out the Florida papers a week from today.And that no wheelchair will be on the corporate jet.File that under:"Something Wicked This Way Comes"
3:50pm, that explains all the painting going on around here.
Painting is a sure sign. At my site there was that and a crash "clean up" program which basically denuded the character of the entire workplace in preference toward something more appealing to an automaton.Of course, there was no building maintenance staff to speak of by this time, so most tasks fell to other staff which meant they would then be neglecting their actual jobs.Morale was so low even then that some just said, "Fine! I'll call my client back... later. I'm busy cleaning for the suits' arrival!"Others, the really foolish diehards (such as myself), kept working and came in on their own time off for this.In retrospect, kind of silly if not outright pathetic!
Per the price hike discussion:I'm not sure news content is all that far down at some papers. Quality can certainly be debated, but the majority of space lost has been advertisements. Open up your paper and see how many ads there are today versus 3,5 or 10 years ago. So arguing that consumers are getting less may not hold water. Arguing that they are getting worse could be a different story. Still, I maintain that corporate trying to increase revenues rather than cut expenses (furloughs/layoffs) is a positive development.
Former Gannett, looking in from another media company: This blog personalizes some decisions which are strictly related to the necessary changes to the expenses and consolidations to keep things running. Sure, I bet some leaders hold cards and play games. In some cases, the leaders simply may not have a clue about how everything fits together. The right thing to do is to determine the necessary cash flow from a property and decide on the best strategy to get there. Unfortunately, it appears that sharing the pain and old relationships poison the process, BUT where doesn't that happen. Another unfortunately: There are bad ideas from new hires and old hires. Hopefully, good leadership will kill them when they need to die. If you are cutting the newsroom without cutting other areas, you are missing the need to truly reorganize toward a leaner plan with a push for mobile growth in audience and revenue. People, the CEO isn't wrong. He simply might not have found the real leadership he needs for what we all know needs to be done. There is a right way and a wrong way. The real crime? So little talk and energy from the top about the value of what we do in the communities. The future of a media in the local market will still be built on three pillars: relationships, credibility and customer service.
8:40 likes to keep mush in his mouth. Mmmmm--mush.
At the APP this afternoon, there was a staff meeting led by the "executive editor" during which he hinted at more turmoil and change for a staff already on its knees. He said that over the next few months, there would be some sort of transition that would find newsroom staffers working in one of three general areas: content creation, content delivery or community interaction. Details were scarce, but hardly reassuring: he said that "some of you may end up in a different beat" or "a different job," and "some of you may find yourselves reapplying for a job."I mean, when is enough enough? This is a staff hardly able to cover the APP market anymore, much less the need for "regional" stories to feed the "northern three" papers on top of that. Exactly where can they continue to cut and still put out a paper? Of course, the dysfunctional design "studio" will no doubt be untouched by whatever happens, since Towns allows them to make editorial decisions, usurp editors' authority and call most of the shots anyway.Then, shortly after the meeting, Towns could be heard in the glass office of an editor in whom he seems to confide regularly, chuckling rather loudly, asking, "So what did you think?" A real display of concern for the peons whose lives he gets to play with, huh? No doubt about it, he is the worst thing ever to happen to the APP.
Hollis Towns is where he is because Gannett needs to look and act "politically correct" by meeting some kind of quota. Qualifications and competence are irrelevant these days when it comes to meeting quotas and satisfying edicts from the main office. This guy is not qualified...period.
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The story 9:09 tells is a result of employees' acceptance of the dumbing-down of the newspaper process. When it started years ago, they accepted it because they thought their jobs would be easier.The results have gone against them. But they have no one to blame but themselves. They could have resisted, and they chose not to.
9:37 -- When I used to work at Gannett, there was no choice. The dumbing down was mandated and those who resisted were labeled "dinosaurs" or "prima donnas." I left but if you work for Gannett, resistance is futile. The company does not want -- or like -- employees who think. That's why you have so many incompetent Yes Men/Women in high-profile positions.
Gannett's slide toward oblivion makes it an easy target for its critics. It's hard to defend the monumentally stupid decisions made by GCI's last few CEOs. Many of those victimized by those decisions have a right to be bitter, and to share that bitterness on this blog. Thanks for being here, Jim.Think about it. Gannett's ship set sail many decades ago for warm climes and prosperity. It ended up somewhere north of Iceland, sitting on thin ice, waiting for warm trade winds that will never come. And so what did the ship's owners do? They threw the sailors overboard, rewarded the captain and navigator and promised better days ahead. A few more cuts and consolidations oughta do it, they repeated and repeated and... History will show that Gannett's failure came at the hand of shysters peddling the wrong brand of elixir. The union in Indianapolis has it right and should be applauded for affirming what discerning Indy-ites already know: Gannett stands for piss-poor journalism, with most good stories just outside its reach.
No cutting of management ranks at the crystal palace or at usa today. We are getting fatter at the top every day.
10:44 Natural behavior for those at the top leading a company down. They put more people between them and the door--and they have someone to blame.
Excellent post, 10:20 PM!!!
The APP's local coverage is pathetic. To hear that they're fiddling around to give readers even less content is just sad. That's exactly what all that bullshit in those staff meetings comes down to: Strap in, peons, we're going for another ride to see just how much of a skeleton we can make this motherfucker. They'll cloak this in any variety of buzzwords in style at the moment - I lived through so many of them while I was there that I just have to laugh at it all. It got going under Skip and obviously it's going strong under Towns.
As just a reader let me say this: As this "less is more" theory takes hold at the journal news you can guarantee that more readers will be lost in westchester and rockland. the rockland edition is already a sad joke because of its inadequate local coverage. It's already too little, too late. How little, how late can it get?
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