An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
Jim,There is a company, Narrative Science, that Gannett looked at using sometime ago. They are an automated/robot journalism tool. Basically, they write stuff in seconds that would take journalists hours to compose.Narrative Science appears in an article in today's New York Times. (http://nyti.ms/oz1gvQ).Interestingly, I also had a friend tell me this morning that our former Chief Digital Officer, Saridakis, is a lead investor along with some of his buddies from Doubleclick, in Narrative Science. Furthermore, Saridakis presented to a select group of Wharton students recently that traditional journalism is dead and he used Narrative Science as example of "innovations that will change the way we think of news, content and information creation, distribution and monetization". He went on to further say that companies like Gannett are clearly exposed to this threat.Isn't this something that Gannett should embrace so our journalists can write "real" stories and the rest can be written by computers?I would be curious to hear what your fellow "posters" think.
Please see my post, yesterday, on this subject.
Thanks Jim. For some reason it wasn't showing up on my browser. Thanks for staying on top of it :)
9/10/2011 10:08 PMYou are correct. The ultimate goal that corporate has created off the record is to reduce the head count of the workforce. Press operations are a huge overhead for Gannett and so is head count and newsprint. Newsprint can be somewhat controlled through volumes but head count can certainly be controlled through layoffs or attrition. The main focus of corporate is to find efficiencies which ultimately reduces head count. Bottom line performance is what the shareholders want and that is what GMC is trying to deliver. GMC does not care about the future of journalism. What is sad is that the general public does not care as well. Here is the future of small daily newspapers. First of all it will no longer be a daily. It will convert to a weekly and an online component will supplement. This still give print advertisers an avenue to reach an audience through ROP ads and preprints. The reduction to a weekly will save enormous costs associated in newsprint, production payroll and news payroll. You can even go as far as reducing advertising payroll.Like I always say in my post. You should always have a backup plan.
To 7:59 from 5:18: Trust me, if layoffs happen, it's possible I'd be on the list. I'd still know if they were being planned. They're not.Again, I say: Absolutely, layoffs could be ordered tomorrow. Declining revenues will likely result in more reductions. All true. But as of today, no specific plan is currently in the works. No lists are being assembled. That's the truth, as opposed to the specific lies posted yesterday by someone I wouldn't dare refer to as an idiot.
Crotchfelt needs to go. Her poor decisions stink. I thought she was supposed to be this great marketing person that was going to bring the Star new revenue. So far all I see is declining morale and revenue. When will executives at each newspaper, group office and at corporate be held accountable. No wonder why this company is circling the drain. There is too much butt kissing and promotions solely based on prior friendships.
9/11/2011 11:51 AMYou must be an executive at a site. Unfortunately, you are not aware of what is going on at every site. Most sites have list. It is hard to hear but contingency plans are created when corporate comes back during budget reviews and says you need cuts to meet the bottom line. There will be cuts this Nov or Dec. Will not be a mass coordinated effort. It will be precise and low key. Corporate apparently learned its lessons from 2008 and 2009 layoff announcements.
It's as simple as this: If revenue keeps falling, layoffs will follow. Less money coming in means they have to reduce the money going out. Regardless of the degradation of the product, they will never sacrifice short-term profits. So for all those on the edge of their seats about whether there will be another round and when it's coming, just pay attention to revenue.
The C-J in Louisville has a 10-page wrap 9/11 section today without a single ad in it. I wonder if they couldn't sell it, or if they didn't try. It's wonderful to see extra space for an important journalistic milestone, but I don't see how it makes any business sense.
Jim, when are the next quarterly GCI numbers scheduled to be released?
12:10 Probably around Oct. 15. New figures usually come two weeks after the close of a quarter.
The purchase of Presswire actually makes a little more sense when you look at the Narrative Science deal. It's a way of generating content more cheaply that traditional staff journalists. Narrative Science provides the words, freelancers they get with Presswire can provide photos more cheaply than staff photographers do. I suppose a robot can write a (bad) story but you still need a living, breathing human to take a picture. Both allow Mama G to outsource staff jobs to contractors. They've outsourced printing and gotten rid of press operators now they're going to do it to newsrooms.For a long time we in the newsroom were a little smug that Gannett could never actually replace the writers and photographers. I think we're about to find out how wrong we were.
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Karen is an outstanding strategic thinker and someone who knows how to make a buck. Hard decisions are never easy but I am glad Crotchfelt is at the helm.
Yesterday a l-o-n-g story was in the Az Republic ("special to the...") about a business owner and what a great deal Groupon is. They've gained so much great business entirely through Groupon that they no longer find it necessary to advertise in any other way. This went on and on. Unbelievable.On how many counts is this absolutely stupid? Against the newspaper. The website. Deal Chicken. Plus it sounds like it was someone's self-serving press release at that. If they think this makes them sound more "credible" they are dead wrong. People laugh at this, especially local businesses.Oh yes. It was in the business section.
I was going to buy some souvenir copies of the Arizona Republic today as commemoration of 9-11. That is until I got my home copy and right over the date and headline area is a sticker for a local Indian casino. Can't these be placed better?
Cherry Hill ran a story Sept. 6 about a restaurant owner bitching about how bad a deal Living Social participation can be for merchants. Seems some people follow the trail of cheap restaurant meals and never come backhttp://www.courierpostonline.com/article/20110906/NEWS/309060022/Deal-no-deal-Restaurateur-says-merchant-beware-coupon-deals
1:06, trust me, there have been many discussions about the placement of those stickers. A compromise was found for the community sections. Don't know what if anything has been decided about ROP.
9/11/2011 12:39 PMThanks for stopping by Crotchfelt. Can you elaborate on what you have accomplished? There is a difference in a "outstanding strategic thinker" and an outstanding strategic thinker that brings home the bacon and supports the staff that makes up the company.
By the way, Crotchfelt just followed the crowd when the presented the new paid TV Book. Cincinnati and Louisville are already doing it. What has she come up with to this day? Anyone Anyone Bueller Bueller
9/11/2011 12:35 PMGump. There are still HR group executives that work along side group officers that report to Corp HR.
2:14 p.m. I'm still waiting to hear what strategic initiative Karen C. implemented to attract the 25- to 44-year-old audience since Metromix folded and what new suburban initiate she launched. She did promise us both in two separate interviews with the IBJ. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
12:39 p.m. Rather vague post. What great original strategic initiates has K. Crotchfelt implemented since she arrived in Indy? Please elaborate.
Come on Guild.
Strategic thinking is only a start. You need to follow through and actually accomplish something.
Great strategic thoughts that do not result in great strategic actions are wasted mental exercise.
Thanks 2:02. It just looked so insulting to me to have all this somber info about 9-11 visibly interrupted smack dab in the middle, front and center, by a "go have fun gambling at the casino" sticker. I won't be doing it, but it would not surprise me if there are already letters to the editor submitted about the placement of that sticker. And it doesn't seem too good of a PR move by the casino to request that placement. I don't know if they do, but I assume they do (request at least page placement).
Our sticky notes are restricted to the front page of a section, centered and within the top 3 inches of the page - that's all determined by how the paper comes off the press and there's fairly little lee-way. Automated process that runs at the speed of the press.
how is FLORIDA TODAY fairing? Last I heard the sinking ship was putting out the life boats.
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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