Friday, October 21, 2011

Banikarim urges USAT votes in best-paper contest

Following is a memo sent this morning by Chief Marketing Officer Maryam Banikarim and Sandra Micek, head of marketing for USA Today. It appears this was sent across Gannett's workforce of more than 30,000 employees.

From: A message from Maryam Banikarim
Sent: Friday, October 21, 2011 8:49 AM
Subject: USA Today Makes the hot List!

Don’t know if you’ve heard, but our friends at Adweek are putting together a Hot List posing the question:

Which national newspaper in your opinion helps set the news agenda and has an equally impactful print and digital platform?

USA Today is listed along with The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and a write-in “other.”

Who knows who will win such a thing, but if you’d like to cast your vote for what we all know is the true national newspaper -- whether measured by print circulation, sparking the national conversation daily or our state-of-the-art web and mobile sites -- click here to cast your vote:

Best, Maryam Banikarim & Sandra Micek

Earlier: Banikarim tells Adweek that USAT readers aren't focused on being elitists.


  1. The question is:

    Which national newspaper in your opinion helps set the news agenda and has an equally impactful print and digital platform?

    Banikarim says it's USAT, "whether measured by print circulation, sparking the national conversation daily or our state-of-the-art web and mobile sites."

    It is true that USAT has the largest print circulation. But hands-down, the NYT sets the agenda for how other major media report the news, followed closely by the WSJ. In that respect, the NYT determines the national conversation far more than USAT does.

    Also, the NYT's digital platforms are far, far superior to USAT's. Once more, there's no comparison.

    I would like Banikarim to answer this question (truthfully), one I've posed earlier:

    Before you went to work for Gannett, how many editions per month did you read of the NYT, the WSJ and USAT?

  2. Thanks for the heads up, Maryam! I just went on the site and cast my vote for what's clearly the superior news property of the three: the Wall Street Journal

  3. Actually, the WSJ is No. 1 in print now, ever since USAT dropped by 500k circulation.

    As for "setting the agenda," maybe it did once upon a time -- at least for drive-time radio -- but not anymore.

  4. Call me old school, but The New York Times will be the last man standing in any battle.
    And this is MB's idea of marketing?!

  5. Why isn't Ms. Banikarim busy working on marketing initiatives that will generate revenue?

    Will Adweek let its readers know Banikarim solicited votes from the thousands of workers at Gannett?

  6. 11:51 No; USAT is No. 1 in print -- although just barely. Here are the latest print figures, for September, according to the two companies:

    USAT: 1,812,092

    The global Wall Street Journal*: 1,769,123

    The Wall Street Journal U.S.: 1,613,062

    * Includes The Wall Street Journal, The Wall Street Journal Asia and The Wall Street Journal Europe.

    But the WSJ leads in overall weekday circulation, when counting digital subscribers, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations:

    WSJ: 2,117,796

    USAT: 1,829,099**

    ** Apparently includes electronic editions

  7. 12:25 You're kidding right. Ad Week's poll is an old school marketing ploy to drive viewers (obviously readers and ad savvy companies) to their site. Every company listed tells their employees to vote. Ad Week ain't stupid!

  8. This is just embarrassing and insulting to the journalists at USAToday, who actually put out a decent product day in and day out.

    Maryam, did you really need to ask people to do this?

    Let the paper speak for itself.

  9. I wrote in the Zanesville Times Recorder!

  10. 12:22 yep. NYTimes will be the last man standing. No doubt. Every journalist in America respects them and knows they lead the conversation.

  11. Well, in this click-and-text media world, going social like this is the new face of marketing, so it doesn't bother me very much.

    Of course as someone noted, the true winner here is Adweek.

  12. Nothing lie gaming the system Maryam.

  13. Thanks for the heads up. I just went in voted for the NYT. I read it (online) every day, several times per day. USAT web site? Maybe once a month.

    How much is Maryam being paid again to come up with crap like this?

  14. What was depressing about that poll was the second part on regional papers.

    Which enterprising regional newspaper do you feel is the leading source of news online and in print for the market it serves?
    Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Austin-American Statesmen
    Boston Globe
    Chicago Tribune
    Cleveland Plain Dealer
    Dallas Morning News
    Houston Chronicle
    Los Angeles Times
    NY Daily News
    NY Post
    Portland Oregonian
    San Jose Mercury News
    Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
    St. Petersburg Times
    Washington Post

    no Gannett papers. In the past, you would have seen Des Moines, Louisville and possibly Phoenix on that list. Phoenix is larger in circulation than many of the papers on the list but doesn't qualify as an enterprising paper. Sad.

  15. It feels less like gaming, 2:54, than it does "hay guise vote 4 our band!!1!!"

  16. 3:05 Good point. I wonder how that list was drawn up?

    Why, for example, is the Austin paper included? Like many on the list, I don't think of it as a particularly regional paper; isn't it more of a city paper?

  17. Kinda unfair to put the Wash Post on the list with the other regionals, given difference in resources. The St. Pete and Portland papers have accomplished great things with less, but can't compete with the Post.

  18. I cannot believe there isn't one Gannett paper listed. That speaks volumes!

  19. To answer Jim's question:

    Before working for Gannett, I never read the NYT, the Wall Street Journal was rare, and USA Today was about 1-2 times a week, especially on Fridays. Now I still never read the NYT, haven't seen the WSJ in years, but read USAT daily.

    One thing to keep in mind is availability of product. I live in a metro area of about 500,000 people and can't tell you 20 places to even find the Times or Journal. USA Today is in every convenience store, grocery store, and in front of most restaruants in the region.

  20. Can't afford the WSJ digital price3. But gladly pay for the Sunday Times and the digital access on my phone. The question: would you or I pay for USAT?

  21. Does anyone still read Adweek? Looking at their list of regionals tells you how lame the entire poll is. Based on ad revenue maybe?

  22. By the way, while it is certainly implied, nowhere in her memo does she specifically say to go to the website and vote for USA Today.

    Not in those words.

    You would think someone in this business would value clarity.

  23. 5:31 I think that's deliberate. She, or one of her advisors, knows better than to dictate something like this.

  24. Has anyone been following the scandal involving the Wall Street Journal padding its circulation abroad by selling bulk copies for a little as a penny?

  25. The NYT is and always has been - on any platform - superior to USAT. In terms of journalism, there is just no comparison. I am not talking circulation, web traffic or profits. I am referring only to which product provides a better, more comprehensive and meaningful report each and every day. I don't expect that to ever change, particularly with the culture, talent drain and newsroom leadership of USAT in recent years.

  26. Could someone please tell this woman that a CMO shouldn't be acting like she's running for jr. high student body secretary.
    This is one of the silliest things any Gannett executive has cared to focus on.

    What silly initiative can we expect next from corporate ?

  27. We've got spirit, yes we do, we've got spirit, how 'bout you?

    Sorry, 'silly initiatives' bring back reminders of the Yahoo rollout and world class sales people. Cheerleader bullshit.

    If any agency looks at Adweek's 'unscientific survey' results and makes buying decisions based on it, they deserve what they get. A more transparent ploy to both drive their website numbers and create 'data' can hardly be imagined.

    Which begs the question - When did Gannett buy AdWeek?

  28. Gracia, whatever you may think of her, is not a dummy. Surely she must be appalled by this high school queen bee turned vice president, and her well-paid girlfriend. If Banikarim can't do any better than this and her silly newsletters, how long will Gracia put up with her? She obviously saw through Pence and moved when she had the first opportunity. Next.

  29. Banikarim is the most dangerous executive in the building. Her ego drives everything she does. Look at me! Look at me!

    She has claimed a lot of scalps in her short time here but has nothing substantial to show.

    3:12 you are right. Gracia will not tolerate that for much longer.

  30. I'm still pissed at Banikarim's and Michek's firing of Ed Cassidy. More proof that you can be a GREAT, hard-working employee and get fired at Gannett.

    Nobody is safe. Absolutely nobody.

    Why would anyone be motivated to be a star employee under those conditions?

  31. Go Gracia, Go Gracia!

  32. 5:31 PM
    Her note instructs: -- click here to cast your vote: _____________ (link). How much more direct could she be? This is a bunch of hooey. Had high expectations of Banikarim but she is a big waste of payroll dollars with her email newsletters and crap like this. Can anyone name ONE thing she has done to increase revenues, market share or enchance the brand? Oh, yeah, the sponsored "cold" series. Woohoo. When people see the sinking of this company they will note who the CMO of the sinking ship was.

  33. I spent my entire weekend voting for the WSJ on different computers and browsers. Time. Well. Spent.


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