Friday, October 21, 2011

Oct. 17-23 | Your News & Comments: Part 5

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  1. Is there a list of Gannett papers by circulation somewhere? I couldn't find it on their website....

  2. I'd also like to see that?

  3. Interesting story about Groupon's fall. And, of course, Gannett was one of the copycats.

  4. This whole bullcrap about the separation of departments is crazy. What's the real reason that they are doing this. Has Gannett ever done anything without looking out for number #1. Every time you have a meeting, they give you nothing but vague answers. They have not been able to bring ad revenue in for the last 3 years, so it's gonna change anytime soon? And then Blam the memo comes out. It's like a friggin Circus around here.

  5. 7:27, what memo?

  6. 7:27 pm What property?

  7. A reader in the South Group of newspapers who appears to know what they're talking about says furloughs are planned for the first quarter.

    Can anyone else confirm this for the group, or for other U.S. newspapers?

  8. I would welcome a furlough - I am overworked and the only way I can get a break is a week off.

  9. Furloughs are the company's way of proving to middle managers that they really don't need a full staff.

    "Back during the first quarter furlough, you did it with six people... so we're going to cut your staff from nine to six."

  10. 9:25 Left unsaid: They did it with fewer people by shifting work to exempt employees and allowing other, non-exempt employees to work unpaid overtime. It's certainly not by producing less.

  11. Furloughs were budgeted for my group in Q1. A few RIF's were also budgeted in Q1 as well. Contingency plans were also constructed in light of the October performance so far.

    This is nothing new. There is always a list with some names on it for possible layoffs. It happens every year.

    It is now that no position is safe. Corporate is looking for large payroll positions.

    Be prepared and have a backup plan everyone.

  12. Publishers, are you listening? Given that you only have two departments, your job is no longer secure.

  13. 7:27 - My guess would be to get rid of publishers, like 10:24 said. That's a whole lotta salary savings. If each department has a regional person to report to, why do you need a publisher. Right now they only have Advertising and News reporting to them. What's the point?

  14. 3:28 and 5:01 asked for a site where they could get circulation figures for Gannett papers.

    Your best option is to use the Audit Bureau of Circulations searchable database. You'll need to look up each paper by title, but the figures are the most current available.

  15. A poster a few days ago challenged people to come up with 10 ideas for improving the company. Ok.
    1. Stop pissing away money on stock buybacks.You can't think of anything better to do with $26 million? Really? Nothing?
    2. Pay your employees what you had agreed to pay them. Don't tell someone they're earning $50,000 a year and take away two weeks' pay in furloughs. Employees have held up their end of the bargain. The company should, too.
    3. Stop cutting distribution. You don't make money in this business by slashing circulation. Plus, the distribution people honestly love the product and think about ways to sell more.That's a good thing.
    4. Invest in IT. Ok, the internet is the future. Swell. Shell out some money for people who can support the infrastructure. Good people cost money. Pay it. You're clearly willing to pay up for VPs. Pay up for the people who will help you move into the 21st century.
    5. Invest in the internet. Ok, the internet is the future. Swell. Shell out some money for producers and designers. It takes three to six months to get interactive graphics at USAT. The Times does it overnight. God knows how long it takes to get interactive graphics in other Gannett properties.
    6. Stop hiring high-priced VPs while you're laying off people or not replacing crucial people who have left. It's demoralizing and adds unneeded expenses.
    7. We sell ads against content. Make the ad department read the damn newspapers. Every ad salesman should be familiar with what we cover and how.
    8. You can't cut your way to prosperity. Gannett has great cash flow. Use it to improve content and to reward good employees below the VP level.
    9. If someone suggests that content from AP or a content farm is just as good as what Gannett employees can produce, fire his ass. You can get AP and content farm material anywhere. You can only get Gannett content at Gannett newspapers, and if that content is good, readers will be loyal.
    10. Get a new board of directors. Giving Dubow $37 million for leaving is not in the best interests of the company or shareholders. Not firing Dubow's ass was not in the interests of the company or the shareholders.
    Your mileage may vary. But here's the 10 good suggestion you asked for. Got a problem with them? Let's hear them.

  16. Excellent post, 12:23.

    A few more:

    11. Fire incompetents who are unable or unwilling to do the job they were hired for.
    12. Allocate resources where they are needed.
    13. Get a chief marketing officer more interested in generating revenue for her company rather than play silly games with Ad Week or other trade industry publications.
    14. Create a compensation system for executives that rewards shareholders first.
    15. If you are in the business of journalism, hire - or at least train those you hire - how to be journalists
    16. Make sure you do your best to retain talent.
    17. Nuture an open and collaborative work environment.

  17. "This whole bullcrap about the separation of departments is crazy. What's the real reason that they are doing this."

    Might be this...

    "Companies Quietly Use Mergers, Spinoffs to Cut Worker Benefits"

  18. A Midwest region source who has proven reliable in the past tells me that every employee will have to spend a week on roadside chain gangs this quarter. HR has ordered thousands of bright orange and white jumpsuits and is negotiating labor contracts with sheriff's departments. The hourly-rate revenue will go toward the Dec. 17-22 executive holiday party in Bali and the 2012 executive bonus fund.

  19. @8:13am

    That's as believable as the majority of the crap posted on here. Thanks for the Good Morning chuckle. :)

  20. It's becoming more and more difficult for me to understand a publisher's role. Most decisions are made at the corporate level and their direct reports are dimishing. In Cincy a few years back MB had around 15 folks reporting to her at the O.C. level. Wonder how she's filling up that very expensive and lavishly furnished Board Room she's so proud of. Now everyone can sit next to her and boast of their limited accompolishments.

  21. Regarding first quarter furloughs. Recall that sites are judged against last year's numbers as well as this year's projections. If you had furloughs last year and you want to avoid them this year, you will have to create the revenue to pay for them on top of whatever nut you were given to crack for this year. New substantial revenue in the first quarter is difficult, and nobody expects subsequent quarters to be gangbusters to make up for it. Logically, it seems reasonable to expect furloughs for the foreseeable future.

  22. The Publishers will be the first to go. They make the most money and do nothing except oversee advertising and Editorial, the poster was right, they have very limited responsibility's now. 20 Pub's making at least 175k = 3.5 million. This is just at the smaller papers

  23. Guess I've got to leave now to get my pension out before it all goes to shit. This is crazy!

  24. re furloughs and making "plan": The amazing thing to me is that nobody questions the fact that we in the south are being held to a budget that included huge BP ads in making the year-over-year "plan." Are we supposed to hope for an environmental disaster to make budget?

  25. In response to 12:45 hoping for an environmental disaster to make plan, yes is the answer. I once sat in an OC meeting and heard our Circulation Director proudly boast that he hopes there isn't an airplane crash, but if it has to happen hopefully it'll be in our market. This is the type of greeed and stupidty that runs rampant in Gannettland.

  26. 12:45 have you ever run a publically traded company? Wall street expects year over year profit increases. No exceptions, no excuses. BP, Olympics or political campaigns, wall street doesn't care. Just because you're pissed don't be financially naive. If you don't believe in the for profit philosophy go non profit. Agencies are always looking for great workers who don't care about profits.


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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