An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
Maybe there are too many copy editors. When copy editors have time on a Saturday night to lean back in their chairs, stretch their legs out and watch tv while others are busting their ####, maybe Gannett is overstaffed in that area. Now the question is...while the management people be able to determine just who those folks are?
From my Tierra Madre blog today.....The company I used to work for – Gannett – publisher of USA Today & 80-some other newspapers, along with myriad television & radio stations – is a prime example of what the people at Occupy Wall Street & others like them are talking about these days.There’s a guy named Craig Dubow – I never met him, he came along after I left – who ran the company as its chairman for the past six years. He left recently of his own accord.But when Dubow took over, Gannett’s stock price was around $75. When he left, it was $10.And, during his tenure, the number of Gannett employees plummeted from around 52,000 to just about 32,000. That’s right, 20,000 people lost their jobs under him. And a lot of them were my friends & acquaintances. Plus, revenues fell across the board at the company, year after year after year. Down, down, down.And the quality of all of those newspapers & news outlets – including USA Today – especially USA Today – has become an embarrassment to anyone who ever had anything to do with them. They’ve become official fish-wrappers.Now, we all know these are tough times for newspaper companies, but do you really think that gutting them of their newsroom staffs & reporters & so on is the answer?Maybe yes & maybe no. But that’s not the only answer. Certainly not the right answer.But one thing is for sure......what is needed is innovation, not simply job cuts. Not, as the NY Times’ David Carr puts it, “throwing people out of the back of the truck until it runs out of gas”.Okay. So.Dubow screwed things up royally, right? Ran the company almost into the ground, right? A virtual power-dive.But did he leave with his tail between his legs & a not-so-nice resume in his Gucci briefcase?Hell, no.He left with just under $37.1 million in retirement, health & disability benefits. Plus, over the past two years, took home a combined $16 million in salary & bonuses.Say what?!?Dude runs the company into the ground & splits with over fifty million??Are you friggin’ kidding me?!?Now, if the editorial boards of each & every Gannett newspaper & television & radio station don’t complain to the high heavens about this to their readers & viewers & listeners, you can be sure of one thing: That they’re all scared to death about being canned for pointing out to the world that Gannett’s board is an emperor – or empress – with absolutely no clothes.And if the company’s shareholders don’t summarily fire each & every board member – immediately – they should all sell their stock in the company & go buy their own sections of the Brooklyn Bridge.Disgusting.Absolutely disgusting.
Anyone have any further information on layoffs in Cincinnati at the upper management level? Another poster had commented on that in a previous thread.
The corporate trolls are out early today. When corporate is under fire in NY Times, they respond by trying to ignite infighting within newsrooms. Dont fall for it. How much are you getting paid to post now that Craigie has left?
Quoting Gracia in the last analyst call "What we are much more focused on is creating revenue opportunities to grow the top line,'' she told one analyst, Craig Huber.OK, anyone have any examples of this? Would be good to know.
NY Times does Craig bashing better: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Why-Not-Occupy-nytimes-633804280.html;_ylt=AjlSJLym7xUcOFPwY_JHkz67YWsA;_ylu=X3oDMTE2bXVpMDFoBHBvcwMxMQRzZWMDdG9wU3RvcmllcwRzbGsDd2h5bm90b2NjdXB5?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=8&asset=&ccode=
Following is from a carrier of Gannett newspapers in the Midwest:Received a "thank you" gift every day this week from the school bus company when I got to work. It sure is nice to be appreciated by an employer. I can't say that about any of my other jobs except one.Monday we got a clip to hang our route lists in the bus, Tuesday one of those "green" shopping bags with a nice fleece jacket in it, Wednesday a beaner clip with a compass on it so we don't get lost, and Thursday a carry bag to haul stuff to and from our bus. And yes, just hearing the words, "Thank you," means a lot to me because I never heard it much working at the newspaper.
Florida Today, worst place to work!!Back in the day GREAT! Now---JOKEI am ready to go, I'm just waiting for my package
The NYT did a great job of documenting Craig’s total failure as the CEO of Gannett. When you read though the earnings transcripts under Craig’s “leadership” and the most recent report to Wall Street by Gracia, you realize that Gracia sounds exactly like Craig. It’s eerie. Do you really think anything will change?
Please, 1:23 and 9:30... it makes me cringe that you just don't get it: do you realize that Martore has actually been in control of the empire all this time and that Dubow took orders from her?
9:22, I'd say the problem is with writers who can't handle their beats. When some people are not filing many stories, it might be time to drop them. Not everything is an investigative piece that requires days of work.
1:34 pm No doubt that Martore was in control in the later years--but not "all this time." 1:23 p.m.
How touching for the newspaper carrier above because, no matter what your position is, every little token of thanks is meaningful. In Gannettland, that does not exist; if you do get it, it's phony and definitely not from the heart. It sure makes me feel bad when I hear what other friends' and family's companies do for them, especially for anniversaries.
Martore's reign of the throne pretty much began when McCorkindale left; Dubow was just a figurehead like Queen Elizabeth.
One other odd but funny similarity between Craig and Gracia—both have hairstyles that look as though they hadn’t changed hairstyles in decades.
Hey, over in Jim's thread on the furloughs made a sad observation: "Take last year's NIBT number for your site, then divide it into the $37 million we paid to Craig for his backache. You will then get a rough idea of how many years you and your employees worked, or will need to work, just to pay that bill. For many of the NT-31 sites, his payout represents more than a decade's worth of work. "
Just because Craig was granted this huge package, it does not mean he had to take it. Or, better yet, he could take it and, say, tell them to devote half of it to fund Gannett Foundation scholarships for displaced workers; emergency relief for displaced workers; or any other cause. I did the math as 2:23 suggested. If you took our 2009 NIBT (the only set of figures we dug up, since everything else is under lock and key), we paid Craig the equivalent of 12.3 years of our profit. That means he took in one payout what all of us worked 12 years to produce in the good old days. I worked nights, weekends, holidays, anniversaries to make that money for my newspaper. I missed a chunk of my kids' childhoods to make that money. Worse, last year, I took three weeks of furlough and fired many of my friends to pay for about one half of one percent of that amount. I was told I needed to sacrifice and sacrifice others so that the company would remain strong. In really, I did all of this and had all of this done to me so one man could be bestowed a fortune for himself, his children and grandchildren.
RE: carrier...carrier day has just come and gone. Used to be we got little things of appreciation. An umbrella, a calculator, T-shirts, and of course, the memo saying how great a job we did...as long as we did as we were told, regardless of our independent contractor status. Oh yea. Sometimes we even got donuts. Needless to say, the last couple of years..nothing, nada, zilch. Heck...we're all glad we don't get some warning letter from alledgedly doing something wrong, or flat out getting our contract pulled.A thank you would be nice. Out every day through all kinds of weather...7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Would be nice to hear a thankyou from the people you work with...or for!
Less employees,less income saved on Furloughs. I do think we have 4 quarters to our year. If things don't get any better,I'm sure you will see them in the second quarter also. That was done the initial year furloughs began.Eventually these papers will be sold off and privatized as Gannett starts to head in a new direction. What ever papers don't produce will just be consolidated and buildings closed and people laid off. It's the great American Corporate way.
Craig was the ultimate salesman. He convinced the board that he was well worth what they paid him. Amazing.
1:43's comment is right on. The last time a thank-you gesture was made to me in appreciation of my widely known dedication, long hours and record AdQ scores was in 2002, and even that -- some stupid plaque handed to me by a "go fer" messenger -- caused resentment among my superiors.To my way of Old School thinking, though, I considered my paycheck the only thanks needed, so I was surprised at even that "extra" effort such as it was.But that was the last recognition I received for another eight years, still giving my all (and more) primarily for my own ethics, not Gannett's, right up to being laid off -- the ultimate thanks.At my site, which I presume to be not in sharop contrast from the others, it was usually the same people habitually receiving what little recognition there was.So I was surprised by the 2002 award -- until I learned that the new director who extended her "atta boy" plaque had yet to learn I was not in the clique.I kept it on my desk for eight years, and would wryly point out to my immediate manager (another new guy who asked about it) how I must have had a severe personality or work-ethic change and had obviously not done much for quality and revenue all that subsequent time.That year when he wrote my review which cited specific examples of problem-solving, extreme flexibility, thoroughness and team work, it was returned to him to be rewritten. True story. He told me that on the day he resigned."These people need to get a life," he said. "It's a stacked deck. I'm out of here."And once I was "out of there" as well, wow! Just a word for those still in that demeaning, emasculating place, even out of work, living on shoe string, life is much, much better compared to the way Gannett treats its workers.
Since we're telling stories about the importance of small gestures, I thought I would add mine. I left Gannett in 2008 of my own accord. Shortly after joining my new company there was a hastily called meeting outside of the CEO's office. The company (about 150 employees at the time) was asked to assemble outside the office where a brief announcement was made that the company had won a small contract for additional work. From the wild cheers that erupted you would have thought the employees had won the lottery. What did I get myself into? How can these dolts be so stupid as to cheer such a minor win? Didn't they know today's victory would also be made worse by tomorrow's defeat, and the one after that? Then I thought about it some more. Maybe, just maybe, this group of people wasn't accustomed to being beaten down. Maybe, they actually believed that small wins were worth celebrating. Maybe, they actually believed that these wins would be rewarding to them in the form of a free company lunch, or a year-end bonus or jobs without layoffs or furloughs. Maybe, just maybe, these people were used to having good news and were rewarded over time as the company improved its performance. It was then, I vowed to never return to Gannett.
Any circulation numbers reported yet: from The Daily poster in the loop?
Gath - dead on!
4:25 I'm still working on those circulation numbers.
Our TV station was forced to air a story about make a difference day that featured Gracia helping out at a school. The school was in DC and we are not. I guess that is part of a PR campaign to show that she she has a heart. We know better.
Was the news in Cinti that nothing happened?
Whats going on in Cincy today? Any big shots get the can? O, I can only wish
5:22-was this on ch. 9, WUSA? In my 15+ years, I never saw Martore doing anything charitable. Right you are that it must've been a PR stunt.
Jim deleted a post earlier that said Banikarim has a new PR firm. This is more of their efforts.
If there is one thing gracia is good at, its cost cutting. expect more of it soon. she doesnt care about the fallout. sans revenue she can do nothing else.
Here is a link to the story that I think 5:22 was referring to:http://capitolhill.wusa9.com/news/news/77114-make-difference-day-helps-millions
6 pm. Nothing charitable? Don't forget all the (Gannett Foundation) money she's given to her alma mater, Wellesley College.
Jim, what the writer probably meant was that she didn't physically show up in person to do something for a worthy cause - like hammer some nails, read to a child, or serve in a soup kitchen.
Jim, if you had been given the opportunity to forward Gannett Foundation money to your alma mater you would have declined? It's obviously legal. I know I would have done it, had someone given me the opportunity.
Gannett is a communications company with vice presidents and marketers stacked like cordwood. And it hires a PR firm?
7:57 If I were Martore, and I got paid $8.2 million in 2010, I would be ashamed to squander Gannett Foundation money on a school like Wellesley that's already well-endowed.I would direct the $15,000 in foundation money at my disposal to the Madelyn P. Jennings Scholarship Fund, which benefits college-age children of Gannett employees.
I've told my daughter to apply for those Jennings scholarships, though I assume because the checks are so heavy they don't tend to fly out much past the McLean city limits.
8:17 Regarding reports that Banikarim has hired a new P.R. team, a reader who sounds like they're in the know tells me the following about Robin Pence, who was named vice president for Corporate communications in July 2009:Pence's departure isn't a rumor; it's a fact. Banikarim announced it last Tuesday in a staff meeting. No reason was given, and no replacement has been announced.
The inaccuracies here are simply, well, for journalists, unbelievable. Oh well, why let facts get in the way of a story, right?
8:58 pm, What are the inaccuracies?
If Gannett spent on a PR firm, let's pray it was not the Martin Agency, which gladly took their money and produced this mess:http://www.naa.org/Smart-Is-The-New-Sexy.aspx
Reference is to Newspaper Association of America.
I'm still kind of surprised those adolescent slogans out of the fraternity at PointRoll didn't punch revenue through the roof.The brothers at dear old Ima-Gonna-Tapdat are going to really have to hit the pledges for milk money soon.
The best advice for Gannett or any of its properties - going forward - is pretty simple. And it comes courtesy of the late, great musican/songwriter Fats Waller: "Find out what people want, & how they want it, & let 'em have it just that way".It ain't that hard. Really, it isn't.....Gath
Great Minds Discuss Ideas.Average Minds Discuss Events.Small Minds Discuss people….Eleanor Roosevelt
Love it: "Find out what people want it & let 'em have it." This is too simple.
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Great minds discuss Cincinnati. I know that MB is ahead of the front. What is going on?
10:38 I remove comments that engage in name-calling, including the word "troll." And this includes comments posted in my defense.
10:38 PM…10:13 PM is for all the management including CD that never had an idea to build the business but to only destroy the people. Wake up!
If the stock had tanked today you would have written that it "was in freefall in the face of a withering rebuke from The New York Times." Sucks when a plan falls through eh? Maybe you ought to write it anyway. Give 'em what they want right?
10:13. Why do small minds want to discuss Eleanor Roosevelt?
10:47 You'd have to be awfully naive to think a purely opinion column would drive a stock price in any direction. Investors trade on facts.Using your logic, I could just as easily write that conservative investors bid up GCI as a rebuke to a liberal newspaper columnist. And I ain't writing that, either.
DId Martore actually take home $8million cash? Or is this another one of those formula things that includes pensions already reported on and so forth. How much cash.
11:18 11:18 The cash portion -- salary plus bonus -- was $2.1 million last year.The rest was, as you suggest, an increased value in her retirement account, plus the estimated future value of stock awards and options.Here's a table showing the breakdown.
11:18: Let me "unspin" this, since Jim declined to do so. $2.8 million of it she likely will never see. It certainly does not, as Jim says, reflect "the estimated future value of stock awards and options." The options were granted at $15. We all the know the likelihood of those being worth anything. $1.7 million is in stock she will get in 4 years if she is still with the company (also would vest if the company sold, or perhaps disability like Dubow). The $$ was figured based on the stock price on the grant dates (there were two); the average is about $15 a share. So who knows what they'll be worth in 4 years, if she is around then; if they gave them to her today (they can't) they'd be worth $1.3 million. And I can't begin to figure out the pension thing, but that's probably as murky and misleading as these other two categories. Short version: when Jim spits out "$8.2 million" with great disgust, remember that he's probably just a bit more than half right.
12:35 Corporate told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that Martore got paid $8,175,946 last year.Corporate did not qualify that amount, saying, for example, that there was a more accurate figure, reflecting all the math you've done.To the best of my knowledge, Dubow and perhaps Martore signed off on that SEC document.
Jim: the company DID NOT report that she got "paid" that much last year.The company is required to report a long list of compensation items; some of them, salary and bonus, are paid. Others are accounting formulas used illustrate potential liability to the company based on compensation actions in any given year. More simply: they may happen down the road so beware, but they may not happen at all. The SEC did this to keep companies from underreporting options. But in Gannett's case, it forces them to report numbers that are far from what may be likely. To the average person, saying she was "paid" $8.2 million means that amount would appear on her tax forms in April. But that's not the way it works. You like the number because it gives you a bigger stick to bash the company with. And you and I both know that $8.2 million is not accurate. Just like Dubow's $37 million is not accurate.Quoting from a Harvard Law blog last year: "That 'single number fits all' approach to executive pay gives commentators opportunity to compare total packages for CEOs based on this single number appearing in the Summary Compensation Table. These commentators generally ignore that this single number combines 'apples' (cash compensation) with 'oranges' (theoretical compensation such as stock options using a theoretical model...)." The frustrating part is that you have readers here who are simply asking for the truth. What is this exec getting paid? A monkey with a caculator and a little business sense can tell you it is REALLY unlikely that those reported $2.8 million in stock options will be worth a dime when they vest years down the road. You have enough info to give readers a decent idea of actual pay, even though there's guesswork involved and it's complicated. You decline to do so.AND: what Gannett execs ACTUALLY get paid is bad enough. You could, if you chose, bash them with the truth. But you have chosen to simply be misleading so you can continue to get the biggest bang out of your anti-elite crusude.Damn the truth, and fight on!
Apples. Oranges. With apologies to Mitt Romney, it's fair to say Dubow and Martore are getting big, big baskets full of both.Obviously 2:04 is in with the 11th floor crowd. Nice spin effort, sir.
So what are the actual numbers then, 2:04? Are they actually more in line with what was deserved rather than what was reported on this blog? Are you willing to disclose the truth, or is it still too egregious for us to really know?
2:04, we're still waiting for the "real" number. Your silence tells us everything we need to know.
It is not apples and oranges. And 2:04 already has explained the situation. If you want to be ignorant and try to claim that without the exact numbers, then Jim's numbers have to be right, you are exposing yourself as a dupe.
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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