Friday, December 16, 2011

Dec. 12-18 | Your News & Comments: Part 4

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  1. 9:35 get a hold of your grape nuts-
    I worked for GANNETT- 34 years! the past 3 years it has been going down hill. If you can't see that then you need to get some help!
    Never said I despised working for GANNETT!
    Best thing that ever happened is not being there anymore!
    What anyone else does is their perogative!
    Have fun doing what your doing- hope it lasts for you, but watch out for those suprises!
    NEVER SAY NEVER smart ass!

  2. We sure hired a lot of people in 1977, seems like everyone has 34 years in.

  3. I'm on the outside looking in now and Gannett has gone down hill, too bad.

  4. Tired of this conversation. If you're so happy, why still reading about Gannett here? Move on. If you're unhappy, move on. Talk about current issues. Nobody who knows will talk about current issues anymore so the blog is getting boring.

  5. You know what's boring? The poster(s) who are obsessed with trying to convince current GCI rank and file that they can't exist in life without Gannett. That's really old. And really false.

  6. I don't think the reasoning that "corporate wants people to think there is no life without big G" has legs.

    If I'm corporate, I'd prefer all the higher salaried, long vacation people to leave on their own without having to pay any severance. Replacing all that 'legacy' (hate that word) with fresh doughheads at lower rates makes a much more compelling argument.

    By far, it seems that convincing people to LEAVE the company would be in the best interests of our current overlords. We are not trying to produce a quality product, we're trying to maximize return on whatever product people will buy. That argues for the lowest cost staffing possible - and telling people to leave on Jim's blog because the grass is greener is a smart way to do it.

    I just don't see that telling people 'there is no life out of Gannett' would fit into any kind of smart strategy.

  7. Here is why we come here:
    We loved our jobs other than your corporate crap. We loved many of our co-workers- a few are still there.

    We hurt because MOST OF US were good workers who were let go because you needed less workers and that was understandable- but the choices were often based on our tenure, our pay, that we would not drink your kool-aid, or petty personal choices made by bad or incompetent managers. hired more people but we were not considered.

    So yes we do look back and often wish it wasn't so. It is like your first love, you may now be in a better relationship now, but you still peek at their FB page.

    It is funny that we scare you.. if a prospective employee or stock purchaser looks here they have got to have questions. You can't hide the truth.

  8. 9:30, I agree. Because of layoffs and attrition, all the less-senior people have already been shot out the door.

    All that's left are those of us who have 34 years in, 4-5 weeks of vacation, and maximum-strength bullshit detectors.

    Better for corporate to encourage us out the door so we can be replaced by puddin' head newbies who get paid nothing and think every 20-year-old initiative is something new and exciting.

    I expect the five first graphs to come back any day.

  9. Must agree with 8:35 - Gannett has changed for the worse, especially in the last 3 years. There's no way you could pay me to return to the condition it's in now.

  10. The paywall is going to save us.
    Metromix is going to save us.
    Moms Like Me is going to save us.
    Autotrader is going to save us.
    Pointroll is going to save us.
    Local, local will save us.
    Six days a week is going to save us.
    The nut graf will save us.
    First five grafs will save us.
    Career Builder is going to save us.
    US Presswire is going to save us.
    Content sharing is going to save us.
    Design hub centers are going to save us.
    Saxotech is going to save us.
    Centralized photo scanning will save us.
    Furloughs will save us.
    Layoffs will save us.
    Feel free to add to this list....

  11. GCI up 3.9%. I like that

  12. GPC/GIADC...
    Quality paper grading...
    Outsourcing Ads to 2AdBlow...

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  15. While 10:27 was purposely snarky he/she misses a significant point. We, meaning print, ruled the advertising marketplace for several hundred years. So bottom line it didn't really matter what we did because the advertising dollar came in by the truck loads. The web changed the landscape forever and now it doesn't matter what we do because first the consumer habit changed and now the advertiser habit has changed forever. You could staple $10 bills to A1 and whole that might intice readers to buy the paper the advertiser will continue to drift away. Digital us the present and the future. So if you cone to this blog to disparage anything, everything and everyone that is your right. But if we want to engage in a real discussion let's talk about what may or should work as we move forward. The media strategy for print is to keep it Alice as long as possible but if you think any media company is going to invest significant resources in print you are deluding yourself. Let's stop posting how stupid every manager is and how every strategy is doomed, just for a few days, and talk about what strategies are working in the media world. For instances the majority of posters poo poo paywalls yet in mind media sites will never be sustainable in the long run without them. Name ten media companies that do not have print products, and do not have paywalls that make a profit of more than $10 million A year?

  16. Speaking of current issues. What's new with marketing? Suddenly very quiet after all the lame memos and embarrassing pr stunts.

    Hope they come up with something that drives revenues and quit worrying about sucking up to Banikarim.

    Revenue people....we need revenue.
    Not pr gimmicks.

  17. Someone asked in the last thread which companies I recommend to my J students. Depending on the student, I typically recommend going to work for small dailies, where they can get a lot of valuable experience covering government and police news and hone their writing and alt-channel skills. I steer the sharpest reporters to bigger-market, non-Gannett organizations like Newhouse, McClatchey, AP, Reuters, Bloomberg, Tribune, Cox, et al. Sure, the news media is a layoff minefield, but there are a lot of jobs available to young people. I tell them to be nimble and figure in a lot of employer changes and geographic moves, which young people are open to anyway. Many J students are interested in communications jobs outside of the news media, but which generate content or information or have large external communications functions, like the social media and consumer companies. Some of the best ones to work for are Facebook, Google, Morningstar and Microsoft.

  18. If any J-school student asked for my advice, I'd tell them to go to their second choice. There's no way they can get the education they need right now because nobody, and I mean nobody, knows what's going to happen to this business.

  19. 10:27 forgot "Real Life Real News."

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  21. Sadly, Gannett publishers are becoming just like local bank presidents...absolutely NO power whatsoever. Neither the local bank president or the local GCI publisher can make a decision without first going thru their centralized corporate office. Sad. None of the smart people - at the local level - have any faith in corporate. The younger ones are bailing on this company left and the folks at corporate not realize this or are they truly oblivious. Unbelievably liberating feeling when I got out. Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty, free at last.

  22. 3:28 in your opinion. what do you base your opinion on? How many publishers did you interview?

  23. 3:28 is correct. Craig and Bob have effectively put an end to local autonomy. Let's review the following things that are now under corporate or group control: 1) Production; 2) Circulation; 3) Human Resources; 4) Marketing; 5) Finance; 6) Credit and Collections; 7) IT; 8) Advertising Design; 9) Digital Production (in smaller markets); 10) Photo Toning; 11) Client Solutions (in some markets); 12) National Ad Sales. Publishers are really only in charge of advertising and news. By the end of 2012, the only ones with "publisher" titles will be at major metros or group presidents/veeps over clusters of properties. The rest will either be GMs or publishers-in-title-only who are also editors or ad directors.

    The bank analogy is really excellent. It's been Bob's goal since Day One.

  24. 3:46

    I didn't interview any publishers...unless you call having a beer with them an "interview". I worked for the company for over 14 years. Lots of friendships formed over that span. Over the past five years lots of publishers, editors and ad directors, etc have lost the faith in corporate. For sure, the economy is partly to blame, but the primary source of their frustration is the centralization that's taking place. I understand that during "transformations", all don't make it to the finish line. However, this "transformation" is the final nail for GCI. Not many residents in local GCI communities take their "media solution" company seriously. The only solution is for the return of local ownership. You and I would be very happy with a 20% margin...

  25. Journalism is the cornerstone of a free democracy. I think when these kids get out of school, they are going to be entering an interesting time and it will be their chance to make a mark.

  26. I'm a former Gannett publisher. 3:28 is entirely correct.

  27. For my part, I think the context, the change, is more evident to those with a long history of service -- eyewitnesses to the deterioration.

    Gannett was once an umbrella organization extending relatively free reign to its local properties, rightly appreciating that each knew organically their respective community's needs.

    Then this crew came in. It was getting bad, but it really got bad with the arrival of Dubow, et. al. As in unbelievably.

    There was a palpable change in content, and in the character (to say nothing of the background) of its on-site executives at least at my plant -- and likely many more.

    We still lucked out with a few good execs, but not for long. Soon, I was not answering to people who knew my name and my job and my work ethic, but to some officious bureaucrat type who never even bothered to read the reviews of his new minions, let alone get their names right.

    To not all but to too many, their staff, rather than an award-winning asset was suddenly the "unwashed." One new Gannett-approved director, completely foreign to the area, didn't even bother to familiarize himself with the in-house dynamics of the workflow.

    To him, it was all magic, and anything he asked could be done in a split-second. And if it wasn't, owing to some dose of basic reality, it was considered the height of incompetence from very competent and cohesive staff.

    His was a "Do you know who I am" kind of personal affront. In my case, I was always tempted to answer, "Sure, I know who you are. Do you know who I am? No peaking at my nameplate."

    But I wanted to keep my job. I still loved my job, it's what I do. (Or now, did.)I saw those types as fools, an extraneous pest, and my work entirely separate from their meddling. And it was meddling indeed, not some informed oversight of a leader.

    But eventually the equally uninformed corporate culture finally emasculated everyone, including directors and, yes, publishers.

    Even these puffed-up folks, these ghosts to the profession, had to endure the embarrassment of finally confessing to us that they frankly no longer had any idea what would happen next, nor when, or even if they would have their own "jobs" in a year.

    I had a pang of sympathy. But it lasted only about one second.

  28. Glad to hear from you, 5:25. What insight can you give on operating profit margin expectations at the individual newspaper level, and how that might have changed with the Great Recession?

  29. I used to work for GANNETT and I actually get extra information from this blog, stuff that is going on with my health insurance, pension, 401k, etc. It helped to learn that my insurance would be going up and when,
    help with a pension #!!!!
    It is a comment site and an info site, I don't have my own HR at home!
    good luck to you and yours!
    Merry Christmas, Happy New Year Grinch!

  30. So 4:50 you made a blatant statement about all publishers because you had a beer with one. Well I guess that's enough to go on. And 5:24 where were you a publisher. You don't have to give your name but it would be nice to see what kind if success you enjoyed before Darth Vadar and his crew took away your authority. Sorry folks, I don't mean to take a contrary view but I can't stand baseless, rumor fueled statements anymore. I like the blog but I'd like some fact based information for a change.

  31. 6:28 were did you work?

  32. I've worked for Gannett a long tine. If you think publishers had autonomy at one time you are nuts. Publishers ALWAYS had to run new ideas past their VPs, who in turn ran it by their Group Pres, who then ran it by Watson. You think the current crop in McLean are tough and uncaring then you NEVER met Gary Watson, Bobbie Collins, Sue Clark-Johnson, Don Stinson, or the original SOB Neuharth. If the technology existed to centralize functions these bad boys would have done so in a second. Bottom line nothing has changed other than advertisers deciding to go elsewhere. Want to know what killed the newspaper business? Craigs List. When they took classified it was over. It had nothing to do with content or how many reporters were or were not in the newsroom. Craig's List killed The business. Now let's talk about that for one day instead of the heartless meenies in McLean. The meenies have always existed. They just prospered when they were the only game in town.

  33. 5:25, thanks for maturity. No, I don't still beat my wife. Jeez. I was only trying to convey from my experience as applied to the complete takeover of local authority. Sorry it doesn't qualify to address operating profit expectations, but then again Gannett has never been one for humanity. And evidently still is not. Glad I was sitting down.

  34. I'm not a Publisher but speak to several of them often. Yes, they have lost control, the smaller the market the more they have lost. This is not a rumor but fact. As far as the question about profit margin expectation goes, it is really an indirect expectation. The expectation is to meet a total profit number. Corporate determines the revenue, expense and profit budgets. If you aren't meeting your revenue number you are expected to cut expenses to maintain your profit. That expectation changes as the year goes on as budget becomes quarter estimate becomes revised estimate becomes weekly flash.

  35. 6:31 Burlington

  36. 6:28...sorry if I upset you. If you don't think there are current OC members who are very frustrated with the direction of the are wrong. Sounds like you are satisfied with the direction. That's great...glad you believe in it. I was an OC member that was not satisfied with the direction and decided to leave. I will always cherish the friendships I made with publishers, other oc members, ad supervisors, managing editors, ad reps, investigative reporters, sales assistants,'s the "yes" people I won't miss.

  37. Publishers follow marching orders just like the average worked. They just report to a higher cronnies, that's it in a nutshell. I have a fine Pub, but he he has his marching orders as well, and may not like them, but that's his job

  38. If you have a great Captain, a ship is run well!

  39. II think 10:58 am is Carolyn Washburn. Sounds like the jibberish she puts out on a weekly basis. Come clean Carolyn. You have said at staff meetings that you read the blog. Time to out yourself with all your corporate crap and your dictatorial philosophies.

  40. 7:31 whomever it is we still haven't heard an answer.

  41. 6:38 is right. And all of Gary Watson's news division lieutenants were miserable and sometimes sadistic bosses.

  42. so what was the big announcement in Lafayette In. On Monday. Bigger than the Berliner project? I can only imagine

  43. Nailed it, 6:38.


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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