Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dec. 12-18 | Your News & Comments: Part 5

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  1. God bless The Newspaper Guild and the members who give their time to ensure their colleagues are represented and protected.

  2. Yeah because they done so much fir the industry and their members. Collect dues, do nothing about layoffs, collect dues, concede pay cuts at negotiations, Collect dues, put up useless billboards. Yep they do one he'll of a job collecting dues.

  3. At my second newspaper the compositors wanted nothing to do with the new Macintoshes coming in. "Not in the contract! Not in our day!"

    So the company hired new people to run the new machines - created the all new 'creative services'. The compositors were a small local, less than a dozen people. They weren't even making much more than the people that came in.

    But the national guys said, 'Take a Stand!' so the local leadership told the guys to 'Take a Stand!' - and mostly, for the next year and a half, that's what they did. Stood around with less and less to do.

    One by one the local was laid off - the language that the national forced us to get negotiated into in the last contract was just flexible enough to move the work out of the composing room. But by god, nobody asked them to do something that wasn't in the contract.

    After every layoff, the steward was asked if the local would consider taking on the new work. Without unionizing creative services, and a pay increase, he wouldn't consider it. As the local faded away, they still couldn't see the forest.

    Finally the contract period came up. The company said, 'you know, we'll try to work without you.' And they did.

    Take a stand. Be principled. But as for myself - I'd rather stand on my own feet, earn my raises and live my principles - not those of someone who would sacrifice my job to make a point.

  4. I started in the business working in the Composing Room. At that time there were 60 men who worked in the Composing Room. When desk top computers came into play (around 1978-1979 at this paper) I was the 1st person they asked to go to another department (Circulation). I was working 6:15 pm -2:15 am with Tuesday and Wednesday's off while in the Composing Room. Your darn right I agreed to take the position. I asked for two things, one I keep my same pay and two, I could stay in the Union and the company agreed. I went into Circulation, had a company car 24/7 company use or personal use, same pay and stayed in the union along with a schedule of 8-5 PM Monday through Friday. I stayed in the union for just one year because all they did was collect dues and I received nothing else for the dues. Within 5 years there was no Composing room. Most of the “good old boys” took other jobs within the company and the rest just retired or died. That's one department that doesn't exist today at any newspapers that I'm aware of. That all took place by 1982 and look at us today. The changes have never stopped and they never will. People, if you think you’re safe, think again. The company is and will do everything they can do to cut cost and stay in business including, which includes cutting your position.

    Now that USA Today has been “merged” with the “regular” Gannett papers even more jobs are being eliminated and/or changed. I must admit, who ever came up with the idea of merging the two should deserve an award of the year, brilliant idea on the company’s behalf. GM positions have been eliminated. CD and CM positions eliminated. I even know of a GM who now is a Circulation Manager and there are many more changes to come within USA Today. There is just to much overlap, so positions will be cut and for the better of the company and the bottom line. Like I said who ever thought up the idea (most likely DH) you deserve a pat on the back and a nice bonus, just not 37.1 mil. It’s changes like this that haven’t yet been thought of that will continue to come and impact the bottom line for the company. This will mean that more people will get to walk out the door. Get use to it, it’s real and will continue to happen. If you owned a business wouldn’t you do the same thing? Wouldn’t you cut costs where and when you needed to. Stop being so naive people and start looking while you’re still employed. Don’t think like “the good old boys” in the Composing room did. They’re gone along with their jobs, just like most of you will be a year or two from now. I’m not saying any of this just to be mean and sound like an a_ _ hole. It’s just a matter of fact, so stop fighting it and do something about it. Get out on your own accord, make it during your timing and find a position you want either within the industry or out of the industry. But it’s up to you to make it happen. So stop sitting on your backside complaining on this blog about the company and how terrible they are to you. Get the hell out while the getting is good. The longer you wait the harder it will be to find a job of your liking.

    One of the Good Old Boys

  5. All I can think of, reading so many blogs here from people who alledgedly have left Gannett, is why do you put so much energy into trying to get people to leave? Ever think it's people like you who are responsible to some degree in the company's troubles? How can any company succeed people who don't take pride in their work and strive to make whoever they work for successful, which in turn would gaurantee your employment? "Leave while you'll be better off". If you are doing so well, why do you come back here?

    Please. All of you who are doing so well elsewhere. Go away and leave us alone. I for one still take pride in my job and I'm on the bottom of the ladder.

  6. 9:56 superb post. A superb review of the reality in which we live and work. Bravo! Now that folks is how we should use this blog. Disagree with 9:56 no problem. Post your point if view. 9:56 didn't slam anyone while presenting a great point of view.

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  8. 12:59 - if that is truly your outlook on life, that some anonymous guy really bothers you quite that much - GET HELP. Seriously, your acquaintances may not feel comfortable telling you, but emotionally investing that much in someone you don't know isn't healthy. Eventually you end up trying to impress Jodie Foster.

    You know the term straw man, so apply a similar logic test to your argument and explain how you aren't creating alternate realities. Your contribution is no more farcical than the writers you belittle.

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  10. 12:11 sounds like you still have your blinders on, guess that is your problem.
    The GANNETT blog is for all people that want to comment. Before and after. U might be suprised by the insight of some of these posts. You can always learn before and after GANNETT, don't cut yourself short! I still work there and this blog has given me a look at reality. Open your eyes and ears and learn!
    P.S. if your on the bottom of the pole- you really want to take this stuff in, you will need it. Enjoy the job!

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  12. 2:12 Poorly written! You're not an editor are you? THE COINCIDENCE IS THAT NO ONE CAN TELL YOU ANYTHING. I was told 2 months ago by my manager of some changes coming. I've seen them come thru and some on this blog had it right. You sound like you fell of your pole. SO SAD!

  13. Are ther anymore changes coming for USA TODAY?

  14. "Ever think it's people like you who are responsible to some degree in the company's troubles ... How can any company succeed people who don't take pride in their work and strive to make whoever they work for successful, which in turn would gaurantee your employment?"

    No offense, because it does sound like you're in the early stages of your career and your heart is in the right place. But to paint a big broad brush and say that the people who have gotten laid off at this company did not take pride in their work -- and if they did, they'd still have jobs -- is incredibly naive and insulting to thousands upon thousands of ex-Gannett employees.

    In case you missed it, outstanding performance and work ethic and pride in these values means nothing -- zero -- to the decision-makers at Gannett. If you're 20-something and on the bottom as you say, 12:11, then you likely have little to worry about now. However, once you gain a wealth of valuable experience and knowledge, that's when you can start worrying. (That will be the same time when you are raising a family, most likely, and a lot is on the line.)

    At that point in your future, you'll realize that all of the pride -- all the time spent giving it your all -- simply did not matter. Because the managers downsizing you have no utter concept and could not care less about who your are and what you did for the company. They are solely driven to earn RIF bonuses. That's it.

    Obviously, that kind of business model is one that poisons any remaining sense of pride in the company. But people at GCI still have pride in the product, and want to deliver for their co-workers. So they do. Bless 'em for doing so.

    That, however, hardly "guarantees" their employment, as you put it. Sure, malcontents and dead weight get removed. But there are vastly more really talented, hardworking and smart people who are now facing career and financial crossroads and serious issues for their families all so CD and Co. could pocket their millions.

    Still unconvinced, 12:11? Then consider my own case: Not so long ago, I won an employee of the year honor at my GCI property and pocketed a very nice chunk of change in the process.

    Later, on that very same month, I was laid off.

    Not exactly a story that fits your profile, is it?

    If my downsizing did anything to contribute to the company's financial health, I'd wouldn't hold that much of a grudge. I'm a grown-up and I was prepared for this reality. When I found out -- solely through this blog -- where much of the savings went from my departure and that of far, far too many of my co-workers, I found it morally and financially indefensible on any level.

    And that, 12:11, is why we still read this blog and occasionally weigh in with our experiences.

  15. This is coming from the top...Gannett will shutter 10 printing plants in the first quarter, and consolidate printing. Some papers will follow the Detroit model and print HD only a few days a week. My understanding is this will happen to most large and small market publications, excluding weeklies. Happy trails, digital is here and print is on the way out..need any more convincing?

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  17. 2:20, many have had it wrong, too. But because they post here anonymously, they can hide from that.

    By the way, what was the big Lafayette announcement? Has that been posted here? I assume not because most people here really don't know what's going on. They just try to sound as if they do.

    2:35, got a source for any of that? You claim it comes from the top. Who? I need more convincing than you throwing crap at the wall to see who will believe it.

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  19. 2:31...never inferred ALL people laid off don't have pride...just the ones who keep coming around this blog and pump themselves up by showing how much better they are for being gone. Yes there are a lot of good people left in Gannett who are trying to keep the ship afloat. Bottom line of course is everybody's future is always in the hands of someone else, unless you work for yourself. With some bosses you can sneeze wrong and be out on the street in a day.

    And no, I'm not a newbie. I have many years in and my position is such I cannot climb the Gannett ladder for I don't technically work FOR Gannett. I'll let you figure that one out. But I do like my job and I do it well, and I'd like to see it still be here for another 10 years at least.

    Then there is another "paper is dead...long live digital" entry. Again no doubt by someone whose job depends on it being so, and another "print plants are closing" rumor.

    I have found this blog to be informative but lately it is getting boring to read much of the same stuff. I'm sure there are some out there who CAN make a difference but choose not to. Fear for your job...I understand...but that won't make it better.

    My bosses choose to rule by the "do it or leave" line. I just choose to change one little thing in that. Do it the best you can, and do it right. If I cannot, then it would be time to leave.

  20. 2:35 I herd similar things, but not to that magnitude, who ever the top is, most be a troll of some sort. Find it hard to believe but nothing GCI doe's not surprise me what so ever. Maybe a memo will come out Monday stating changes for the better of the company will be revealed soon WTF

    Nothing ever changes for the better around here, why expect any different?

  21. (2:31 here)

    I get it, 3:00. You're a contractor for GCI. Nothing wrong with that. That said, a contractor's future isn't in his/her hands -- it's in the client's hands. Given that this was the route I took immediately after my layoff for most of a year, I'm well aware of the positive and negatives of the self-employed life.

    Anyway, when you write something to the effect of, "How can any company succeed people who don't take pride in their work ...," then you cast a very broad-brush perspective of those like me (and there are many, many more like me than the malcontent slackers) who did give it their all and still got booted. In my department, in fact, the vast majority of my coworkers lost their jobs. I don't mean 51 percent either. It was well over that. I worked with these people everyday and saw the pride in their eyes as we put out the product, even as the sky was falling all around us.

  22. (Sorry, pressed 'send' too soon.)

    You also indicated that the 'pride in work' thing was all that was needed to "guarantee" employment -- a ludicrous statement (sorry) that needed a rebuttal.

  23. 2:41 A high ranking Production Director, who has gave me legit info many times, over and over, sorry cannot name the person, find out soon enough.

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  25. This is 9:56 am and I'm back again. Very interesting what you wrote 12:11 pm. I haven’t left Gannett. I have a very good position within the walls of Gannett Corporate. I feel secure (definition of secure: feeling safe, stable, and free from fear or anxiety). My whole point is that security is only a “feeling” not a fact. The facts are that change has come not only to Gannett but to every newspaper in the country. I've read a story about the VP of Circulation at the Saint Paul Pioneer Press and he is no longer with the company. This VP had shown growth year-over-year with the Pioneer Press (one of the very few papers to do so for over the last 6 years in a row) for both their daily and Sunday newspapers. I’m not trying to make people leave Gannett but rather have people look at the reality of what they are faced with in this industry. 12:11 PM you may want to hide your head in the sand and pretend everything is safe and that you and others around you won’t be touched (kind of like being on the front lines in a firefight) thinking that it’s going to be the “other” guy that’s going to get shot or get wounded, not you, it just can’t happen to you. It just can’t happen to you because you’ve trained well and you are in great shape and you have all the necessary experience, you stay awake at night in your fox hole looking for the enemy, so it’s got to be the other guy and not you that gets it. Well, did you count on maybe getting hit with “friendly fire” and have a short round fall on your ass and just make you disappear? This is only an allegory and there is no real intent by the company to hurt people but “short rounds” happen and people just up and disappear. And guess what, the company continues the battle weather they drop a short round or a round that is intentional. People in this case don’t die they just lose their job, others get moved into different positions then those that remain need to take up the slack etc, etc. The company is in a fight of their lives that they will win at the sacrifice of men and women who are good workers, have been with the company for years, people who know and understand their jobs very well and do an excellent job and who have always moved the company forward. But, you need to begin to understand that the company can and will win this fight. Weather you are still with them when it’s all over or if you’re one of the casualties. The company isn’t a bad boy out to do you or anyone else harm. They have a job to do and they will do it regardless of what it takes. My whole point in what I’m saying is, use common sense. Look at where the company is going and if you know that it’s your turn to take a “hit” or your about to be placed up against a wall and blind folded. At that point then just start looking and stop living in fear of if you are or aren’t going to lose your job. You have the power to make the decision of what’s best for you and if you choose to do nothing then you’ve made a choice and you’ll live with the results of that choice. Grow up and get up off your back end and stop making so many assumptions. Take the time to look at the facts and then make a sound decision based on those facts for what’s best for you. Thank you for your time and thank you Jim for a fine place to be able to speak from to all our brothers and sisters of Gannett. Please note that I used the story of a “fire fight” along with those issue attached to it as an allegory only to make a point and in no way was or is it intended to mean people getting or being harmed. Thank you.

  26. Nice post 4:33. But next time, consider the paragraph-ending 'enter' button.

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  28. Ever wonder if other companies are filled with employees who have this much negative stuff to say about their employers? In some ways, I guess that's the nature of online comments -- to be highly critical of "the man." Still, Gannett does seem to have a workforce with an unusually deep hatred for management. I am not saying it's not well deserved, but one has to wonder how long a company can survive when the overwhelming majority of employees are so suspicious, resentful, fearful and just plain unhappy about the happenings of the last several years (if not decades) at Gannett. This blog doesn't seem to just consist of a minority of complainers. This blog seems to indicate that Gannett is overflowing with employees just aching to vent. And the complaints come from everywhere -- from the smallest paper right up to USA Today. I imagine there is a lot of passive aggressive rebellion, virtually no loyalty and just a feeling of being beaten down -- all productivity and creativity killers. If and when the economy improves, I suspect hundreds, if not thousands, will flee Gannett. And with Gannett's ruthless handling of recent layoffs (that was really the last straw) and horrid history, it's hard to believe new folks with decent credentials would ever want to come work here, at least not for much more than an entry-level position. This could eventually become a company filled with entry-level talent and little more.

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  30. 5:31 - It's because so many of us really, REALLY love our jobs. We like our co-workers, we like that our neighbors bitch about what we've done to their paper. Whether or not the community always appreciates it we do good work both editorially and in building local business through advertising.

    What we hate is being part of a corporation. When I started, the publisher/owner had run the paper for 40 years. Since then I've seen 12 publishers in 20 years. Six executive editors. All who wanted to get the hell out of podunk asap.

    The public knows it. They want the M.E. to visit their club, not the E.E. - they know the M.E., his family name is on a park. The public hates mailing off their bill to another state, hates calling Kentucky when they want to go on vacation, hates that the paper is late now because it has to be trucked 80 miles.

    You ask why the vitriol? It's because we remember how it was, and we know that we could still be providing that level of service to the towns we live in - if it weren't for the overhead. Every position upwind of publisher could go on furlough for six months without any loss to our revenue creation.

    It's a pipe dream of course. The industry is what it is, and where it is. But people are pissed because of the same reasons people are pissed nationwide. The majority make sacrifices so that the minority can walk away with $37 million and lifetime consulting contracts.

    We'd make the sacrifices more willingly if our leaders were worthy. They're not, and that's what makes us mad.

  31. Yes, 5:31, when you see a cheap shot from 5:40 in response to your very rational and on-target assessment -- a shot likely fired from the very same management pool that is hired to provide alleged leadership -- you can see why there is such an usually high level of distrust/disrespect for GCI brass.

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  33. 5:53 what do you think that original publisher owner would do today given the economic climate and media realities? No layoffs, no consolidations, no furloughs? It's nice to remember when but it us a business. Those same neighbors who complain about their paper are the sane ones using their iPads to get free content online. What would your pub owner do about that? And please think in 2012 terms and nit when Leave It to Beaver was the number one show on one of the only three channels on TV, that is if you had an antenna.

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  35. 6:29 - the thing of it is, we would be providing what our customers wanted. Not what somebody in Phoenix could sell their advertisers, not some high school sports net that doesn't work.

    We have people in our building today that have created popular iPad apps in their spare time. We have the technological know-how down here in podunk to give our readers what they want. But instead, corporate forbids us to launch an app for our paper.

    For god's sake - that fact alone should point out how useless corporate is for us - they've dithered away YEARS of revenue because they wanted one solution for all. We still have no app. The radio station does. The cable guys do. Hell, even the public television team put together a pledge app. And here we sit.

    Would we have had to adjust to the realities of craigslist and going to the web? Certainly. But we would have been able to retain our profits one year to grow or tide-over our losses the next.

    Instead, we've shoveled dumpsters of money from our community into places like Detroit - the poster child for walking away from a property. We've wasted the profits we've sent to Virginia on buying second-rate software companies and paying off second-rate executives.

    We still have the passion to do a good job, but it's because we expect it of ourselves, of our coworkers and because our readers web and print expect it as well.

  36. 6:46 the money you sent to Virginia was never your money or your site's money, it was the shareholders money. So get off that kick. If you have an app ready to go then post the site name and let's get a dialogue going. Let other sites chime in. Let's establish the inventory and identify whom to contact. Let's put the light on our talent and bring them to Gracia and David Payne's attention. Let's start a positive grassroots groundswell right here and now. Let's use the blog to create a positive voice that can't be ignored. When we whine about what was we get nowhere. It's easy to discount you. Take a positive tact and use this medium to do it. Let's start by identifying the aforementioned app by site and contact. No one gets in trouble if we identify the creators and their products.

  37. Nashville also developed an app they're not allowed to use. And I don't think 6:46 is Nashville.

  38. Then we waste the shareholder's money in Detroit and we waste the shareholders's money on crap software and crap executives.

    Why would anyone volunteer their hard work to perpetuate that stupidity? Throw us a furlough instead, that will encourage us to do it for free.

    Sorry 7:05, corporate decided to break the trust - with the shareholders and with the employees. If they want us to go above and beyond for them, we need to see some substantial commitment on their part. As a shareholder I want the same thing - a company that is growing in value.

    Not another vice president of nothing. Not eliminating reserved parking spaces. Not purchasing back stock at a premium or doubling the paltry dividend.

    Employees and shareholders want to see that the leadership of the company has the fortitude to pay for worthwhile investment in the future - give us something to believe in.

    Here's a small gesture - for a fraction of the going rate of ditching CEO's, we could give every employee from the U.K. to Guam an iPad. Can you imagine the impact that would create? A media company that is so ready for the future that every person from CEO to pressman can see the news online?


    People still want to know what is going on, in their neighborhood, county, state and world. We could OWN those eyeballs again, but we can't think quarter-to-quarter.

  39. #occupygannett they are no different

  40. Not to change the subject, but I'm hoping somebody here has easy access to the information I need before I start making long phone calls to our HR centers.

    I've been with Gannett for 12 years and recently took a new job before being layed off in the upcoming rollout of Design Centers (seeing how I dont want to move to any of them - I live in the city I do for a reason other than just employement).

    I know I have a pension fund (since my ex who also worked for Gannet had one and cashed it out in 2007 - not her 401K) but from what little I've read on forums - it seems that even though I'm vested in the pension plan that is 'frozen' - I can't do anything to it.

    I can 'maybe' roll it into something? But no lump sum payment anymore after 2009 correct?

    thanks in advance

  41. Quote of the day:
    A caucus veteran in the state told NBC News: "This endorsement could not be more meaningless. There is a reason they [the Register] lost their debate this year: Iowans simply do not care."

  42. 9:32, here's what I could choose from for my pension when I left.
    1. lump sum and pay taxes
    2. lump sum rollover into my own IRA
    3. a monthly pension, starting immediately
    4. do nothing now and do one of the above later

    Get good advice. Think about your financial needs and your desire to control the money. I chose #2.

  43. 9:32 really, that's what you think it means? It means it was frozen at a certain amount. You get it when you leave. You need to get the ball rolling but you get your money.

  44. 7:50 after we spend the $20,000,000 to give each employee an iPad how exactly does that produce the revenue you suggest? And I guess you are saying it's not a great idea to showcase great app ideas here and force the company to recognize them and start implementing their ideas? I'm not sure I want you running any company I work for in the near future.

  45. What's with the "comment will be visible after approval" silliness? You sensoring opinions you don't like?

  46. My "Post a Comment" introduction says, in part: "I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones."

    We're now experiencing one of those occasions.

    (Experience has taught me Saturday nights often bring out some of the more difficult posters. Too much drinking? I dunno.)

  47. Buddy if you are monitoring your blog on a Saturday night in one of the best cities in the world you need to move to DES Moines because you are now officially boring. Lol

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  49. Jim's life is boring? As opposed yours? Posting at 11:54 on a Saturday night, ending with the ubiquitous (and very tired by now) 'lol'?

  50. 11:54 p.m. thanks for the laugh out loud! Maybe you'll see this in real time, maybe you won't. ...

  51. Thanks for the pension advice. The money after takes would be enough to pay down my last credit card. And enough left over to increase my downpayment on a car I need to commute to the new job in. Current car is a gas hog and dieing.

    Glad to know that it seems I can lump sum it. It should be less than $10,000 by my estimate and after takes @ about @6500 the right amount of money to do what I need.

    401K will stay with Gannett until Im fully vested in the new company.


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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