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Another possible USAT editor candidate: Keith Moyer, although I think he'd be a long shot.Moyer and Ellwood worked together for about a year at The Arkansas Gazette.
Recall what I wrote earlier, too: Ellwood worked with Mark Silverman in Detroit, where he ran the Detroit Free Press' newsroom.I'm discussing candidates now because I believe there's going to be a change in a very senior-level executive's job within Gannett and possibly USAT -- very likely today.
I'll give this to Gracia: She got rid of the Blue Ball. She eliminated reserved parking spaces for execs. And she cut the executive lunches. Execs have to go to the cafeteria and buy their own damn lunches. I still don't trust her. But those are decent gestures.
We could use more than gestures. How about a firm statement that there will be no layoffs in 2012? How about this gesture: if there are furloughs, no executives get a bonus.
Silverman would be a lot of fun to watch. Making life miserable for people and forcing them out would definitely shake up the status quo.Unfortunately, Silverman would retread his (few) buds from the papers he's already demoralized. Which means more third rate editors than we have now.
Quick clarification. Mark Silverman worked at The Detroit News when it was Gannett. He immediately left The News the day Media News Group took over, but he didn't work for the Free Press.
Why didn't Gannett make Silverman the editor of the Free Press when it bought the paper in 2005? That decision said volumes about what Corporate thought of him at the time.
12:58 D'oh. You are correct: He was editor over the News.A little more history: Gannett sold the News and bought the Freep in a deal announced in early August 2005.That was just two weeks after Craig Dubow officially became CEO. By then, Gary Watson -- head of the newspaper division -- had long known that he was not going to be the next CEO.Was Watson Silverman's protector?
Silverman worked closely with Watson and Curly on the North Hills project. Don't remember what Silverman's title was then.
When Silverman ran the News in Detroit he was not liked by anyone under him. He wasn't liked by anyone that had to deal with him from the Detroit Newspaper Partnership. He was verysmug and gloomy all the time. Perfect for USA Today.
How has Susie Ellwood been received by the USAToday staff since her hire as deputy earlier this year?I'll hand it to Gracia, she has wasted no time making some big decisions since being named CEO.
Hunke era is all but over. It is a matter of a few day.Silverman considered to have too much baggage and too institutional to Gannett to be in the running as Hillkirk's successor. He's in his 60s and not in the best of health. Plus his digital efforts have not panned out.They'll give head hunters two to three months to identify candidates.Susan Weiss still under consideration. Her deft political skills and consensus driven style are considered pluses. And she'd be only the second woman to run the paper in 30 years. If the paper handles the next big news events well, she is definitely the leading contender.Unfortunately, Chet Czarniak, David Colton, Lee Horvich, Owen Ullman and Jim Henderson dont have the kick ass fire in the belly to offer her the strong deputy support Weiss or a new editor needs. Whoever comes in will have to restructure the newsroom again. Too many people with too little to do. News too slow to react to news. Verticals are a hot mess. Digital is sucking wind with Dave Teeuven, a bureaucrat who has a factory floor managment style and a crew of processors and parts makers. These people are perfunctories, not inspired journalists. Perhaps Mitch Gelman can come in and revamp digital. He seems energized and won't put up with lackluster attitudes as sort of a newer, improved Kinsey Wilson.
susie seems a bit unsure of herself around the Usa Today crew. There were a couple of spastic memos that said nothing - about on par with the current style. After six months, she decided to spend some time in the news room. She's in a small corner office for a couple hours a day this week. Not sure what the point of that is. People don't really trust her. Why she doesn't just walk around the newroom and introduce herself, no one is sure. The only people who are coming by to talk to her are the usual cast of suck ups and brown nosers.
Wait, there's someone new in a newsroom and journalists don't make their own efforts to talk to her?I've never used my j-ticket professionally but isn't curiosity a big reason why people get in this business? Shouldn't people at the Nation's Newspaper have an extra large set of brass ones and be willing to queue up and um, I don't know, investigate?But no, the people that make the effort are called suck ups and brown nosers. Maybe they are - but at least they got their asses out of their chairs.
Gary Watson and, to a lesser extent, Phil Currie were Silverman's protectors. Both are long gone. Currie knew Silverman was a terrible manager of people, but he liked Silverman because he ruthlessly enforced whatever new formula Currie and others at corporate dreamed up.
Add Mary Kay Blake, the then-head of HR/exec talent for The Big G (and rewarded with a 250K job at The Freedom Forum) as one of Silverman's protectors, along with Currie and Watson. She helped destroy a lot of editor careers and knows where the bodies are buried.
ok, so you go into Susie's temporary office in the newsroom. after you say hello, what do you have to talk about besides small talk?do you actually think she cares what you have to say? when was the last time ANY publisher gave a damn about your opinion? Get real.An effective leader should make it a priority to meet with staff. Hunke never did it. And aside from a few hours this week, Ellwood has made almost no effort to engage with content providers SIX MONTHS after her arrival.Oh, but that's on US. Right.
Suzie has had almost zero impact on the ad sales side of USAT. She doesn't know any customers (common for the senior management team now that Hill and Erdos are gone) and doesn't seem to make an attempt to get to know them. I see her e-mails once/twice a month, but they are often filled with jargon and do little to explain what the hell these people are doing for our brand. She seems more genuine than Hunke, but that's not saying much. We'll all celebrate when Hunke is gone, but I'm not convinced his deputy is much of an improvement. And with the dearth of senior management leadership at USAT, that can only hurt us further.
Gary Watson set the tone for fear at the CPs for years. That scowl said it all. If you weren't turning over staff and you weren't willing to make five bumfuck moves to Gannett outposts, you were not ready for the brass ring. One thing Watson really encouraged: promoting minorities for management positions. You could make a killing getting four figure bonuses each time you promoted or hired a minority. In my years at Gannett, I saw that time and time again. Sometimes that was a good thing, sometimes it was a disaster.
So let's assume 10:27 and 10:32 are correct (and I believe they are) this means Suzie has made no impact on editorial or ad sales - the two major engines of any publication. Great.Is she at least helping with the Christmas party?
10:32 I'm assuming you are talking about the non functioning business side of USA Today. How do you sort out the myriad of vice presidents assembled so haphazardily by Hunke. How to measure who is effective and who needs to be shown the door rather than promoted upwards? As long as this oversized executive branch remains unpruned, you aren't solving a thing.
Gary Watson indeed was intimidating. However, despite his failings, at least he knew from personal experience what it took to run an effective news operation. Even though Watson may not have always used it effectively and fairly, that knowledge has been sorely absent at the top of the Gannett food chain ever since McCorkindale's reign. And by now it should be obvious that bean-counters are incapable of running a successful news outfit.
@ 8:13 AM -- Thank you for naming names. Weiss could be...OK....as an executive editor. We'll have to see. But you couldn't have been more spot-on about the rest, especially Czarniak and Teeuven.
Keith Moyer says on Facebook: "Haven't been approached. Won't be applying."
You know the sad thing, 1:23? The disgruntlement towards these editors is widespread, from direct reports to lowly reporters. And this group, despite suspect skills and talent, keeps amassing power and remains at the heart of alleged decision making. Go to some of the editor meeting for a few days. No ideas, no reaction to what the competition is doing, no inspiration. You could be attending a meeting of funeral directors or actuaries and wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
I knew Jim was wrong about Silverman being at the Free Press. I was curious about how long it would take for him to be corrected.More great reporting, Jim. Keep it up.
Odds of Mark Silverman becoming USAT's next top editor have just plunged.
Why do you say that, Jim?
Just to correct things: Susie has been in meetings out of town all week and was never in the Newsroom, despite her being scheduled to. So the idiot ranting about people queued up is just making that up.Silverman is involved in some things USA today but has no chance of stepping into the job.Hunke is not resigning next week.Big changes are coming, but don't expect to get previews here in the can't shoot straight blog.
9:14 A tip went south. Basically, the odds of Silverman being the paper's next editor remain as poor as they've always been.
It's funny that Ellwood is such a force at the paper that no one noticed if she was in the newsroom or not this week. As far as big changes coming, unless there is something substantial, as a management restructuring in the newsroom or verticals, or reporters and editors are moved to be more effective, nothing changes. There needs to be a revolution, not some half baked deck shuffling. The same cast of inept leaders will do nothing to get us out of our troubles.
I don't know about a revolution. This is USA TODAY after all, home of the great miscommunicators and ill advised. All the blarney about swagger and iconic brand doesn't change the fact that we are often mediocre, banal and naive in the products and content we offer readers. The continued dumbing down of the product is shocking.
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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