An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
Welcome 2012!!!! I predict at least two furloughs and also job cuts in Q-2..... let's not forget Craig walked away with 37.1 mil in 2011 for his six years of service....
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New year, same old material from 3:29. You should resolve to come up with something new.
I must agree with 4:18 we need some more original engagements such as 1:29. The originality is so powerful and creative obviously from the new room with 40 plus years.
I wonder how many people are aware of what is going on with USA Today? Now that USA Today has combined operations for both of it's Marketing and Circulation operations with all other Gannett papers, people are being let go and/or moved around and demoted. All GM positions are gone, CD's and CM's are being let go and/or moved to other Gannett papers. Just wondering how a paper like USAT or other Gannett papers will be sold when the time comes to sell?
It's time for Corporate Tysons to make its own payroll cuts: wake up and focus on the "worker" bees on your own floors, Martore!
9:46: The denial on this blog is amazing and you are typical. The papers won't be sold. They will be closed. That business has no future. The future is online.
The future definitely is digital. The announcement about the new digital equipment coming to newsrooms was good news, but as a long-time newsroom employee -- reporter, now editor -- I've seen way too many Gannett promises and/or initiatives fizzle out. I really want this to work because it's our only hope to survive as a news organization. Circulation is dropping precipitously and ad revenue continues to drop. 2012 MUST be the year when we embrace change and not just talk about it. We must develop smart phone apps and tablet apps for all our publications. We must put more time and effort into digital initiatives. More short videos. More social media. More and more consumers are getting their news on their smart phones and tablets. We MUST react to this. We need to realize the design hubs are a disaster and pull the plug now and begin the move to all digital. It's truly the only way to remain viable as a news delivery company.
USAT has done everything possible to make itself irrelevant in recent years. This once premium brand that had some decent content (yes, decent but not stellar in terms of high-end journalism) is nothing more than an over-priced, error-filled, pop-culture rag in print and a behind-the-pack operation online where it continually gets beat on posting breaking news. USAT favor gimmicks over substance, youth over experience and marketing over quality control. It is once again trying to force itself on the public, but I doubt that strategy will work this time around because the folks who know how to produce credible content - which is ultimately what sells itself to people looking for a good read - are either all gone or totally demoralized and working in a spirit of simply wanting to stay off the corporate radar screen. Not exactly an inspirational environment. Of course, if USAT is abandoning its image as being a mainstream news product, then maybe the abandonment of solid journalism doesn't matter. Whatever USAT is becoming, remains to be seen. I no longer consider it as a go-to publication for news, sports, features, etc. Actually, I am not sure what I consider it these days, other than just awful.
Online digital what ever you may call it is primarily used for entertainment purposes. People go there to see mugshots, metro mix, ect. The most sucessful form of advertising is the newspaper. The majority of a newspapers revenue comes from its printed edition. The problem of digital verse print is isolated to this great country. If you have noticed the last couplf of years we have been losing some of our luster and frankly our common sense. This blog is an excellent example good for entertainment but kind of irrelevant and a good way to waste time.
12:27 you USAT whinners are getting tiresome. You love to talk about the good old days. Well the good old days had tyrannical editors who had no relationship with reporters and reporters who disgraced the profession. So get off your high horse. The world has changed. The good old days are over.
Du ow only ghad six years with company? I thought he was a lifer? Didn't he work in tv?
1:29: besides being wrong about the Dubow amount (he won't get $37M) and his length of service (the payout covers his entire service, something like 30 years?) your post was really smart.
1:09 is correct that Dubow joined Gannett in 1981, so he worked a total of 30 years.However, why the poster won't accept Dubow's $37.1 million retirement and disability payout is a mystery; he/she offers no evidence to back up their claim. For that reason, I'll walk readers through where the figure came from.Corporate itself provided the figure in the spring 2011 proxy report to shareholders. It's in a table on Page 46 under the heading, "potential payment obligation upon disability."The $37.1 million (actually $37,089,036) includes a number of footnotes, as all such tables do, explaining how the overall amount was reached. It's broken down as follows:* Pension: $12.9 million* Stock options: $6 million* Restricted stock units: $5.3 million* Disability benefits: $6.9 million* Additional disability benefits: $5.9 millionThat last item, the additional disability benefits, is especially noteworthy. Footnote 3 shows only Dubow and Gracia Martore were entitled to it. In Dubow's case, that entitled him to a $5.9 LUMP SUM payment. In other words, this wasn't a traditional disability benefit paid out monthly over the rest of his life; he got it in one big check.As with all compensation information, the $37.1 million was the best estimate Corporate could provide at the time the proxy was published. It was based on Dubow's actual annual compensation for 2010.Corporate has already disclosed that, during the fourth quarter of 2011, the company recorded a charge of about $16 million in connection with his retirement; that appears on Page 16 of the third-quarter report to the SEC. There's nothing to indicate that $16 million is exclusive of any other payments, however.Indeed, what the total disability and retirement benefit eventually costs shareholders will depend on several factors, including the performance of Gannett's stock and the number of years Dubow lives. (He was 57 at the time he quit.)The figure could be lower. But it could easily be higher. That is because the additional disability benefits are tied to Dubow's base salary and any bonus he receives in his final year at work. We know Dubow's base salary: $1.2 million. We won't know what his 2011 bonus was until the next proxy is published, most likely in March. He did not work a full year in 2011, as he quit in early October. On the other hand, the board increased his bonus in each of the last three years. His 2011 bonus might have been increased higher enough to make up for his having worked a shortened year. After all, this is a board that has shown particular deference to the top brass.
I remove all comments that rely on name-calling, including the words "troll" and "moron." But there are plenty of others that I zap.I offer this start-of-the-New Year caution so posters won't find they've wasted their time. Cheers!
Great post, 1:07. Full agreement here.Here's hoping that in 2012, we have fewer posts that say the same thing again and again.
I don't want to go back to what USA today once was. What it is now: a place filled with too many managers with too little to do, on line staffers who have little to no background reporting or writing , and an uncertain future built not on actual journalism, but on marketing he and gimmicks. The focus should be on a smart build of the reporting staff and finding experienced journalists to staff the website.Management needs an overhaul, too. The are way too many entrenched senior editors and staff clearly not competent to take this operation into the future. After revamping the on line staff (how about mandatory news training sessions for this crew?) move on to the verticals, one of the silliest, most lame excuses for revenue generating in the history of theaper. Run by so called editors who produce a product with the caliber of a middle school paper. Get rid of them already and allow them to return to their lucrative consulting careers.
3:52, that was OK but not very original. Much of it has been said again and again.
Inside knowledge....all papers were required to plug in a $-value into their 2012 budget for additional layoffs in April.
3:59 Last I heard, there's a layoff scheduled for this month at some U.S. newspapers. I don't know how many jobs nor how many papers, unfortunately.But I've been told it's more than a few. The timing was in flux, I was told, although my reliable reader said mid- to late January.I've written about this likely reduction in previous posts, although this is the first time I'm including the January timing detail.As always, any layoff is subject to change -- in this case, including any better-than-expected fourth quarter financial results.
3:52 starts off with an excellent narrative and then can't help himself with the final few sentences. There is so much animosity spewed from veterans towards the new hires. The jealously is palpable. This attitude has gotten old. Every news organization is going through the same transition but these few USAT naysayers just won't let it go. We are NOT going back to 1995
3:54, so mention something original. Like specific names. Anything to improve the product and workflow would be appreciated, I am sure
Why would veterans be "jealous" of new hires? It is contempt, pure and simple. For the newbies' lack of experience, news judgement and work ethic. For their lack of perpective. And for their naive cluelessness. Of course, it isn't your fault. You were hired because you are young, cheap and are uncritical of management. Unfortunately, the veterans have to cover your young rear ends. Worse, when we aren't around, you make the product look like yokels are producing it. But hey, you're stars!
5:46 You're painting with an awfully broad brush. ALL the new, young hires fit this description?
From my perspective gained from first hand experience, I think 5:46 isn't far off the mark. I don't want to draw a broad brush, nor do I want to start a string of nasty, generational warfare, though. What bothers me is very few fresh new faces actually want to get any better. They have no passion for their work. Supervisors don't seem to care about that or have a clue how to help them get better.
Layoffs to start later this month? That's the best news I've heard so far this year. Now please make me one of them. I can no longer stomach working at this company. Lay me off before I quit so I can collect some small pittance of walking around money.
6:57 PM, I had the same sentiment as you do now, when they got rid of having a cadre of local artists at my site.I was not to be reassigned. Instead, I could "re-apply" for another position -- as if I just walked in off the street after having worked there, a significant history, since the mid-80's.I was to audition, as it were, in direct competition for that position against several colleagues with whom I worked closely and who were my "work" friends, for a recently imported director who had no credibility with anyone but the publisher, given his not even bothering to learn even our names.It was galling and humiliating. I decided the decent thing to do, then, was to accept the situation and not vie for essentially a "clerk" position against friends who were all much farther from eventual retirement than I.I also suspected that if I were hired for that position, I would make a great target to be fired by that guy for whatever "reason" (since my pay was good after so long of a time and the motive of the layoffs were to get rid of the longtime people),thereby losing any "transitional pay" and any eligibility for unemployment after a quarter of a century with this now horrible company.Laid off. Great. And while I'm still looking for work -- a new experience for me -- it's a helluva lot better than having a job there.
6:57 on Tuesday go see your boss and volunteer. Your wish will be fulfilled. Problem solved. Please let us know how you feel 60 days after your big moment.
Layoffs will be happening throughout the year when papers switch over to the Design Center. We just lost three people a couple weeks ago after the transition to the horrible CCI system was complete.
What is CCI? We don't have it here.
@Jim: any indication whether the possible January layoffs are related to the production spinoff and consolidation? Or are they site-based decisions to meet a budget reduction goal?
Re: 8:44PMI did "volunteer." Told thanks but no thanks, the company was not looking for nor interested in hearing from volunteers. Which is one of the problems with Gannett. They can lay people off in the manner they do or solicit volunteers and offer buyouts, thus lessening the fear and paranoia at Gannett sites.
10:25 There will certainly be job losses because of the production/distribution consolidation. But I was referring to the latter: site-based decisions to meet a budget reduction goal.
You cannot "volunteer" for a layoff until the company asks for volunteers. That's called "resigning."Basic employment law. This reminds of the posts where someone says people here don't understand how benefits work.
I'm not sure how many more they can lay off at our shop when we switch to the design hub. We have hardly anyone left now as it is.
Re: 12:03AM Yes and no to volunteering for a layoff. You can not officially volunteer for a layoff when Gannett uses taxpayers to subsidize their layoffs using the TPP because you can't collect unemployment if you quit. But before they used TPP, back in the day of real severance packages, you could volunteer for a layoff. Also, there are ways to unofficially volunteer. One way might be to approach your supervisor and raise the issue of layoff lists being put together. Tell your supervisor that your being on such a list wouldn't be the end of the world and see where it goes. You obviously have to have some trust in your supervisor to do this and you probably don't want to commit to anything in writing. But a savvy, decent supervisor might be able to act on this.
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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