An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
Ok. I don't get it. With all the emphasis on cost cutting (as opposed to selling more product), why in the world is Florida Today producing so much waste with their Sunday draws? Carriers are coming in with 20 percent plus on returns with some locations carrying 25 to 30 percent. I shudder to think what they will be come Feb. 5 when the price doubles for the Sunday paper.
I asked a carrier making a drop at a big box store here in Louisville what his returns were. About 25%, was his answer.
In early February, USCP will announce an Early Retirement Incentive Program for employees 56 years and up who meet or surpass a certain metric of time with the company. The incentive will be available to qualifying employees in all disciplines. Two weeks pay, plus two weeks for every year of Gannett service and plus benefits continuation during those weeks. We can't say this but... this will be the best offer the company will put forward, period (translation, if you pass on this, hoping for something better, it ain't happening). The only good news is that we if someone with a key job takes the offer, we can apply for permission to replace him/her, but only if we justify that at least 25 percent of the job is for digital. Also, the company is counting upon about 40 percent of those eligible taking the offer; if not, there will be other measures to get to the target (that's layoffs). More fun ahead!
In short, they are bumbing the draws to keep the circulation number high, so they can charge the advertiser more. The higher the circ number the higher the add rate. They don't care about returns, seen it, done it
If they make this offer at USA Today, they will get many, many takers. People are tired, disgusted and demoralized. And then there are the just plain lazy asses.
1:45, you are correct, the higher the number the higher the ad rate but circ number are based on net paid not gross draw so the high returns mean nothing to ad rates.I doubt you work in circ and have "done it."No I'm not a corporate poster just an ex Gannett circ guy.
I've also heard everything 1:25 said, except regarding the justification for replacement. USAT / Detroit doesn't need to offer early retirement, they use the old people as sandbags for the flood of money they bring in every day.
I doubt anyone is running the press longer to make numbers better - our metrics are so tight on waste and newsprint usage that our publisher is pushing down house ad size.
This country is in trouble. We're all being told we need to work longer, that 75 is the new 65. But then companies aggressively get rid of people over 50, or even over 40. It's not a great model for organizing a society.
I recently was downsized in circulation. What they are doing is crazy. The draws are controlled not at the local level and the people who control them have never been in the field. They are being told to make sure that anything 30 and above never sells out. They are stripping the smaller locations and racks to make sure that higher dealers like walmart and walgreens never sell-out. The overall percentage is fine, but the large locations and dealers are way overloaded with papers. We were constantly arguing with them to spread the draws to the smaller locations. Just like anything else Gannett does they ignore the people that work with it day to day. I personally am glad to be out of there, but my fellow workers are struggling everyday. Gannett just doesn't care about their employees. I look forward to my next job.
8:43, job discrimination is out there if you're over 40 and looking for a job. That's a huge part of the problem with unemployment these days that no prospective employer or politician is willing to admit, and it sucks.
@1:25 am - In light of what Craig got as a golden parachute, that is a chump change offer. An employee with 15 years in barely gets a half a year (32 weeks, counting the initial two weeks). And does it come with any strings, such as a no competition clause? Do you get a cash payout? And why is it considered "retirement" and not a buy-out. With Gannett, you know the devil will be in the details, which will be favorable to the company, not the worker. Given what is happening at GCI, it is tempting, since there is the veiled threat of future layoffs. Proceed with caution, since at least with a layoff, you can collect unemployment. When your "severance" runs out, you're on your own-and the job market, especially in this industry, is still in the dumpster.
Don't be so meldramatic. My busy in Reno took the buyout four years ago. When his year plus was over he collected unemployment. He was on salary continuation. When it ended GE was terminated. He loved it
Not GE. I meant he
Here's one I've never run across before; it's based on the manager's version of the events.A Gannett manager, saddened to learn a co-worker was about to be laid off, says they called a friend for emotional support. The manager's boss found out, notified human resources, and instead of laying off the co-worker, the company told the manager to resign or they'd be fired. The manager resigns, and the company avoids paying any severance.
1:25's comment on buyouts, if true, is a hugely significant development. It would confirm information I was given several weeks ago, but only about one newspaper site.Can anyone provide additional confirmation and/or details?Buyouts, clearly, are much preferable to forced layoffs. Although they mean fewer jobs, buyouts are more expensive than layoffs because they provide real severance.If Gannett is going the buyout route, that would show the company is in better financial shape. And it would reflect a more humanitarian approach to payroll cost-cutting.
Honestly, how many people over 56 still have jobs at Gannett? I know of very few. Open the floodgates and let us all take the buyout.
Jim @10:51 the buyouts may be more expensive at the front end, but the people they're targeting are probably making more money than most, just due to years of service. And when they are replaced, you can can damn betcha it won't be at near the same wages. I really don't see it in any way as being humanitarian, because that's not how this company operates. It's still all about the bottom line, not about the people.
8:42 it is a much, much better plan than TPP. It us designed to provide an incentive to many people who have been seen posting here who beg to be chosen in lay offs. Well here it is. Is it for everyone? No. But it is much better for veterans who want out.
A digital company needs to get younger. early retirement is a good idea.
Ok. So let's say you ar 56 and making $70,000 a year. You have been with the company 30 years. You wind up with 14 or 15 months of salary. But then what? You actually think you will find a job that pays as much? Youve got at least 6 years before you can draw social security (at a reduced, not quite full retirement rate) plus you need health insurance. No way most of us can afford to take a buyout.They'll Have fire me if they want me out of here.
11:59, they don't have to get younger, they have to get smarter. Everyone has to buy into digital, for sure. But you also need experienced journalists to provide content and understand what news is. I don't see many young hires with those talents coming in. Just a sense of entitlement and an inability or unwillingness to learn. That's a major problem for traditional media companies going forward, you cannot market and slogan your way into readership. That's the problem with the leaders of Gannett, who think gimmicks and bells and whistles translates into a solid business model. Of course, well have a senior vice president of reader engagement and marketing consultants to tell us otherwise.
Again, the "buy in to digital" with the inference that it's either digital or nothing. How short sighted. Digital, once known as online, has it's place, just like print has it's place. Just takes some smart people who know how to differentiate and compliment one another.But then again, I forget who I'm writing about!
I was really hoping the age requirement for the buyout would be 50 and not 56. I would take it in a split second. I wonder if they don't get enough volunteers at 56 and above, would they lower it to the 50 level? Any thoughts or opinions for those folks "in the know?"
Abandon Hope all Ye who work at gannett.Sorry, Dante.
Going back to 9:41's comment regarding age discrimination, yes, it is illegal but it is all the rage at least in my experience. In the few offers for which I was interviewed, each went to someone a lot younger (yes, with the same up-to-date skill sets) and with a lot less proven experience. They can rationalize it officially any way they please, but coincidence even when more than willing to take starting, no-experience pay? Each one? I think not. But I'm still looking.
Four years ago, USA Today offered possible buyouts to nearly 180 qualified employees: two weeks' pay for every year of service, with no cap, plus cheap medical coverage for the entire severance period. You needed at least 15 years' service; I don't know whether there was an age minimum. Only 43 applied. When I asked some who didn't, the most common response was fear they wouldn't get health insurance. I suspect that will continue to be an obstacle in any new round of buyouts.
"A Gannett manager, saddened to learn a co-worker was about to be laid off, says they called a friend for emotional support. The manager's boss found out, notified human resources, and instead of laying off the co-worker, the company told the manager to resign or they'd be fired. The manager resigns, and the company avoids paying any severance."That makes no sense. And it's impossible to follow -- what's with the "they" references?Jim, try to keep your fantasies to the marginally believable. Even the devoted sheep here would have a hard time swallowing that one. It likely didn't happen.
The only way Jim's story makes sense is if the managervrevealed employee details or something to the person he or she called. But even THEN the story sounds like some neurotic spin by someone who was fired.It truly is amazing his cluekess most people are about what is really happening -- and this tale seems a prime example.
I'm with 1:29. Lower the age limit. I too would take it in a minute. After 20+ years with this company through good times and bad I have things I want to do with my life that don't include Gannett. Buyouts are more humane than layoffs. It gives employees who want out, like myself, a little breathing room while allowing those who hope to stay on a little more longevity. To me the company's motives on this aren't important. It's always better to give people control over the decisions that impact them directly.
I often use "they" to hide the subject's gender.
Hey 11:59 generalize much? That's a pretty broad statement and pretty much wrong. Older employees are just as capable of embracing digital as the young pups. The problem with Gannett is not that older employees are not embracing the digital realm. The problem with Gannett is that the company doesn't know how to put into place a decent digital plan.
Jim, buyout post correct but capped at 52 weeks.
Re: The manager story. Here's a simple truth - if you're a manager, one of the burdens you face is keeping your mouth shut when you know sad truths like layoffs. If word got back to his boss after he told his "friend," then his friend wasn't very discrete and it was a major error in judgment? Fireable offense? Maybe, maybe not. If it wasn't his first such error, yes.
In general, I don't think the managers at Gannett care about whether something is a qualifying "fireable offense." If they want to fire someone, they'll come up with a way to do it -- especially if it would save money. I have no trouble believing that Jim's scenario might be true, either in part or in whole. These people care about nothing and nobody other than the bottom line.
One thing about the earlier buyouts at USAT, the 43 they got were as many as they needed. ( I think they wanted 45 at the time). There was a threat of layoffs if they did not meet quota. There aren't that many mid 50s and up people left, except in management.
Re: manager's story. I know who it involves and have heard the same rumor. I agree that the friend must not have been discrete.
I have heard "the same rumor."
Companies like USAT/Gannett should be investigated by the same politicians who want to raise the retirement age. The only way they can raise that age is to start fining companies like this for pushing out seasoned employees and ignoring job applicants over 50. Until companies like Gannett/USAT are held accountable for what is obvious to us all - that age discrimination is rampant here (and elsewhere) - raising the age for collecting Social Security will create an entire new class of 50 and 60something homeless people. Experienced employees must be able to keep their jobs and be on level playing field when competing for new positions. Gannett is flat out breaking the law and getting away with it year in and year out.
-2:14 True. My point is how much health insurance fears drive buyouts.
Unfortunately, the story about the manager isn't fantasy. It certainly happened, and everyone in the newsroom knows at least generally what occurred. The manager is a talented individual and a well respected person in the newsroom, so needless to say, the decision has enraged the staff. It just smacks of management taking advantage of a slip-up in an effort to find an easier, less expensive out to curry favor with corporate.
I'm not being sarcastic. If this story is true why not identify the paPer? What's the big secret? Whom is protecting whom?
I don't think commenters realize that there are plenty of mid-50s+, nonmanagement people still employed at corporate GCI in Tysons. Not sure how they're being protected and untouched unless they're a#*& kissing and begging to stay.
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If an employee is caught sharing confidential information, that is certainly grounds for dismissal. We offer free confidential EAP counseling that could have been used if the manager felt emotional about the issue and needed to talk.And it's certainly true that some managers may look for reasons to fire a particular employee. Though their performance is within standards by most measurements, the employee may be targeted for any reason or no reason at all - if they're smarter than the boss or the boss needs salary room to hire a friend.If you are a supervisor sharing confidential information in a way or to a person that gets back to your boss? You're exhibiting bad judgment two ways: in the divulging and who you divulged to.We don't need supervisors with bad judgment. And if the boss knew the supervisor was spilling the beans, others did too.
To continue on 4:05's point - there are legitimate reasons to keep things confidential. Discussions of options suddenly turn into done deals when they hit the grapevine, as example. Ultimately it's unfair to the co-worker who was going to be let go. It's bad enough to lose the job. Thinking that it was common knowledge before you hear about it is just another slap in the face. And if the info is incorrect? How cruel!There may be legitimate reasons to break confidentiality - but be prepared to pay the consequences if your employer disagrees.
Thanks for filtering out that stuff, Jim.
Buying into digital won't save you. I was over 55, highly compensated and not a favorite of one upper manager. I understood and taught digital concepts. I utilized social media and could explain meta tags and email marketing and targeting. If they want you gone, it doesn't matter if you had great performance appraisals or anything else. They will get rid of you. This compay rewards awful people because those at the top identify with heartless self-serving people. The more ruthless you are they more you are rewarded. Thank goodness there is Karmic Justice.
7:31 pm is correct. As long as someone can decide whether you stay or go, you are never assured of staying. They don't have to have a reason. Away you go.
No justice until some of then people you talk about are shown the door.
I continue to be amazed at the number of posters who are over 50 or 55 who say they would take a buyout in a heartbeat. Friends, it is BRUTAL out there if you are trying to find any kind of media job, be it in journalism or PR or with a government. There simply are way too many qualified people who apply for all the same jobs.Unless you have a spouse or partner who makes a boatload of cash, DON'T give up your job unless forced.I have been a finalist many times--sometimes out of 400 applicants--but still have not gotten the job. The simple fact is, hiring managers are in the catbird seat. The last job I did not get--I came in second and the top Comms Manager even called me to tell me the news and tell me how much he and the interview panel liked me, etc., etc., etc. But he also said he had at least five people (out of the hundreds) who had applied for the job that he would have loved to have hired. That is how many qualified people are seeking comms jobs.So, my advice--and I have said it before--DON'T quit or take a buyout unless you have another job lined up. Yes, I think there is some age discrimination. But the larger truth is, there are just too few jobs to go around to the many qualified and overqualified communications professionals who are out there.
There are three Gannett people playing in Bill Clinton's golf tournament with Humana in Palm Springs this week. How's them apples, Alice?
Who are they!
What the "don't take the buyout unless you have another a job " posters fail to realize is even if you decide not to take the buyout, there's no guarantee they won't just lay you off. Then you're stuck with the lousy TPP deal.If they offer you the buyout, TAKE IT!!! As mentioned earlier, this will be the BEST deal you will be offered. If you have to take a lower paying job in a completely unrelated field, then do that. You will be able to take on another job and still receive the entire buyout package unlike TPP where if you take another job, you lose the remaining TPP money.I worked for 22 years, got the boot and had to take the TPP deal. My choice was to look for work during the paid 5 month vacation, sharpen and update my skills and accept any off the books freelance work I could find. I got every penny of "severance" owed to me, got my lump sum pension pay and put that into my IRA and moved on.COBRA lasted 15 months and that's the real rub. I did in fact face tripling health insurance costs when that ran out so I found a lower paying job in an unrelated field (it's manual labor for the no name/n job jackA##) that gives my family full coverage for half of what my Gannett insurance cost. So at the end of the week, my take home pay is about the same.Bottom line- take the buyout and get the hell away from Gannett.
11:04, it's actually "no name, no claims." And it applies only to the jackwagons here who keep trying to claim they have started wildly successful businesses and hired dozens of people.You must not read well. Sounds like manual labor is where you belong. Enjoy it!
11:31 PM Your mom called. She says she wants you to move out of her basement already and go find a girl. You know what girls are don't you?
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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