An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
Someone asked what 10:14 pm post last night meant: "What angers me now is that Gannett sends me health care documents and semi-threatening bills for over $1000 worth of benefits I don't have, as if I were retired from Gannett and not laid off. Two registered letters and numerous phone calls haven't stopped their correspondence since summer."I'm not sure of that person's situation, but in my experience last year the Gannett Benefits operation is pretty bad. Missing information sets up some bizarre situations. At one point, I was getting threatening letters for not setting up an auto pay feature -- which they killed when switching to this new system -- while still paying my monthly fees for COBRA by mail. That took several long calls and, for a time, double billings and threats to drop me. They later admitted one part of their operation did not yet have access to the database, so went its own merry way.There was no notice of the latest switch from BCBS to United, and I was also one of those people whose account was lost in the switch. Called Gannett Benefits. They said call United. I asked for an ID number and they said United would give me one. Called United, they asked for ID number. As I was looping through three of their people, one finally put me on hold, called Gannett Benefits back, and led that person through the process of tracking down my lost file. I get the impression Gannett Benefits is a shoestring operation in some remote location. And now I'm stuck with United HealthCare, which is not universally accepted. Someone is saving more money for generous executive payouts.
Who exactly can anyone trust or depend on in GCI HR/Benefits these days? This is one sad, shoddy piece of work.
There comes a time, a few months after you leave the company, when you no longer read this blog with a sense of fear and dread. But rather, you feel profound sadness for the friends still toiling away in Gannett.I so very much miss the days, not too long ago, when I woke up in the morning and thought about the good I could do at the newspaper, how I could serve my community better, how we could change lives and make a difference. Sure, I used to bitch about the company then, but you know what: The good old days really were good compared to the current-day agony of never-ending expense cuts, furloughs and ongoing RIF lists. Now, in my new job, I no longer wake up with a knot in my stomach. I work with people who have a sense of optimism and hope, not loathing and despair. I can call the HR department and speak with a real, live human being. I work with an IT department who stops by my office and says, "Do you want an iPad2? We got an extra and thought you could use it." I take vacations, real ones where I unplug, and no one calls me wanting an updated revenue flash or a 2 percent contingency expense cut plan. I work for a boss who makes sure to say "please" and "thank you" and "great job." In Gannett, I used to come to work when I was sick; if I do it here, everyone -- my boss included -- looks at me like I'm crazy for not taking a sick day. Sure, there's work, hard work, and long hours some days. But I've learned that outside Gannett, even in this challenging economy, you can find a work environment that is filled with people who feel good about themselves, what they do and who they work with. That's why, when I return to this blog, I feel sad for my friends left behind, serving the ghosts of journalism past, working for newspapers that are really like zombies, the living dead. I urge each of you who can leave to do so soon and look for an enviroment that is supportive, challenging and more optimistic. You will be amazed how it will change you for the good.
9:08 -- Wonderfully written and so true.But I think anyone who could leave Gannett has already left. Those who remain need -- or believe they need -- the stability, paycheck and benefits.Having said that, I've yet to meet one person who has left Gannett, either voluntarily or involuntarily, who wishes they were still there, regardless of stability, paychecks and benefits. Life is too short for daily stomach knots.
And still, so many of you come back, drawn by vengeance, for the passion you used to have in the business, or what? I for one am beyond tired of the "life on the other side" commentary. If there's life on the other side, why do so many keep coming back here to dump shit on the company, trash its execs (double helping for any woman) and wax on about the good old days. Your actions don't match your words.
Why do so many slow down to look at a car wreck on the highway?
9:34 - The above sounded more like encouragement for anyone to find a way to improve their daily lives. When your employer does nothing to improve their products or their employees what keeps the work force motivated? Why stay? Some profound, uncompensated, sense of public service isn't enough anymore. Why come back here? Why not. Lets support those left behind and those that have found their escape and share information along the way. How's that for a reason to come back.
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Tell you what 9:34, you might want to ask why do you come here? I left, I love it -- life really is much better outside of Gannett... true. However, most of us "outsiders" invested a great deal of time and made a many sacrifices at Gannett: working though holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, weddings and graduations, coming in on snow days when everyone else did not have to, watching the Pentagon burn on 9/11 when our families were frightened and at home, and on and on. Somehow, we thought that might matter someday. It really didn't and yeah, so life sucks. But the sacrifice was real as was the pride of that effort.Its good to come here to share perspectives, to vent, and to give hope to the folks at Gannett who are so uncomfortable, frightened and even angry. What part of this is so hard for you to understand? Guess you are not one of those reunion-type people who has empathy and understanding of other's fears and worries, and that's cool. But why complain about those who are?
Sadly, 9:24, you are right. The good are gone or going. The rest can't leave, won't leave or are hanging on out of some vague hope that maybe, just maybe, the cutting will stop and we can be allowed to do what we can with what we have left. That's not going to happen.Your 2012 budget was built upon your 201l actual expense spending. Two quarters of furloughs were layered into the mix and, very likely, a third one for OC members at most sites in Q3. Each month, corporate asks group to ask sites to cut a little bit more. C'mon, what's 2 percent more? You gave us that last quarter? Managers in news no longer want to do PIPs to address performance problems, knowing well that if someone leaves, your publisher or GM will go, "Whew! Good! One less person to layoff later" or "There's my 2 percent from News."
I share accounts of my new job because my friends still at Gannett ask me about it. They'd like to pull off the same transition, but aren't sure how. Gannett HR sure isn't going to provide any job search assistance, as the best corporations do.
Enthusiasm for deal sites in decline, as consumers become overwhelmed with a growing bandwidth of seemingly endless options: http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/jan/06/carly-harrington-enthusiasm-for-deal-sites/Deal Chicken, Moms Like Me, Metromix, Orange Soda, Cozi, Ripple6, YRPs, magazines. Remind me again: Which one of these are supposed to save us?
10:46, what's so hard to understand is that you are still venting three years later. Either move on or start coming up with a solution. The complaining is tiresome and repetitive. As someone else here says, get some new material.
@ 12:48, have you yourself ever come up with a solution to anything at your own site that was respected, implemented, etc.? Did you ever come up with a GREAT idea, one that was remembered and pondered for years? I have, and as with the positive, the negative also lingers. And, I'm guessing you're not yet 40, maybe not even 30.
12:48 PM The "performance" of upper management is tiresome and repetitive. If the leaders got some new material or came up with solutions, perhaps the company would be moving in the right direction.
12:58, what was the great idea? I wait for your excuse for not telling us what it is, and that we should just believe you.1:00 -- yawn. Same old griping. Not even worth more than this response.
1:08 pm Do you know something we don't know? Is the company back on track? 1:00 pm
1:08 pm You sound so much like some of the Gannett managers I've worked for over the years.
1:08 forgot to add 'No name, no business/job.' Don't worry 1:08, I'm happy to add that for you!
A plea to the layers and layers of new management brought into USAT over the last 2 years: Please produce or go find the jobs you REALLY want. There are still lots of people who believe in the USAT brand.
12:58, still waiting to hear what the great idea was.1:17/1:21/1:52/2:28 (all the same person), yawn. You need new material.
Enough with the sniping. What about layoffs?
I think it would be interesting for all of the users to post one thing they did, or proposed, to move the company forward.The majority of the posters seem to believe they can do better than the past and current management.
Bottom line is NOTHING has changed at USAT in marketing since any of these people showed-up. It's more of a confused mess than ever before. They live by the words "work in progress", "it's not finalized yet", "we don't have everything worked out yet" and so on. NOTHING ever gets done. Either produce or go find the jobs you REALLY want and stop wasting the time of people who actually care about this brand.1/06/2012 2:21 PM
Another high profile firing at USA Today with Michael Davidson fired in circulation after 26 years.
I asked the IT department to build a small program in excel with a graphical user interface to help sales people rate ads more accurately and quickly.Also suggested developing a web hosting company and email company.(early on)Also many other ideas and tweeks to exisitng programs over the years. So did many other employees. None were ever done or explored. Upper management were too busy shoving corporate's ideas down employee's throats to listen to anything bubbling up. Over the years I saw some of the brightest people leave and take their great ideas to other companies- now I can see why.
Corporate has now confirmed names of next six paywall sites.
11:41, The woman that submitted the business idea, to the DIG, for what is now marketed as "Deal Chicken" was let go from the company. She was an innovator and submitted 19 business ideas for the DIG. She was forced out of the company by her coworkers.
@ 3:52, you are 100% correct!
Michael Davidson is a good guy. But, given this new crop of bozos, I'm not surprised he's gone. Another exec with deep ties to clients has hit the trails. That skill is no longer valued by the "behind closed doors" types.
So with Davidson, Erdos, and Hill now gone, who at a senior level at USA TODAY actually knows our clients?Someone will hire them and that company will benefit by their contacts - bet on it!
The better majority of you people need to check your meds.
8:03 I remove posts where readers call others names, including "idiot."
I sure hope it's not true about Michael Davidson. I mean does anyone think Rudd can do what Michael did. I would be skeptical of anyone who thinks so. The Blue Chip strategy is in serious trouble if indeed Michael is gone. Blue Chip is the soul of USA TODAY.
What Blue Chip strategy??? The Blue Chip strategy has been in trouble for 3 years- Maybe now they'll finally re-org the department and move it forwarded into the 2000s vs. staying in the 1990s and we can be successful again.
There is no Blue Chip strategy left. Hilton is not moving forward with any USA Today digital proposals and not renewing the hotel copies. That along with the Marriott fiasco all but finishes off the newspaper.
10:25 has it right. When the hotel chains dump you, you're done.
Florida Today gets their daily and Sunday draws from Tennessee. Daily returns are coming in at or below average but the Sundays have been coming in for single copy anywhere from 300 to 500 per carrier. Ridiculous.Worse is that the draws don't get adjusted the next week. How does Gannett justify all that waste? Just imagine the return counts after going to $3.00. If the carriers did that when they did their own draws they'd be out on their ear. Makes you wonder just what column the unsold copies get recorded on.
Blue Chip strategy. World Class sales team. Whatever. Name your division and switch around the puzzle pieces. It's all people managing toward their own retirement. Keep it moving, keep the pay, the false hope, the vague ideas, the stock options moving. Until I can get out of here with all the cash I can muster.How do I know? I was on that carousel. It didn't last long enough. But still, I'm glad to be out.But be aware: This is the mindset of your leaders. There is no hope, happy ending or plan in sight.
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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