Monday, January 23, 2012

Jan. 23-29 | Your News & Comments: Part 1

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  1. Florida Today's Sunday was 2 hours late, then 2 stoppages in the first half hour. Nice. Get the people pissed 2 weeks before the double price raise. We need some real newspaper people here. The print edition could and should be better than it is in this county. Why are you turning your backs on us Gannett?

  2. Gannett is not turning their backs on you. They did that long ago, print is not a priority, it doesn't make money and if the past 5-10 years establishes a consistent trend, print has a very short remaining shelf life.

    The unfortunate reality is the product and decline cannot go on forever. I suspect this has been discussed at corporate and there is most likely a point in time when future prospects and the current business model (losses) will spell the end. It's like an airplane that gets rid of all unnecessary weight to stay in the air, including wheels and landing gear as a crash landing is no longer in the future, just a crash.

  3. Print still pays the bills 11:13 pm. I suggest you go check out the comparisons of revenue sources.

  4. Print will always pay the bills. After all that is where we all work at a newspaper. For the last couple years we have been hearing about online. How much more can they afford to push digital. The pay walls will prove what they have known all along. It simply can't replace print and that they will have to coexist. With the emphasise on print and online for entertainment mug shots, gallaries,ect.

  5. We routinely miss deadline at the Clarion-Ledger and no one seems to care. Our managing editor was laid off in Nov 2010 and not replaced. Our executive editor quit in July and hasn't been replaced yet. we have 2 AMEs who are so swamped trying to get a paper out and keep an understaffed website functioning that they can't worry about deadlines. It's kind of a free-for-all, rudderless ship. will be really interesting to see what happens when we move to the design hub. instead of missing deadlines by 20-25 minutes, it might be an hour -- or more! However... we all know that this passion topics and content evolution bullshit will save us.

  6. Jim-

    In case no one has noticed. The publishers have been going back and forth to corporate frequently as of late. Not just this week.

    This is due to the complete restructure of way the USCP does business. Gone are "Newspapers" and in with "content providers".

    Why do you think the GPS was created? They will be service provider. A distribution channel. But it can't be profitable on Newsprint alone. It's tasked to make it's own way.

    Why do you think Banikarim is here? Why would we put so many resources behind an individual (and her newly created team) that has never produced anything except content?

    Why do you think the "Newsrooms" are being given their new toys? Gone are "reporters" and in with "content generators"

    I can't believe this corporate wide transformation has escaped your attention.

    Getting a little rusty Jim. Time to start some diging before you're scooped by the announcement itself.

  7. Anybody know, or willing to tell, what went on with Gannett being at Floriday Today last week? It's curiously quiet.

  8. 7:50 I fear that what you're saying is true -- but not for the reason you might think.

    It's true that the formation of Gannett Publishing Services and its mandate are newish -- well, four-months-old new, anyway.

    But there's absolutely nothing new about viewing reporters and the newsrooms -- err, Information Centers -- as content generators. That term (more correctly, content generators) has been around for years, both for reporters and the customers.

    Ever heard of reader-generated content? That's as old as YouTube; reader blogs and comments, and crowd-sourcing.

    And those new toys -- iPhones and iPads -- are just today's version of the videocameras and laptops assigned to newsrooms back in 2006 and earlier.

    As for Banikarim and her team, what else would she be expected to do other than to sell content?

    Indeed, content generation, in the form of stories and advertising, has been Gannett's entire business since it was founded in 1906. There's absolutely nothing new about that.

    To paraphrase you, I can't believe this corporate wide transformation is what passes as a scoop.

  9. "And those new toys -- iPhones and iPads"

    ... and what about those new toys, Jim? Anyone know their status?

  10. What's funny is my GPS pressroom is tasked to go find commercial customers - and we no longer have any experienced prepress operators to prepare files.

    One more job for the ad trafficker! Build your new empire on the skill set of a clerk who has no backup.

  11. 12:27 The print vs. digital debate has been settled.

    Eventually, print will go away and be replaced by digital or some other non-print delivery system.

    In the meantime, print still accounts for the lion's share of Gannett's annual revenue.

    During the first nine months of last year, publishing advertising and circulation combined were 69% of GCI's total $3.6 billion in revenue.

    That was down from 73% during the first nine months of 2010 on lower revenue: nearly $4 billion.

    Digital, meanwhile, was 13% during the same period of last year vs. 11% in 2010.

    The key and most ominous point, however, is that overall revenue continues to fall. That's because the dollars leaving from print are not all migrating to digital.

    Digital will be the biggest piece of the pie someday, but the pie will be considerably smaller.

  12. Has anyone received any of the promised new toys yet? I thought they were supposed to arrive in January. No one at our shop has received a word since we read the dickey memo on this blog back in December. Total silence and no communication from corporate. Shocking, huh?

  13. Former USA Today President/Publisher Tom Curley is retiring as president/CEO of the Associated Press.

  14. Curley is 63 years old. At one time, he was seen as Doug McCorkindale's successor as CEO at Gannett. But that job, of course, went to Craig Dubow.

  15. Agree with Jim's comment that while print still brings in majority of revenue, the Big G is starving itself down to a digital company with less earnings. Therefore, be ready for Patch-type salaries, diminishing health care/other benefits and turnover every 2 years.

  16. There a lot of people who don't believe print will just up and blow away. Maybe the big dinosaur conglomerates like Gannett will disregard what brung 'em to the dance, but I believe print will be picked up by smaller companies who will recognize the market for print which still exists whether gannett and the like believe it or not. newspapers thrive all over the world and smaller ones here in the US still thrive. Maybe it would be for the best that Gannett closes it's doors on print. Maybe then communities can get back to basics...what made

  17. 10:18 AP's board is not made up of geniuses. These folks are all take the money and run types:

  18. Buyouts will be announced at at least one Gannett newspaper site next week, according to a reader who has been dead-on accurate about such moves in the past.

    "It's a done deal,'' they said. "And yes, all publishers and editors know."

    From my vantage, it seems likely many other sites will announce buyouts, too.

    I asked my reader about the reported details of buyouts (read those in this Jan. 21 comment here). My reader could not confirm those.

    Still, those reported details sound plausible.

    Would anyone else like to weigh in with new information?

  19. Don't know who was in town last week at Florida Today, but the Barbie twins are here for 2 days of training. If we are becoming a digital company, why are we flying trainers all over when they could be using webex?

  20. Oh no, they are still around. I thought they were gone along with Yahoo. And they don't use webex probably because they don't know how

  21. Jim, I advertise in the classified "Service Finder" in the Pensacola News Journal. The Service Finder consist of about (40) small (half a page for all ads) business ads. I've been running (2) ads for several years. Recently I engaged in a terse rude email conversation with the PNJ publisher Kevin Doyle regarding the Service Finder being used as "filler", removed from the classified section & used to fill other areas of the paper, like buried in the Sports section. The next day, the Service Finder returns to the classified section. Mr Doyle said its not being used as filler, basically called me a liar. The News Journal has been doing this filler routine thing for the last few years. I recently had a client tell me she couldn't find my ad in the classified section. I spend nearly $4500 per year on these ads but Mr Doyle doesn't seem to give a sh*t about stopping this ongoing abuse. I've told my clients in the past,that My ads are located in the Service Finder section within the classified section of the paper. I feel like I have lied to them when they cannot locate my ads because the paper uses the SF as filler. Just this past Saturday, it was used as filler. Twice last week, Once the week before.

    I am at wits end re this issue. I told Mr Doyle I was going to sue because in two recent Sunday Editions, all the classifieds were missing within the two papers I received. It pisses me off, I pay for a service of having my ads run in the paper "daily". I'm tired of this paper screwing us Service Finder advertisers.

    Jim, do you have ideas on how I can get these issues resolved? Start a blog or Tweeter? I will send you my email exchange with Mr Doyle if you'd like to read it. I lose $ every time the PNJ does their filler thing. Thanks.

  22. Change the subject from banks to your favorite newspaper group. The song remains the same. From today's DealBook blog at . . . BTW, notice the random word combo in the transition from headline to text.

    Bad Year for Wall St. Not Reflected in Chiefs' Pay
    Wall Street stocks and profits took a beating in 2011. But there is one corner of the Street that took a lighter hit: the compensation paid to chief executives.

    Three big banks disclosed on Friday what their top executives will receive in deferred stock for their work in 2011. Such stock is expected to make up most of their bonus as banks are increasingly paying employees more in deferred stock. Those awards to top bank executives are coming as lower-level employees are finding out that their own bonuses will be much smaller than a year ago.

    Brian Foley, a compensation expert in White Plains, said that for top executives, he would have expected "the belt to come in a few more notches" this year given the banks' lackluster stock performance. He added that executive suite pay packages this year might further lower morale inside the banks.

    "A lot of people in the middle took big hits this year," he said. "It could create some big 'us versus them issues' as to why the rank and file are taking a bigger hit than the senior executives."

  23. Today's sports section in The Arizona Republic might settle the argument as to whether newspapers (will) remain relevant.

    Front page head: Joe Pa dies (USAT)

    Above the fold: AFC & NFC Championships (AP)

    Bottom front: tease for local stories on C3, 6 & 7; local coach dies.

    Inside (pg 2) is a local column titled "The Heat Index" (it's a dry column) written by local columnists. Today's HI was how the columnist spent SATURDAY reading Tweets, along with a page-full of tweets and snarky comments.

    I guess they're deciding the way to go is to mimic Drudge and HuffPo and Yahoo, and become a LOCAL aggregator. Problem for them is, I can get a lot of local (non-newspaper) content off Yahoo and Google and the TV station websites, never mind local bloggers.

  24. GET RID OF PRINT? that's 62% OF income you digital knuckleheads. It is here to stay for at least 5-10 years all be it may be smaller. Digital will never bring in enough cash to keep the stock holders or the trolls at HQ happy. They will continue to down size, more furloughs, buy outs, pay cuts, what did I forget.
    I am waiting for the day they shutter our newspaper plant, be honest, can't wait..I am sick of all this BS with GCI. I will milk it for all it's worth. Collect unemployment, and find a better job if I need to find a job at all.
    Were i worl is going to the dogs, the press room is very new, but turning into a shit hole allready. no one gives a shit including my press manager and the rest of the press crew. IT put in your hours and screw this place. No incentive to do a good job, so we don't. My op's manager is a prick, but he can't do anything because he is powerless, whats he going to do fire everyone. The days of giving my blood to the company have been over for 3 years.s F GPS and all it's big shot yes men.

  25. 12:20 Jones. I wasn't aware Kevin Doyle was still with Gannett. Good example of the Peter Principle. Had plenty of dealings with him in Wisconsin. Wasn't pretty.

  26. "12:20 Jones. I wasn't aware Kevin Doyle was still with Gannett. Good example of the Peter Principle. Had plenty of dealings with him in Wisconsin. Wasn't pretty."

    He seemed to get personally offended when I used the word "filler", in his responding emails. He said there wasn't a guarantee that the Service Finder would stay in the classified section daily. I countered that the SF sat in the classified section for over ten yrs until it started to be used as filler. I even suggested if it was needed as filler, then fine, print it twice. Nope, he won't do that.

    I'd like to hear about your past dealings with Doyle. Email me.

  27. It's not considered a filler - or it would be left completely out of the paper. It's being moved most likely to economize on newsprint. Why kill a tree and run four extra pages of paper so one group of ads runs in the classified section?

    We ask large and small advertisers to move out of their preferred section all the time, to ensure color or because too many advertisers want page 3 or a plethora of other reasons.

    Many people have no reason to look in the classified section on a daily basis - it's more likely that running the service finder in other positions has introduced your business to new audiences that would otherwise miss you.

    I'm sorry your clients have trouble when your ad doesn't run in the regular section - at our paper, if we move regular items we do put a notice on the page to let readers know where they've gone - whether it's service finder or the bridge column. Best of luck.

  28. 4:09 knows what they're talking about.

    But in addition, from the description by joneson at 12:20, it sounds as if someone told a now-fed-up customer they were (incorrectly) selling him a "guaranteed position."

    These days the Service Finder, where early on it was required to be on the same page "or else," it has often been moved around predicated upon the exigencies of space in a given edition.

    In the past at least, the Service Finder's location in a particular edition was always indicated on the front page content list.

    With the template that Gannett now has every paper use, who knows if they still run a content list on the front page? I don't. I no longer spend one cent of my unemployment check on this product.

    In any case, to learn whether joneson was sold a "guaranteed position" other than a spot in the Service Finder itself, the publisher should have checked with joneson's sales rep first and foremost, rather than treat an advertiser to a shrug.

    Then again, Gannett has already gotten rid of a lot of the types who would have.

  29. Checked, I mean.

  30. I'll tell you this about Kevin Doyle. He's one of the very best in the business, a true newspaperman at heart and someone who doesn't suffer fools gladly. He's an old sports writer and NFL beat reporter at heart, someone who rose from the newsroom and never forgot his roots. Can he be a real sumbitch at times? Sure, like any publisher, he crank it up to 11 when required and, yes, he has to tow the line like anyone in the big chair does these days. But he's one of the last publishers in this company that gives a damn about content and thinks of what we do as more than audience platforms. He's harnessed the reach of the newspapers he's worked for to do countless good in their communities.

    Mr. Joneson, I think you've been given some good advice up in this thread. I'll also offer this. Your rate is likely based on frequency (a little amount for each ad because you run on a lot of days) and therefore is affordable and attractive because you've seen the value in running a small ad over many days and weeks. Your rate is also likely discounted because it is part of a group package in Classified. The previous posters are right when they say the directory often gets moved in order to avoid bumping classified up by XX pages (and having to fill that extra space with unpaid house ads). If they are not running a notice in Classified when they move the directory, however, you have a legit beef that should be addressed by them. Unless you are willing to pay a premium price, much more than you are paying for a spot in a directory, you are not going to be given a guaranteed position.

    I would recommend that you go see Kevin, talk with him face-to-face (rather than by email) and perhaps suggest some of the ideas you got from comments here. All of us, even those of us with a beef against the company and its leadership, appreciate that you see value in advertising in one of our papers -- and that it brings you good results. The News Journal folks are likely reading this blog and want to help you. Try that.

  31. @ 4:09 & 4:44, clearly neither of you have ever worked in Classified. It's a different beast than retail. Section is never promised to a retailer (unless they pay a higher price), but their ad will NOT be in classified. Service ads BELONG in classifed. Even if you don't need to refer to it on a daily basis, you always know what section to turn to when you need a service.

  32. There is no original-news operation in the nation that can pay for its content through on line revenue without a pay wall. Not one.

    That means you either put your original content behind a pay wall and sue any aggregator who steals it or you cut the content provider staff by about 90% until cost of the content is slightly less than the on-line revs.

  33. 6:35, the first thing we move out of Classified when its tight are legals, then service directory. Before we do that, we'll kill all house ads -- and even the section flag, of course. We don't like moving anything around. But here, and I'm sure also in Pensacola, we can't jack the section up by two pages (or the paper up by four pages, since Classified has to balance in number of pages with another section in a collect run)just to keep the service directory in one place.

  34. Want to understand where Gannett is headed? Listen to this piece from last week explaining why Kodak, once the leader in photography, finally filed for bankruptcy. (

    Notice the parallels with Gannett's print vs. digital dilemma:

    "Kodak failed to leverage its own innovation in the digital camera, because executives feared it would kill their cash-cow film business. What they failed to recognize is that, if they didn't cannibalize their own business with better digital cameras, someone would, and then they'd be left with nothing."

    "Kodak made only half-hearted attempts at diversifying, but never really succeeded in replacing its lost profits...executives were too impatient to grow a new business...Kodak in general always had a benchmark of its film business, which it literally created from the ground up, to work against when comparing other types of businesses against it...

    "There is a ying and yang to business, and if you're on top today, start to worry because someone else somewhere is working on a technology that's going to make yours obsolete."

  35. 4:11 your ying & Yang is a lot of apples and oranges. How many large or small newspapers do you know that have abandoned print for digital? You need to get your yang out of talking business. The customer is always right and the customer has spoken. The customer has spoken for years now. Put down your smart phone and get back to work.

  36. Very surprised no one has weighed in on the completely useless meeting with dave Hunke, Maryam and her cast of high paid marketing consultants. A 90 minute waste of time by new execs telling us they have gotten up to speed after months of navel gazing. They told us already what we knew, failed to disclose a new marketing plan, and generally left everyone baffled. Of course, Hunke once again tried sell a bag of air as something with substance. What a joke this guy is..

    Would lve to know how much these expert consultants cost us. Personally, I way way underwhelmed.

    I may be jaded, however, and await other opinions on what did, and did not, transpired today.

    1. I totally disagree. I found the presentation informative and extremely positive. They told us several times the plan wasn't ready but they wanted to share the findings. Yes Hunke was his normal bombastic self. But overall a great presentation.

  37. The latest on CW and her demoralizing ways in Cincy:
    Today an email went out from her about an email she had received from a reader criticizing us for typos especially in the Sunday edition. The email had a typo in it - the guy spelled wonder as "wander" - but we were supposed to take all this seriously. Read what she suggests and weigh in please.
    CW's email said: "This is actually one of the most frequent complaints I get. Really every day.
    "It is a really good thing for us word folks that we have readers who care about words. So I take them seriously and reflect on what they have to say.
    "Also it is simply true that there are fewer layers of editing to catch us when we fall. So it is up to each of us to re-read our work with clean copy in mind and ensure each of us passes along copy that can be published right now with all the basic facts, spelling and grammar correct.

    "So in the spirit of being helpful - what would you think about having an English teacher review our paper for a week, identify our most common grammatical sins and come in and give us a grammatical refresher for grownups? (actually give us some helpful tools rather than me just ask you to work harder!).
    "I'm open to our thoughts or other ideas that don't involve adding more people or working harder!".

  38. Any updates on the remains of the group-layoff in USAT Production HQ (McLean)?

  39. Digital or Print??? I understand print may be 60+% of revenue, what percent of profit does that stand for? I'm a newspaper fan but the moved Gannett is making is clearly not in favor of or support of a currently relevant, marketable print product. Wire reports, yesterday's news, poor grammar and bad spelling doesn't create a viable, relevant product. As a publicly held company, and print showing healthy yearly declines, Gannett will eliminate the product as soon as it's projected to nat create profits. And unfortunately, nobody knows what impact Gannett digital products may have without print and the free visibility created.

  40. 8:51 Right in the mark on CW in Cicny, shw is a onpass ass who has no dlue what the blue collsr worker deals with day in and d ay out, she sounds out of toch and maybe a tad crazy. Some one box her up and sent her off to a mental ward, were sge can get a grip on reality. Clueless when it comes to the average guy..How the hell could GCI put such a dip shut, crazy, moral? person in that position? Answer YES, it is happening all over the company, most of the sane ones left on their own or were canned because they did not play politics with the golden palace, this company is getting more and more f--ked as we speak. Prediction- they will run it into the ground before the end of 2014 I can continue, but i am sure you had enough of my rant by know, I will lay some more important info on Wed.
    The happy pressman
    PS- Jim did you get my email with the circulation numbers regarding certain weeklies

  41. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  42. Just shy of the buyout, but I will take a layoff. Get a part time gig and be happy again, going to work sucks so bad, and it used to be a good feeling to go in and put out a great paper. I have over a million at my disposal, so I will milk this job until they have to pay me unemployment, and tell my boss and his boss what total yes men they are and have no balls to stand up for what is right. They just flat out lie to your face and it is so obvious I JUST CAN'T WAIT TO CALL THEM OUT ON IT, POOR BASTARDS, hanging on for dear life, no dignity anymore, what is this biz coming too?
    The happy pressman

  43. 8:51, I used to blame the CPC in Louisiana for the typos, etc., in my local newspaper and true, they have admitted they do not have the staff to proof pages. But, I also remember as a reporter always carefully re-reading my stories and doing a spellcheck before ever turning them into an editor. To assume an editor or copy editor will catch any mistake a reporter makes is no longer wise and as we seen in newspapers throughout Gannett, is laughable. C'mon guys, do a spellcheck before you turn in your stories. It won't catch everything, but it will help and maybe we can stop the laughter among the dwindling number of readers.

  44. To the "Happy Pressman" at 10:11: No, I did not receive your e-mail.

  45. Jim, any more early retirement news? lot of people are straining at the bit!!!

  46. 10:26, good point. But it's one few people will follow.

    If they did, then their copy wouldn't look like the post at 10:11.

  47. 6:21 - NOTHING is ever done! It's the greatest con job known to man.

    Meaningless information that half the room has known for years.

  48. Maryam is spending money USAT does not have to tell us stuff everyone already knows.

    Wake up Gracia. This woman has not a clue and therefore spends millions asking consultants tell her how to do her job.

    What a joke. Did we really need to spend all this research money (and fire people to afford it) to provide zero new information?

    Maryam, where is the marketing plan that will drive revenue?

  49. Hi, 6:35. 4:44 here, who's "never worked in Classified." Yes, I know very well what is "supposed" to happen, and you are exactly right in describing it. It's good to see.

    My point was the possibility that the Class person might not have been fully trained in view of the advertiser's evident expectations/conclusions, and that someone should have made the effort first to either confirm or dispell this especially when slap-dash training has long been a Gannett trait.

    Sure, some people fly with it, no biggie; but others, not. For example, I personally dealt with ex-retail staff moved to Class who, at first, related to their customers as if still in Retail. Major headaches ensued, not the least of which was ill will from potential advertisers.

    These folks didn't last long but the fault was not theirs; it was the lack of training compounded especially by the lack of oversight by a few so-called managers who also didn't last long (yes, at the time I cite, most of the other "real" managers were very good).


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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