Friday, January 27, 2012

Mail | This reader seeks Design Studio job advice

Anonymous@6:21 p.m. writes: 

I am a designer at a Gannett newspaper and I am thinking about joining a News Design Studio center after my paper goes to the hub. The problem I am having is there has been no information about how CCI is working so far and what the workflow in CCI is like for designers. It seems as if everyone who is at a design center has been told to not say anything about them. In order for me to make a decision I would like as much information as possible. Can someone who works at a center please let us know how things are working out? Thanks.

Earlier: Gannett Bloggers discuss a recent CCI outage.

Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the rail, upper right.


  1. Everything I've heard about CCI and Newsgate is they both suck in practical application. As someone who has been through the training, I can attest to that. Just read the comments here. Folks are struggling to get pages out with this POS.

  2. We've had CCI's "Hell Gate" for a time now. POS doesn't begin to describe it so far. The only thing that makes sense is its logo: NG. NG, that says it all. We are just hoping it works its way up to POS status eventually. I can't imagine the terrors at the design centers if they are going through even half the horrors of the sites that feed them. We aren't going to a hub system, it's more like a clusterF.

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

  4. If you take a job at a Design Studio, what will you do in a couple years when they stop printing newspapers and shut the studios down?

  5. Yes, I'm surprised some VP hasn't yet suggested moving the design studios overseas - it would save a ton of money and probably get them a juicy promotion.

  6. The CCI NewsGate system is okay to work with. My advice to you, in this economy is: apply for the open position. If an opportunity for employment presents itself, graciously accept it with open arms. The design studio would be a great experience for you. Disregard the negative meanderings from bloggers. The economy is not as favorable as it once was, and jobs are difficult to come by. It is a wonderful sign that Gannett is still hiring, in this economy, and you should take that as a positive. A lot of the discontent that you may encounter with Gannett bloggers, has to do with the industry shift from paper to electronic mediums. A lot of employees, are fixated on aspects of paper/print industry. I have dealt with them myself. People so obstinate that they refuse to train or change the way in which they work.
    Don't let any negative perspectives discourage you and your future. Good luck to you, I hope you get the position at the design studio.

  7. And always remember: CCI is a database, nothing more, nothing less. All of our creative stuff is still done on Macs and imported to the pages.

  8. My advice, should you take a Design Hub job, is to rent, not buy.

    And 11:42, Gannett is not hiring. They're just combining jobs into five sites, and cutting jobs while they're at it. They are only bringing people into the design centers when they find that too many of their current workers are unwilling to pack and and move their lives for a concept that, knowing Gannett and their low-attention spans, will die out two years later anyways.

  9. I work in a design hub, and it's actually a pretty good place to work. The people are friendly and pull together, and work around Newsgate's problems as best they can. But most of us realize the hub is a temporary stop for us -- two years sounds about right before the company starts cutting staff there -- and at any time a bean counter might decide it's not saving enough money -- then it'll be changed or eliminated.

    It's not just Gannett -- other chains are doing hub-type operations; the day of full-service copy and design desks at newspapers is over. But the hubs are just a way station, perhaps until print goes the way of the dinosaurs -- 2 to 5 years sounds about right.

  10. Ride the Gravy Train until the biscuit wheels fall off! Lmao

  11. Can anyone explain what the new design rules are? There used to be a no-jump rule off the front page. Then we were allowed one jump (out of five stories). Then two jumps -- sometimes. Now there are only four stories, and ALL of them jump.

    Also, on inside pages, some not-very-important wire stories seem to go on forever. It's as if the designers are just filling pages the easiest way possible, with no thought for what's germane for the market, or for getting as many stories as possible into the small newshole.

    Have these issues been discussed anywhere?

  12. Decisions on content and style of the what-can-jump nature are still made by the individual newspapers. So far, there is no one-size-fits-all design stylebook.

    What I have seen, as a copy editor working with the Hub, is that there needs to be a lot more training for some people, deadlines don't mean anything, and individual newspaper style has to be fought for tooth and nail.

    I have a few former coworkers who took design studio jobs. They seem to like it, but there's a lot of frustration with NewsGate.

    I personally wouldn't pack up and move for one of these jobs, but if the design studio is at your current location, and you're designer, take it. There's no other design positions available, anywhere, it seems.

  13. I do not work at a Design Studio, so I cannot offer you insight as to how they are run or how the system functions for designers. But as a copy editor, I work closely with page designers at the studio, and most whom I have talked to are unhappy with the system. They do not, however, seem to be as unhappy as we copy editors are. Newsgate is by far the most unreliable computer system I have ever used. In general, it's really bad. But our copy desk is on Macs, and the system is designed for PCs. This has created a load of extra problems for us, which hopefully you wouldn't experience as a PC-based designer. Also, the Design Studio we work with appears to be incredibly inefficient. But I believe this is a management issue; it's probably not as bad at other studios. But I should warn you, I am getting closer and closer to quitting my job as a result of the inefficiency, computer malfunctions and overall poor decisions by Gannett. I need the paycheck, but the increasing outrage and stress I feel, and that I end up taking home with me, makes me question whether the paycheck is worth it. My advice to you is not to continue your career with Gannett if you have a choice.


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."

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.