An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
Was wondering how many huge screw-ups there have been with the new design studios working with copy desks miles -- and states -- away? Wrong headlines, pages or stories being repeated. etc...
3:18. You'll need data on how many screw-ups there were before the design studios, too.In other news... Buyouts = loss of institutional knowledge which will affect overall quality. This is not something we'll see in months. We will turn around to see lower quality in news decisions. Historical references will be on hiatus. Community connections that build loyalty and offer terrific news tips erode. Department relationships will need to be rebuilt.
Jim: Could you move the buyouts spreadsheet and comments back towards the top? This will be an on-going issue for a frew weeks yet anyway.Thanks-
Looks like it is mission accomplished for the Appleton hatchets. Three long-time employees taking the buy-outs - one the day before he was going to give notice of his retirement - make it a dozen journalists with just short of 300 years total experience fired, quit or retired in a couple years. But three newbies have been hired, at $8 to $14 an hour less. Maybe it is time to cut some managers now, with two eds in a photo department that has 2.5 shooters, two eds in a features department with three writers and two on-line eds who do little while two guys do nearly all the postings. And then there are three struggling weeklies. Put the P-C on life support.
Harder to find the buyout spreadsheet today, hope you can keep it closer to this week's comments.The number of offers given is now up to 522 (out of the 665). The question of how many are from news is still a good one. I wonder if News at all sites will be hit as hard as Phoenix (44 of the 64 offers to be accepted will be from News/Information Center).
I count 11 lost at Appleton with just less than 300 years experience, but they are all losses for the paper and community. A lot of experience, sources and institutional knowledge, from older experienced journalists and a couple young up-and-comers. But the managers and Gannett don't care about any of that. Who woulda thought the best years were with Thomson?
The losses the clarion-ledger is about to take are staggering. The newsroom will be gutted. And gannett/hurst don't care. She carved up the lafayette paper, now she's doing the same in Jackson.
I was laid off in June 2011 from the Clarion-Ledger, and I can't fathom how they'll be able to put out a paper if who I assume is eligible for buyouts takes them, i.e. mostly managers and editors.It would leave a handful of reporters with no leadership, especially since they STILL haven't found an executive editor.
3:18 AM, I assure you that the design center contains qualified people who possess the skills, education, and background that is necessary to complete the tasks. I am familiar with the type of work that the design center is responsible for. I think that having centralized locations, in a digital world, is modern-day approach that is long over due. The production department, from my portion of the company, was over-staffed for about 10 years. They have been phased out, and only 8 people remain in the department. And, honestly, they could have operated with 8 people for the last 10 years.
As a Phoenix resident and a frequent buyer of the Az Republic (although more out of habbit), how does a newspaper continue after losing 40+ people from the News dept? Another way of looking at it is if these people aren't valuable, why haven't they been eliminated over timer versus all in one action?I've got to be honest, this isn't such a great product anymore, what does this mean to me as a reader?
3:25 - I don't mean to be rude, but Gannett does not care about its readers, only its advertisers.
I'd like to hear how it is going at Florida Today? And not from the guy who refers to Bob as Mr. Campbell. And to all my ex coworkers lots of love, Miss you!!!
too 3;18WHAT SITE DO YOU WORK AT?gps pressman
3:25 is sadly correct. And those advertisers are starting to smell the BS product they are paying for and are running away.
No offense, but although 3:25's efficiency values seems he/she wouldn't mind wearing an armband, he/she makes a good point.To wit, it always slayed me that with great disruption my site would reorganize everyone PHYSICALLY (not to mention without regard to noise levels), and yet we were of course all on T1 connections to the Internet and the intranet alike.It was the first time I realized some of these "leaders" didn't understand the technology, didn't know what they were doing, and just liked making "decisions" to justify their ego. Talk about a toxic business model.
4:53, I know that in 2004, most of the Gannett/USA TODAY properties were already on T3.
The "print" end of the news-media business is an increasingly expensive product. The costs of paper & transportation keep rising. I think that new media devices, should be regarded as the industry salvation and not it's nemesis. However, it does concern me when cuts are made diplomatically, throughout all parts of the organization. Because, as it's been said before, our content is our product and is of the highest value. If I was a big-cheese, I would try to preserve as much of our journalists as possible. Is there a way that they can consider taking on retirees, as freelancers. Does anyone know of a precedent where newly retired employees are offered freelance writing assignments? I honestly want the best for the product and the employees. I will tell you from experience, as I'm starting my own business, the economy is very bad. And, I hope that there can be some creative solutions/compromises to help companies & their employees battle the storm. ... So, could the company offer freelance assignments to retired journalists?
3:18 - since the sites have final approval before releasing a page to the press, any major screw ups are the individual paper's fault, not the design studio's. When my site first moved to CCI and then again when we fully transitioned all pages to the studio, we had our fair share of mistakes slip through. Mostly due to the copy desk being unfamiliar with the editing software.Our site's biggest problem with the studio continues to be making deadlines, and that's a problem with obviously overworked people who simply have too much on their plate for the night, who don't ask for help early enough (or maybe there's no one who can pitch in). The studio seems to be as short handed as the rest of Gannett.
5:40. Try freelancing yourself and you will find out how freelancing got its name.
does anyone know if the early retirement package being offered had ERISA approva? or any documentation of when then Package was approved at corporate. had to be approved before being announced buy looking for the date approved. thanks.
Really, 6:22? Freelancing was my bread and butter after my Gannett layoff and I made far, far more money than I did at the CP. (Yes, well over $100K for that year.) Rates ranged from a buck a word upwards to $2.50. I needed to support a house in greater D.C., family, etc. and all of that was more than fine for the nearly one year that I solely depended upon freelance. Yes, it's true I already had clients before my departure and that helped. If you're leaving or think you may be pushed out the door, best for you to start cultivating those contacts now.And if you didn't make money at it, 6:22, assuming you're good at what you do, I can only assume that you narrowed the range of what work you'd be willing to do. If you stuck to journalism in its purest sense (newspapers, glossy mags and consumer pubs), then, no, you probably wouldn't make much. If you broadened the pool however (custom pubs, B2B, B2G, corporate clients and even PR) and were good about self-marketing and were highly efficient with your time, you can make money and lots of it.As for Gannett hiring retired/laid off reporters for freelance? Novel idea. My former property would have LOVED to have had me freelance for them. I would have been happy to. But hand it to Gannett to squash such an opportunity and possibly demonstrate some decency to a valued employee being laid off at the same time: The legal department absolutely, positively prohibited it. So that was that. As it turned out, I would have been too busy with better paying clients to do much work with my old property. But there were tons of other folks laid off with me who could have used the work.
Bring in Bobby Dick-ey. He can call the shots on this ginormous endeavor. Then he can hit the golf courses and suck up drinks with the company credit card! YES.
Elsewhere in the neighborhood: Philly Media turns to buyouts, seeks 37 heads. Layoff axe leans in the corner.
Re: Philly Media --http://bit.ly/wkIBMCSorry for omitting on first post.
3:54 "I don't mean to be rude, but Gannett does not care about its readers, only its advertisers."Hardly. With plummeting circulation numbers, dropping like a rock as a result of $3.00 Sunday single copy and the greedy subscription rate increases and resulting cancellations, Gannett doesn't care about advertisers either. Cut the crap out of the content, cut the crap out of distribution...and you're cutting the crap out of real revenue...preprint revenue specifically. And without distribution GROWTH, advertisers will start leaving in droves. They won't tollerate the higher ad rates and dropping distribution. There are other alternatives for advertisers...and online ads do have some merit, advertisers won't put all their eggs in that basket as they don't get the same results as print. Not even close!This company doesn't care about readers or it's advertisers. Charge more...get less. The only thing "within reach" anymore is the bottom....a freakin' free-fall to the bottom.
Those who take the offer can do no work -- freelance or otherwise -- with Gannett until 1 year after they receive that last paycheck
At my site (Springfield) some laid-off reporters and editors now are doing freelance for their former paper. Are there legal issues with this practice, as 6:59 seems to indicate?
This is not the end. Furloughs for all staff are in the budget for 2nd Qtr. and sites who don't get enough employees to take the offer will begin layoffs or additional cost cutting measures. Outsourcing printing is a high priority for GPS. They have been given a $$ amount to find and they will indeed find it. After that, expect GPS to be sold off as a separate entity.
855 I think it's 18 months after last paycheck is received. So if you get 52 weeks of pay you have to wair 9 more months.
So, perhaps Gannett can establish an internal list-resource of "Gannett Family Freelancers," which would contain journalists that have been retired for at least one year... I hope Gannett can extend this offer, to it's retirees.
Maybe Gannett can also create an external website for all retired journalists to network on potential freelance projects. For instance, if Gannett wants to delve into different types of digital-publications, niche subject matter, etc. Perhaps they can network with retiree freelancers, with whom they are familiar.
There are some rehire rules I'd like to know about in a buyout. If I take it, can I be rehired if additional people leave after I fall on the sword? I realize my severance may have to run out. Next, if I don't take it and we end up laying off people. Am I in a protected category that means they'll have to layoff another person in an equal role to me before I become a target (assume here a a few community reporters like me).
The benefit of the "digital world" is escaping the high-cost of the alternative print-product (which was offset with ad-revenue). With that said, Gannett could harness the journalism-talent and create a multitude of digital products for special-interest audiences. To facilitate the effort, the business model could acquire revenue solely on the download-price of purchase. A much needed approach, as digital-media devices are gaining in popularity.
9:30 - read the paperwork very carefully. I know of one reporter who took the buyout a few years back and went to work for a competitor. When Big G bought the competitor a couple of years later, he was laid off immediately as he could never work (on the payroll) for the company again. I say on the payroll because I'm not sure about the freelance issue.
In addition to text-to-consumer products, Gannett may consider creating products in which journalists do research that is sculpted into a (documentary) "TV-script format." TV-scripts could be sold by Gannett to TV-networks. This would be merely a “new content format” to be sold to third party broadcast networks. For example history-channel documentaries, discovery, 20/20 documentaries,etc. And, of course we would also have to include rights for distribution on both TV and internet.
I am sure that USA TODAY is going to release a special tribute product in memorial of Whitney Houston. I wonder if they are going to also create a digital-version/product for download, that reviews and celebrates Houston's life.
3:58...2 Sundays ago single copy came in with 37-40 percent returns. This past week that number went to 47-50 percent. That tell you anything? Not only are people pissed now the stores are getting that way with Florida Today's seemingly "arrogantly stupid" (someone else's assessment) way of handling draws. If FT keeps getting the county mad, not only will they stop buying the newspaper, they will stop going to the website. How will all the "digital only" geeks feel then?
No offense to Jim, who I think does a good job here, but these comment threads are one of the stupidest places on the entire Web.For journalists to be so full of hatred and insults and fear and gloom is really a sad spectacle.How can people live like this? Lighten up.
10:57 - you can get used to anything.
No worries 10:54. Corp has decided its time to roll out the 50% off specials on the new HD rates at FT. btw in case you haven't figured it out, corp doesn't really care how many s/c Sunday papers are sold in Brevard. The idea is to push Sun s/c to home delivery. Why else would rates for Wed / Sun delivery equal same amout people pay for 4 weeks of a Sunday paper at the rack? It's all about the advertiser $$ -- increase the Sun h/d to get more inserts
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