Thursday, February 23, 2012

Feb. 20-26 | Your News & Comments: Part 5

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53 comments:

  1. Picking up where the last comment left off before I closed the thread, Anonymous@8:26 wrote:

    I will give her this: Gracia is a million times better at pep rallies than CD ever was. I imagine she is also better at running a corporation, too, and I say this as someone who is still deeply skeptical of anything I hear from HQ.

    Jaws dropped when Tom name-dropped Fashion Week. Fortunately, Vikram left us all laughing, and not in the good way, with his crazy/random prop comedy.

    New buzzword: It's in our DNA.

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  2. I appreciated Ms. Matore's enthusiasm and the piece she introduced portraying how Gannettoids have an effect upon their localities. We do matter.

    What I didn't appreciate were the other electronic bits presented. The USAToday white words/blue screen piece was embarrassing - my fifth grader has done better graphics in powerpoint. And how did showing sports photos enhance the presentation? I think we all know what pictures look like.

    Like others have mentioned, I'm thrilled that 'as a stockholder' our dividends are going up. I'd be a hell of a lot more thrilled - and more enthusiastic about digging deep and helping the process - if I knew that there was a chance I'd get a raise... ever. Hell, I'd be happy not skipping a furlough.

    It's not just capital investment we've been lacking, we've neglected the very people that create that local local local local piece that everyone trumpeted.

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  3. Sorry, I'd be happy skipping a furlough.

    Or getting a copy editor, I guess.

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  4. Your old newspaper business model has failed. At least your company is trying something. 21st century goals. The only hindrance are you lot. Gannett could close the doors and die, but they've decided to do something else. Leave if you're unhappy with this proper direction.

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

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  6. 9:35 Calling someone a "dumbass" gets your comment removed.

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  7. Wake up and smell the coffee people!
    Gannett will be all digital in five years. No more print. Keep drinking the Kool Aid. What a bunch of delusional followers. Can I say Jim Jones? Amazing.

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  8. 9:46...it's people like you who are driving newspapers into the ground. There will always be a newspaper in some form.Not everybody has computers, not eveybody wants computers, not everybody wants or needs the i-gadgets nor can they all afford them. Does that mean they shouldn't be afforded the news of the day? The only reason print is sinking is the newspapers themselves. High cost, less relevent content, not to mention the distrust they earned to start this ball rolling. Also the bias in what stories they cover and how they are written. The last 2 points having more to do with the demise than anything. Newspaper companies can fix it, but only if they have the guts to.

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    1. I think you are mired in the past. If our market is people without gadgets" you are talking a very small market that most advertisers don't care about. Advertisers have always wagged this dog.

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  9. "At least your company is trying something. 21st century goals." Where is the investment in the people who can make it happen? You are doing everything to please the shareholders and absolutely nothing for the people who can make your ridiculous dreams a reality. Stupid, really. Start investing in your employees and you may actually get a positive reaction on the blog. But then again, that would take a very intelligent team to figure that out.

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  10. http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/22/gannett-pushes-its-pay-wall-plan-to-investors/?hp

    Gracia C. Martore: “While Gannett isn’t particularly well known as a ‘digital powerhouse,’ I’m here to tell you we generate over $1 billion in digital revenues and have double-digit growth and double-digit margins,” she said.

    If you are over 40 or make more than 40K a year, be ready to kiss your job goodbye in the next couple of years. Cheap labor and freelance with no benefits is turning out to be the new normal in the digital world. Except for the corporate geniuses.

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  11. Anyone see the reader submitted photos on the USAT weather page? That's the future. Feature copy for free.

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  12. I was actually impressed with the presentation today. We are all better off if the what the say works.

    The issue they have is their credibility. No one will believe we are "One Gannett" when the corporate Gannett gets raises and does not have to go on furloughs and most of the rest of the company does. Treating people differently is not creating "one".

    Another issue is they talk about raising the dividend and buying stock at the same time they are administering furloughs. Why don't you take care of your people first? The fact they don't realize how this is perceived is amazing.

    Baseball puns and rah rah will not win over people. Actions speak louder then gestures.

    No one will will feel good about the company until they feel they are being treated fairly and right now that is not happening.

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    1. I'm at corporate and I had a furlough in the first quarter. So you are not alone

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  13. Gracia C. Martore: “While Gannett isn’t particularly well known as a ‘digital powerhouse,’ I’m here to tell you we generate over $1 billion in digital revenues and have double-digit growth and double-digit margins,” she said.


    Did she go on to say why thousands have lost their jobs?

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  14. Another domino about to fall? Wonder who the buyer(s) will be.

    http://www2.timesdispatch.com/business/2012/feb/22/media-general-exploring-potential-sale-newspaper-p-ar-1708975/

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  15. It was "Investors Day" not "Employees Day".

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  16. 10:44 You are so lost. The faith that has been lost in the reliability and fairness of the reporting of news is not specific to any one medium. Content, if it sucks, sucks on all platforms. And I hate to break it to you but everyone under the age of 50 has or wants to have a computer and/or a digital gadget. And nobody under 30 is reading a newspaper any longer.

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  17. People are reading the news generated by "newspapers" even if it's on the their websites. comScore just reported newspaper website readership was up for all age groups...not just the old.

    Better focus on the quality of that news.

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  18. 7:34 That's the legacy thinking that makes it impossible to transform the newsroom into a digital enterprise. The most popular content on the usatoday.com website never sees the light of day in the newspaper, hate to break it to you. That 1A cover story? Maybe gets as many page views as a blog post about Jeremy Lin in Game On, maybe not. I'm not saying we stop producing that quality reporting, I'm just saying that the newspaper is no longer a measure of the "worthiness" of a piece of content.

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  19. I've been offered the buyout, and I'm thinking about accepting it. I know what will happen to me if I accept, but I don't know what will happen if I decline. Does a refusal make me any more likely to be laid off? Or does it actually put me temporarily into a protected class?

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    1. Take the buyout

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  20. I read through some of Martore's remarks to the analysts, and one phrase jumped out at me. In talking about the planned growth of digital, she said that print is in "secular decline."

    That's the first time I can recall seeing that particular phrase used by a Gannett executive -- not saying it hasn't happened before, just that I javen't seen it.

    What does it mean? It means that your CEO has publicly acknowledged what so many analysts and commentators have been saying for a few years: that print is dying.

    If you haven't heard this term before, "secular" in the investment world means something fundamental, vs. a "cyclical" decline.

    In a cyclical decline, like a recession, you would expect business to recover after a downturn. Calling it a secular decline means you think the downturn is not going to turn around.

    I don't want to place too much emphasis on one phrase, but it seems to me that she made the position pretty clear. Print isn't coming back to what it was, and Gannett is moving forward with a greater emphasis on digital.

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  21. 12:16am wanted to know why thousands had lost their jobs.

    That's how they got the double digit margains.

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  22. 7:20 AM - Maybe it would have been better to have an "employees day" first. If this company wants to put out a quality product you should be "investing" in your employees first.

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  23. They cannot announce their plans internally due to disclosure. GCI is publicly traded and the SEC has serious rules about this.

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  24. John reinan, I also was surprised to hear "secular decline" and you are right about the significance. After denying the obvious for so long and saying, that darn economy, that darn economy...they are finally admitting that newspapers are in a forever downward spiral. Paul Saleh also used the term "secular decline" yesterday. As for what it means, I guess we can kiss goodbye any hope that they will invest in the quality of newspapers again. But we should have figured that already.

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  25. Is there a transcript available of yesterday's QandA with the analysts? Somebody please post the link if you have it.

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  26. 9:02 - By "employee day" I meant having a town meeting explaining how they're going to invest in their employees first so that everyone can be on board when it comes to making the investors happy.

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  27. I too, was hoping to see a transcript of the talk with the analysts. I'm sure the dividend hike and repurchase plan goosedme stock. Interesting how management slipped in the fact that quarterly numbers would be below expectatiions.

    I agree with many posters that the performance yesterday was an improvement of what we have seen in the past. But when I drill down into the actual written statements, I have cause for concern. Examples:

    There's a bill to pay for all of this, and it will come not just from cash flow,mbut further employee cuts and cost saving efforts such as furloughs.

    I am highly skeptical that sports group can pull in anything close to $300 million a year. Fashion Week, I mean Tom Beusse, mentioned a number of $250,000 deals. But it would take four a day, 300 days a year, to get to those kind of revenue numbers. Again, these are projections by 2015, so they can be as pie in the sky as they want.

    I heard little about USA today and how it will be monetized going forward. January was a lousy ad month. The verticals, each which were supposed to draw $5 million a year in ads, are not even close to a fraction of that. For all his continued bluster, Hunke has little to show going forward.

    New marketing services to local businesses going forward? Tell is how that is going to be accomplished and the revenue goals reached.

    Bolt on additions? Can gannett managers break out what the more recent add ons are bringing in revenue and profitability?

    Again, I do appreciate the rah rah, but the proof is in the pudding.

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  28. 9:29, there is a certain amount of ass covering going into a new year with a new CEO and lead director. I think it is fine to blueprint big plans. Hope is always better than hunkering down, particularly in a struggling industry. I compare it to steel makers and autos. Both had to get smaller, faster and more nimble. Ultimately, gannett is going to have to go this route, too. Will there be bad hires and misguided plans along the way, clearly. Let's hope some of this stuff works, and what doesn't, is quickly jettisoned. Entrenched thinking isn't good for anyone.

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  29. …nobody under 30 is reading a newspaper any longer.” 7:21 AM

    You know why right.

    Newspapers put up all their content free years ago, a move that alone cost this company millions because it made zero material attempts to monetize it…until now.

    It also has to do with lifestyles as until that lot starts raising families they care little about news this business once owned alone – local content.

    Moreover, considering how America is graying you shouldn’t be so fast in writing off people over 50 (who by the way still notably fund Gannett’s “secularly declining” print segment and will its transition to paywalls) as social networking site usage for the Boomer-age segment grew by 60% in the past year to more than 32%. The under 30 lots usage, while far larger grew just 1%.

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  30. Corporate bigwigs, please avoid misplaced sports metaphors.

    The NFL team with the highest offensive output didn't win the Super Bowl. The Yankees are known for overspending on underperforming players.

    Also, don't point that bat at me unless you're prepared to use it -- on me. That's an incredibly aggressive gesture.

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  31. Gannett's guru's continue to ignore the hard reality that, no matter the delivery system, there must be a cadre of talented professionals to generate the content. By depleting the reporting and editing talent in newspaper newsrooms, they are dooming the company.

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  32. Stock price is now at pre announcement levels. wall streey wants results not promises.

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  33. Buesse is into fashion week. like other managers, its about style, not substance. no one cares about keeping or hiring experienced journalists at this company.

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  34. Yesterday in Phoenix, KPNX newswoman Melissa Blasius and videographer Ed Ayala were ejected from the Arizona House of Representatives on orders of the House speaker. No reason was given other than "because I said so".

    Phoenix New Times has the full story with video for proof.

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  35. 11:21

    It's sad when 40k a year is NOT considered cheap labor. My dad made more than that 25 years ago at my age and we were middle class no frills people.

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  36. Cincinnati announces paywall launch.

    The 15 or so comments attached to it (far lower than what would be expected since moving to Facebook authentication) are overwhelmingly negative.

    Most relate to concerns over weak content, no doubt aided by telling all that its new model is similar to the NY Times (assuming all will be familiar is lame) instead of spelling it out in more detail themselves. Pretty lame attempt to sell it.

    http://news.cincinnati.com/comments/article/20120222/BIZ/302220186/Cincinnati-com-paywall

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  37. When I went to Florida Today dot com this morning, prominent on the home page:

    To our readers: Full-access subscription model under way

    I clicked on it, only to find out that it counted as one of my 15 monthly story allowance. For some reason, I found that funny... and oh, so, typical.

    Fortunately, we have a 24-hour local news cable station.

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  38. You are so correct, 11:36. Reader-contributed weather and pet photos, inexperienced people shoveling stuff online and contractors not having benefits in journalism's new normal in the digital era. Readers can see through the crude and pedestrian content that occurs when professionals in all departments have been jettisoned. The top brass will continue to slash and burn until they can get out in 2-4 years and take millions with them.

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  39. So where are the cheerleaders now regarding the stock price? As of this moment it is down 24 cents from yesterday's closing price. I don't think Wall Street is buying what Gannett is selling, BS!

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  40. I'm right here. It's all good. This is all about profit taking. Talk to you next Friday!

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  41. #Facebook's New Entirely Social Ads will recreate Marketing

    Fast Company http://t.co/W5tMuL85 #in

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  42. Some harsh news from a non-Gannett newspaper, which recently won several Pulitzers.

    http://www.jsonline.com/business/journal-communications-reports-44-drop-in-fourthquarter-earnings-im4acd2-140136253.html

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  43. 12:12 PM,
    You may have a point about the item concerning "pet photos." The pet photos are a bit low-brow. I hope that when they redesign websites for subscriber-memberships, that they remove the juvenile pet photos. Our journalism products should always maintain the highest integrity, for educated readership. We don't want to fall into the "cat breading" demographics.

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  44. 12:13,
    That type of fluctuation in a stock-value is normal. I guess you don't any stocks, yourself?

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  45. ...our journalism should maintain the highest integrity for educated readers , not for the cat BREADING demographic.". What is "cat breading" oh journalist of great integrity?

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    1. I use buttermilk, eggs, & bread crumbs with cajun seasoning.

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  46. 12:24,
    Facebook's only source of potential revenue is from user profile information. They have had to tailor a scenario in which the profile information can be used for ad/marketing purposes, to obtain revenue (vs. floating on investment dollars). A lot of people question the ethics and the longevity of Facebook's approach. Facebook's newest endevor is built upon "like-selections," of profile users. When a person with a Facebook profile selects their "likes," contectual advertising, related to their likes, will be shown to them. It's not that different from contectual ads from search engines, except with Facebook, you have to make a concerted effort to seek out and select your likes.

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  47. Cat breading is an absurd pet-photo obsession, in which: Pet owners hollow out a piece of bread and place a cat's head into the bread. Then, take a picture of the cat wearing a piece of bread around it's head. (It appeals to the Jerry Springer demographic.)

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  48. 12:13: I do own stock, and plenty of it. My point being, yesterday stock went up approximately .70 after the investors meeting and the way the cheerleaders were carrying on you would have thought the stock value would be at $90 today. Since I can't sell most of my stock until it hits around the $70 mark, please sound the horn when we're getting close to that number. Thanks.

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