An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock and three longtime board members are stepping down, submitting to the demands of many frustrated shareholders who blame them for contributing to the follies that have dragged down the Internet company's revenue and stock price.The shake-up announced Tuesday continues a drastic makeover of Yahoo's leadership during the past month.-- The Huffington Post
We shouldn't be tough on Indy and Crotchfelt for rolling out the red carpet for Gannett brass or customers. They probably generated over $1,000,000 in incremental revenue due to the Super Bowl. I think someone may just be a little jealous they didn't get an invite.
And we all know the upper brass DEMAND to be treated like Royaltiy. She really didn't have a choice.
Gannett's board should resign, too, for the shameful oversight of an inept management team whose main priority seems to be feathering itsnown nest and clueless stewardship of a once decent company.
12:29 said:"The fact that they are rolling out paywalls proves that digital revenue is an accounting trick. If it were truely 21% they would not be able to risk the loss of the page views. It is an add-on to the print buys, and is an arbitrary allocation. If the print goes away the most of the digital will go with it."I understand your logic, but it's based on a serious lack of information. Two things you don't appear to know:1. A high percentage of online revenue (varies from site to site) comes from the three major verticals, auto, RE and employment. These were originally offered as add-ons to print, but in 2012, the digital components are clearly more valuable than their print counterparts. It's a struggle to charge for their actual value, as they were sold as add-ons for so long. And they will be outside the paywalls.2. It's an open secret that most sites barely sell half of their online display advertising, and the rest is full of national remnants. That means that sites could lose 50 percent of pageviews, easily, with little impact to the bottom line. (In fact, if you lose 50 percent of page views, but the 50 percent you still have are paying to be there, you're probably ahead.)
Thanks 8:22 for the finance perspective, but the real question is not in measuring percentages... its in measuring dollars. If you truly want to share information, then share the actual dollar revenue from digital sales, rather than calculating it based on internal "value." When bottom line is discussed, its essential to know the actual dollars associated with it, otherwise the conversation in an endless loop of speculation, calculation and hyperbole. We can't fix what we don't know.
7:54 must not only be drinking the kool aid,but also serving it to others and really enjoying it.
So is tommorrow the L Day?Layoff day for those alphabet challenged.They always happen at the end of the week following the week that the financial reports are released.
8:22:Good point about the national remnant ads filling most of the ad positions on Gannett sites (absolutely true across most of New Jersey).However: Do you think the local advertisers will be will to pay the same rate for ads when page views are half of what they were? You can try to twist the numbers any way you want to make local advertisers think they're buying the same product, but they will not pay what they were paying, so revenue will go down.
Folks: Almost all ad rates for online display are based on impressions. If you're a local advertiser paying for 100,000 impressions before a paywall, and you're doing the same after, both your rate and level of exposure remain unchanged.
FAQ for Gannett iPhone rollout.http://jimromenesko.com/2012/02/07/gannett-iphone-faq-what-am-i-expected-to-do-with-this-new-device/#more-8085
After reading that FAQ, I'm sooo glad I stuck with my plain, older-model cell phone instead of getting a smart phone. At least I won't be hit with the full data-plan cost like some coworkers who were getting the stipend. (And some, who got smart phones, and then were told they didn't qualify for the stipend.)
Buyout notifications are now expected to be made tomorrow, according to one of my readers.
Jim, I appreciate this site because it give us a chance to humanize the cold prospect of corporate the passing of the news industry. It's become more of a stealth pattern. The always boastful Seattle Times canned people in December and said nothing. The WaPo is offering buyouts, something forced into public view by what's left of the union here. The Post's tactic is to tell employees if they don't take the buyout, they will be subject to being placed on probation. What jerks.Thank you for giving us a form where Gannet's lack of decency and poor decisions that speed the death spiral are chronicled.
Those who should be bought out or laid off won't be touched. Those who shouldn't, and do most of the work around here, always have targets on their backs. Just the way this company works, even at the flagship, which is beginning to take on water rapidly from years of carrying morons -- friendly morons -- but nonetheless morons. If you're not part of the in-crowd, you're vulnerable. Good luck to all Gannetoids, particularly the ones who don't deserve to be treated the way they are by lying, kiss-asses that poison this entire company.
Just saw on Romenesko that Patch is going the same cowardly route to get rid of people by putting them on performance improvement plans. That way you wreck people without having to pay severance or any buyout. Sure, a few people may not be good apples, but this is a long used tactic by Gannett to save money. Destroy reputations and lives, who cares.
Is it possible the folks on PIPs are doing a poor job or are all journalists wonderful and shouldn't be held accountable?
9:11 speaks the truth. recycled editors (who have friends in high places) protected reporters (seldom in paper or counted on only for soft stories) are rampant at Usa Today.
12:33 - Ah, yes. The Performance Improvement Plan.I got one of those last year after more than a decade of 3.5 or 4 out of 5 (except for the most recent review, surprisingly).The best part: Several aspects of the plan were either already done or went against what corporate said we could or should do. When I pointed out that the plan was unachievable because of these latter points, the "leadership" at the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill ("General Manager" Gene Williams and acting Managing Editor Leon Tucker) said the plan was not going to change.I refused to sign the plan because parts were unachievable and other parts could not be considered failures since they already were achieved.Leon Tucker virtually blew up at me for daring to say no to his command. (This was similar to the way Gene Williams insisted I sign my most recent performance review despite the fact that there were elements that I documented to him as incorrect. Gene Williams said performance reviews ARE NOT CHANGED, but I was free to write whatever I wanted as a rebuttal. A few months later, I learned another manager's performance review was changed after she threatened to quit over it.)About the time the PIP ended, I found myself a new job. Clearly I'm still bitter about this whole thing (and I'm sure some jackass here will tell me to get over it).The thing is, I loved my job. I had a good thing going for a while, I thought. Then a pair of marginal yes-men were able to destroy it.Yeah, I'm bitter that people like that are running my career and the entire profession of journalism into the ground.(And, yeah, I'm going with Anonymous. Too bad if it bugs you.)
I'm another former courier post alumni. These buttholes screwed with me over my last year or so and played the pip game. I played their stupid game (they thought) while I was plannig and finally exiting this shit hole. I've been out of there for more than a year and so glad to be out. It's just a matter of how much longer these empty suits will keep their jobs as the ship sinks.
Hmm you two sourpusses sound like a joy to work with.
1:01 - what a familiar story. Same story here, and it's absolutely disgusting. I've never seen a company run the way Gannett is. NEVER!
And yet you are still here. Please leave.
Hey Jack...How is that YAHOO partnership working out for you? Didn't Saridakis rip you one before he left saying that it would be a disaster? We all remember that in the Digital Department. Well look at it now. A TRUE DISASTER,GRACIA...YOU GOING TO FIRE HIM ANYTIME SOON, OR DOES HE KNOW SOMETHING YOU DON'T WANT HIM TO SHARE WITH OTHERS. THIS GUY HAS HAD MORE LOSSES THAN THE PATRIOTS AND BUFFALO BILLS HAD AT THE SUPERBOWL, COMBINED!!!!
1:01 you've got a right to be bitter. I believe we all loved our jobs at the CP at one time. Unfortunately, the economy tanked and no one in charge had a clue on how to proceed. Big layoffs, outsourcing, bad ideas, etc. The real focus should have been (and still could be) the core product, the money-maker. So now the plan is to use intimidation, PIP plans, and official letters detailing our faults, in hopes of turning thing around. Unfortunately, it's having the opposite effect. It's a sad state of affairs.
A friend of mine overheard a top editor joking that one of takeaways from recent meeting at corporate was to embrace the blur. How sad. These editors have no guts. A few used to. Now it's anything for a paycheck. Including cutting the throats of your employees.
After 8mo of being cut loose from Gannett. I just got good news in the mail today from Gannett Benefits Dept. That I am eligible to receive a special employer contribution to my 401K. Seem that they did not know I have take out my entire 401 back in Nov-MMMMMM-They do not have a clue
2:22 - My job was eliminated a year ago. The same post card was sent to me and I rolled over my 401K to an IRA February of last year.
One of the things I'm proudest of in my journalism career is saving the job of one of my reporters who was put on a PIP. She was a regional reporter of long standing, anchored in her community and impeccably well sourced. But she had an eccentric personality and a habit of filing 20 inch stories when you asked her for 12. The ME put her on a PIP and the clear message to me was to document the tiniest mistakes and get rid of her after 90 days. Instead, I actually worked hard with her and reported back 90 days later that she had successfully met all the objectives. I think the ME hadn't had such a shock in a long time. I still remember him gaping at me when I finished my report. The following year that reporter won a big award from a regional press association.
Jimmy:Some nice reporting here lately during a very critical time for a lot of us.
Not to sound stupid, but what is the difference between a Gannett buyout and a Gannett layoff? Is a buyout another word for "old people must go" ?
Wow, 1:01, I had very few negative statements in my reviews; however, what few there were seemed to have been mandatory.In fact, one review I know of was returned to my manager for a rewrite because his superior who did not work with me at all said he was "too happy" with my performance.That manager confided this to me, disgusted, as he was already looking for another job. He said his impression was that they either need negative statements to justify not awarding merit increases (not once in my long career, by the way... just 2% [i.e., below Cost of Living]), or as ammunition to build a case to get the long-timers out the door.Another case illustrates this: I, too, had disproven statements in one particular year's review where a supervisor had a made an assumption which was documented to have been totally incorrect.Yet there it was in my review at the end of that year. I balked at signing. The then-manager said he knew all about the supervisor's error but he didn't want to rewrite the document, "cause waves." Besides he had a "Holiday" party ti to. It was a Friday in December.I was told that my signing did not mean that I did accepted the statement that had since been understood as a mistaken, utterly unresearched assumption by my supervisor; it only meant that I had read the document.This was a lie, albeit probably not intentional given the surprising lack of experience extant in the management structure (i.e. schooze fest).The very next year's review referred to the previous year's (again) since disproven negative statement -- as my having ACKNOWLEDGED it to be valid, ironically citing what "significant improvement" I had made over an error particularly uncharacteristic of my well-known nature (at least to known to actual coworkers) which I never committed.At that point, I lost what little respect I had left for the joint; just kept my head down and did my job, waiting for the layoff.
Listen, let's straighten something out. "not signing" your review means nothing. Signing your review means you saw it nothing more. I laugh every time someone says they refused to sign their review. It means you don't have a clue.
4:14 addendum: My first addendum disappared, so I'll repost:To wit, please don't slam me for my typo's in this insance. With my "unintended vacation," one of the perks is I just got in frm a five-mile aerobic walk in a very cold overcast, and my fingers are still numb. Thanks.
We had layoffs at my outpost two weeks ago. I guess we're ahead of the curve for a change!
4:39 Where? Without risking any reprocussions.Are there others that just haven't made it known here?Start the list Jim?
4:47 In recent weeks, there have been layoffs at sites including the Montgomery, Ala., paper; Clipper Magazines, and (yesterday) Gannett Government Media.
12:29 wrote:"2. It's an open secret that most sites barely sell half of their online display advertising, and the rest is full of national remnants. That means that sites could lose 50 percent of page views, easily, with little impact to the bottom line. (In fact, if you lose 50 percent of page views, but the 50 percent you still have are paying to be there, you're probably ahead.)"For the record, one of the original paywall papers went from 13-14M page views/month (pre-paywall) down to 4.5M last month. That's down 67%. And you know what's even worse? They had 5.5M PVs in Jan. 2011 behind the paywall, so they've DROPPED 8% during the prior 12 months of paywall "experimentation." If GM's happy with that, Gannett is doomed.Of course, shedding dozens of content creators didn't help either.
Hey 1:01 - I too loved my job and worked hard at it, putting in dozens of unpaid hours each week to help make the product better. I gave up vacation time too. But the most evil human being I've ever met in my life decided he wanted to get rid of this 50-something, dreamed up some rule that wasn't in the employee handbook and said I broke it, and used that as an excuse to kick me out. Even after I'd received another excellent evaluation just a couple months prior.So yes, I feel your pain. And your anger. And I will never forget.
I WAS a reviewing manager and oncegave the highest grade to an ad rep who had made goal each month and was a key to new ideas for revenue.I was told by my VP to never,ever give that rank to any employee no matter how deserving.The reason,they might then be expecting a larger raise than others,and then,how could I then grade the next year without lowering.Just keep them middle of the pack no matter how deserving.Another bullshit way to never let an employee feel good about their work ethic and accomplishments.
To the first 12:11pm poster, there are several people in Corporate Gannett, McLean, who damn well know they shouldn't be there (they're actually sitting around not doing much while collecting big paychecks and fat benefits) who have repeatedly turned down previous offers/buyouts. They have high ranking managers protecting them.
The majority of "the suits" at gannett and their papers do little and are useless (and that is being generous).
When I worked at TJN the then-ME used PIPs as weapons to target people she wanted to get rid of - including her former best friend - who was being scapegoated for the failure of an idiotic initiative the ME dreamed up.
I am long-gone from Gannett, but still have some friends working at my former paper. One mid-level editor called me a few months ago asking advice.He said he had been told by the managing editor to revise a 54-year-old copy editor's work schedule and adjust (upward) his workload so that the guy would be unable to successfully complete his tasks or, better yet, would quit. My friend balked and was told that his job was on the line.He asked my opinion of what to do. I knew what was the right thing to do, but I also knew firsthand that this is an extremely tough job market and that my friend needed to keep working. So I gave a wishy-washy, but-on-the-other-hand... response.In the end he decided he couldn't follow the ME's order, and he resigned. He is struggling somewhat now, having landed a part-time teaching job and some freelance gigs. But he told me recently: "I am comfortable with who I see in the mirror every morning."Gannett has no heart, and it sold its soul years ago. I was fortunate to be recruited for a position outside the company before things really went to hell. I feel so sorry for others not so fortunate and still on that sinking, stinking ship......
What a crock!
Jim, re: your tip about buyouts coming Thursday: I suppose it's occurred to you that corporate will read that and delay the buyouts a few days or a week in order to make your source wrong. They then will unleash the trolls.
6:41 These events have too many moving parts to disrupt for such a petty reason. And this one's been in the works for months.
Groupon's earnings were in the toilet last quarter. Looks like this trend is over. Wonder what that means for Da Chicken?
PIPs don't always spell the end. At least one current USAT veep was on a PIP when he was promoted to the inner circle. In hindsight, not really a surprise when you look at the rest of Hunke's decisions, but it was a shocker when it happened.
7:23 PM, I think we can safely predict that Gracia will start choking the Chicken in the near future.
KUSA, Denver anchor was bit by a dog on live TV today. The broadcast which is aired on KUSA's co-owned station, believe it is KDVR, has been removed from the video player.However a Youtube search of "dog bites TV anchor" shows plenty of copies. I wonder if the company will contest workmen's comp.
In Cherry Hill they are rolling out a new print product, a full color magazine called "Mint". Mailed to 5,000-6,000 high end homes. And they hired a new rep to sell just this one product. They threaten the existing reps with the elimination of their jobs and say there is a wage freeze and no raises (except for the favorite few) and here's a new hire to sell just one print product. All this talk about Digital and here's an investment in a print product with limited audience and distribution. Brilliant!
The ad sales dept in cherry hill continues to be a major joke at the courier post. There is this "group" that has been kept around and protected for years. Quite a few of our sales people have been there for a ling time. Several of these "select and chosen" few don't bring in enough to cover their costs and show a profit for the compny. Why dies this go on? Why are there completely incompetent and lazy people in midddle management posutions? the place is like bar club of giddy California beach teens. A disgusting disgrace.
For those that have gone before us ...how will I receive my buyout notification? Will I get a blanket email or does one get an envelope? Or are you called behind closed doors ? What is the timeframe given in which to accept or decline ?
If I'm offered a buyout tomorrow, I'll be gone before the ink dries on my signature. And I won't be even a little upset.Give us two weeks for every year worked. I gave GCI the first half of my professional life. Now give me a chance to walk away from this disaster with my bank account and dignity in tact.Thanks!Love,me
Big talk. You're not going anywhere.
I would strongly suggest that if you are offered and are considering a buyout offer tomorrow, that you see an independent, fee-based financial consultant before making a decision. The offers likely will expire a week before the end of period 3 - make sure whoever you have to notify isn't on furlough!Best of luck to our friends, but do what is best for you and your family.
9:26, what I will say (and remember so vividly) is that my last day working there was one of the happiest days of my life, and it felt like I was released from prison.
Your coworkers celebrated as well!
Most of you candy asses ready to take the, buyout ( do we really know there is one?) should he'd the suggestion to talk to a financial adviser. As miserable as Gannett makes most of us, my advice is stay put until you have another job. Even a year on buyout money eventually taps out. Then what? Unless you have a partner who is employed and has health insurance, or you are witin a couple years of early retirement, you cannot afford an early out.Make the best of where you are until you have a fiscally responsible exit strategy. Meantime, Try not to let the deepening bullshit get to you.
I once refused to sign my review and didn't get a raise until I signed a revised review six months later. Don't know if this is still Gannett policy or my manager at the time was a vindictive pinhead.
6:36 Thank you for sharing that story and Godspeed to your friend, who is a pro and has a conscience. Hope s/he lands something good soon.
6:36, your friend was out of his league. The strategy of raising someone's workload to expose their weaknesses can be effective. Often the person has been allowed to coast, and that change would have made him pull his weight.Stories like that show how this site skews to the older, out-of-touch, obsolete workers. Too many people here wanted to coast to retirement -- that doesn't happen at too many places these days. Adapt. Move on. Stop whining. Either quit or be part of improvement.
11:15 "coasting to retirement" No one is coasting at my site, old or young. working harder than we ever did and watching quality suffer more and more - and for vetera workers that is what hurts more than anything. and we get paid less because of furloughs - so the corporate geniuses who led us on the path to ruin can keep their bonuses. How do they sleep at night. Maybe if they bothered to ask newsroom veterans in the past 10 years they may have gotten some good advice. And we could have learned the new technology, because we learned all the other ones through the years. what we did not have to learn was journalism. and it is a lot more than information.
Anon@921PM: KDVR is not owned by Gannett and never has been.
11:15 -- If, unlike my friend, you are in the "league" where managers dutifully run off talented workers in order to make room for younger employees who will sign on for less money, then I pity you.
Gannett Blog is worth every dollar I send to Jim if only for the fact that it has confirmed for me that the annual review is a sham process. I took it seriously until I figured out it was rigged and now I know for sure that it was a charade.
"Mr. Anonymous is the rock upon which the newsroom resides."-My favorite line from my most favorite editor on one of my performance reviews.Nahhh-nahhhh-nahhhh-nahhhhh-naahhhhhh!
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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