An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
10:23...When you sign your review it means you agree with it and are aware of your short commings..real or manufactured and will be used as a platform for future actions
The "Beach crowd" in the Courier Post ad department spend all day talking about how to decorate their homes, add fencing, patio decks or planning their vacations. It's amazing that any work gets done at all. Its disheartening to see and hear. In addition, all those tickets to local events that are supposed to go to advertisers? A good portion of them are given to a rep so the rep's parents can attend events. Middle management spends the day writing on the dry wipe boards or coming up with "games" for the reps to play when sales blitzing. During the last dialing for dollars event the AD, the Editor, and two advertising managers were on the selling floor "observing the reps" selling for most of the day. Four top paid people just watching or walking around doing nothing. Couldn't their time be better put to use? Mid managers making close to $100K or more should be actively selling or schmoozing accounts. In this economy, it would serve the Courier and Gannett to actually have these people work at something productive.
These supposed top paid people (minus the editor) should each be assigned significant personal sales goals of their own and be.required to meet the his each month instead of sitting aoround doing their typical nonsense, including the skirt chasing by one of the idiots.
COurier-Post ad people also are famous for only selling when there is a blitz -- aka when there are special prizes awarded for making sales.The whiz in charge of the newspaper can't seem to understand that he has trained these people to underperform for as long as possible so they can reach low goals and take home big prizes whenever something new comes along. Then, when the new thing isn't new anymore, the bonuses for sales disappear and the product fails. It's an endless cycle that even the most lame-brained should have recognized by now.
For all those wanting a buyout today...good luck.To all those being layed off, ,congrats!To those stilled employed by Gannett,too bad.And if you are layed off and didn't want to be,too damn bad you've had 3 years of warnings!
For those tired of doom and gloom at papers. Of course Bob did not speak to revenue challenges ....http://editorandpublisher.com/ASection/Article/Case-Study--Newspaper-Thriving-in-Tallahassee
10:06You could have added this one toohttp://editorandpublisher.com/Awards/Article/PNA-Announces-2012-Print-Quality-Contest-Award-Winners
well nothing so far reported here.I guess the buyout scare is a bust!
told you a while ago that buyouts were coming ! next announcment is March 1st. property mangament not alreay outsoursed at papers will be! good luck.
To 9:25 p.m. yesterday:I can't beleive corporate is going to allow Courier-Post General Manager Gene Williams to go ahead with his "Mint" fiasco. He's been pushing this magic-bullet brain child since the day he arrived from that big city of Muncie, Indiana. Maybe he should take a look at what's failed in the past instead of rehashing bad ideas. But that would take work, I guess.
The courier post did a similar thing a few years ago. It was a spectacular failure then and will fail again. What may have worked in the cornfields of indiana won't fly in metro philly.
Gene Williams has no clue. He is being led around by the AD and the two worthless middle managers when they're not busy planning a party.
I believe they should have completely shuttered the underperforming weeklies and dailies.Let the strong sites survive and thrive!But no,let's just take the whole organization down to those underachieving levels.
!0:06 -- That E&P puff-piece article is a joke. I know one of their pressmen, and he says they are printing thousands of fewer papers daily now than in 2006. The real story is how WCTV.tv, the largest competing TV station's website, has grown. We scoop the paper almost every day, which has shed 2/3rds of its newsroom staff under Gannett.
10:23pm The signature means you have received it.
In view of all the talk about layoffs and buyouts, I would like to say two things as a member of the 700 Club, the 700 Gannett employees laid off last June 21:1) The company did keep all its promises re separation and transition pay, Cobra etc., so you can expect fair treatment there.2) Yes, most of us have other jobs now and may be happier, but it seems tacky of the laid-off folks who get on this blog and jeer at people still working for Gannett. I bet you're still posting ugly comments on your ex-girlfriends' Facebook page, too.
Meanwhile, in news completely unrelated to Gannett, today is my 55th birthday. Whoo-hoo!
Happy Birthday, Jim! Nice to have something to celebrate today as those of us in your age category wait for a call (or e-mail, summons, or letter, etc.).
Happy birthday. Celebrate well.
Happy Birthday Jim....keep up the good work.
Happy Birthday, Jim, and many more - stay happy and well!!!
10:06 - It's interesting that they didn't talk to the publisher for this article. Oh yeah, he knows the truth about the numbers.
Letter has gone out.Offering to "665 U.S. Community Publishing employees who are age 56 with at least 20 years of service, as of March 31, 2012, and who are in certain departments and/or job categories."
To the haters who said Jim was wrong about buyouts: now what do you have to say? Not only was right (again) but he was right as to the terms and timing. Right down to the minute. This is just one example of why this blog is important and why I continue to support Jim financially. To those of who lurk here: if you can afford it send Jim $5 or $10, this blog is our only source of reliable news about our employer.
Jim was correct in his reporting in 2008 about buyouts and he is correct again now. This may be too good to pass up for one 59 year old
Happy Birthday, Jim. We chipped in and bought you some sweet, sweet vindication. Hope you like it!
9:17, 11:16, 11:22 - don't you have anything new to say? You've been posting the same tripe for months.
I bet they are taking this "buyout" approach due to the lawsuit(s) based on age discrimination. I wish those of us laid off over the past couple of years could get some vintication. The trumped up charges and "random" layoffs were just cover-ups to get rid of older workers at higher wages and possibly higher healthcare costs. Gannett- the world is watching you, thanks to Jim.
Happy Birthday, Jim!
Jim, would be easier to pay you via paypal ... Are you on it?
1:23's post is a reference to a comment last week, where Anonymous@7:16 wrote Feb. 2:"Jim, if there are no buyouts next week, will you and the other person admit you were spreading unconfirmed gossip again?"
2:28 Instructions for sending me money via PayPal are near the top of the green sidebar on this blog, to the right. (That is my only PayPal account.)Please look for the "Donate" and "Subscribe" buttons.
Can anyone please give me an idea of the starting salaries for those at the Gannett design centers? For the designer positions and the creative director position? Thanks.
The comment by 2:06 is right on the mark. In dumping 20,000 employees overboard since 2000, Gannett has gotten the number of workers older than 55 to less than 5%, perhaps closer to 3%. It has to resume buyouts to get rid of any more; layoffs would make the age bias starkly apparent to everyone.
Left Gannett recently; am glad I will not be going through this again. Already went through a round of buyouts/layoffs with another chain. Sorry for my former coworkers having to go through this.
Anyone know if USA Today still makes money? The idea of a national newspaper seems antiquated to me. Great idea in its time, but that time has passed. So I was just wondering if the flagship is bringing in enough money to support itself or whether everyone else is paying to prop up the 5-day'er just for national brand name recognition.I also find USA Today to be extremely dull and more shallow than usual in recent years, and the editing and design seem to be on the decline, too. More reason to wonder if the paper is going to be phased out, sold or just driven until the wheels fall off.Regardless, it must be a real downer working there these days. While in theory USA Today still enjoys a certain status in the newspaper business (a rep probably built on the backs of people who are long gone), it can't be much fun for staffers there to try to compete on a national level with two hands and one foot tied behind their backs.As a one-time "loaner" to the paper, I can tell you that I enjoyed my time there. However, from those who I continue to touch base with now and then, USA Today is nothing more than another community property micro-managed by corporate. Under-staffed, poorly managed and way too accomodating to people who don't pull their weight.Maybe USA Today should become a non-profit. Obviously the recent regimes and obsession with the bottom line hasn't done anything other than to degrade the product. Hell, we used to get hand-me-downs from USAT back in the day. I don't even see that happening anymore. So what exactly is the point of Gannett holding on to this paper? Without proper funding, better hiring and retention of competent people, USAT is bound to lose even more appeal in the next 5-10 years. At what point does USA Today, and its lavish environment that doesn't include enough employees to get the job done, become a drag on the rest of the company and make life at the commuity papers even worse than it is?
Guess there's still more dead wood left at Florida Today after all, huh? Buyouts?
11 a.m. ... you said the buyout was a bust. I guess you were in slightly in error. How's the crow taste? Do you eat after it's sauteed with garlic in olive oil?
I got the buyout offer letter today and at my age there will be about a three-year gap before I hit 65 and can apply for Medicare insurance coverage. I'm going to talk to a financial planner, but does anyone have life experience on dealing with seeking health insurance for a two-or three-year gap? It has suddenly become a "Passion Topic" for me.
Does COBRA apply for those accepting the buyout offer? It is not inexpensive but can provide coverage for 18-36 months depending on your category.Also, check into what your state offers for people your age (high risk pools, etc.). Some states offer a "pre-existing condition plan" and others use a similar national plan. The catch with the "pre-exisisting condition" programs is that you must be without health insurance for 6 months before you qualify. Costs are less than with COBRA or a state "high risk pool" but few people in this age range can go without insurance for six months! I was diagnosed with breast cancer six months ago so know first hand how quickly things can change.
5:40 p.m., check into whether the early retirement means that you qualify for Gannett's retiree medical benefits. I worked in Phoenix, and here retirees can buy medical insurance from Gannett for $500-something a month until they turn 65. Dental was a bit more, and vision a little more. It's the same insurance coverage that employees get, but it's more expensive because the company subsidizes employees but not retirees.
I never had a problem signing my review even though it was made up stuff by management trying to cover their own short comings. You are historically slower blah, blah, blah, after they would add more work to do. The only thing signing the review means is that I got one. Of course your manager can twist anything to fit their point of view.
take the retiree medical plan it is less expensive than cobra to get you to 65 .
remember buyouts do not apply to the GPS division. production and circulation
There should be an uproar over only ten buyout offers in Indy. According to the union president, the publisher did not extend the offer in an effort to bust the union.
6:17 How would that bust the union?
It doesn't. It's more about showing how ineffectual the union is
5:05 - 11 a.m. knew there were buyouts coming. They are paid to post doubt because they can't stand the fact that the word gets out on the blog before it makes its way to the employees. It kind of ruins their element of surprise.
This all means stress across the board for absolutely every Gannett employee.There are more eligible for buyouts than will be accepted.Stress in that pool until they know for sure.They will be sitting on strokes edge until March 31.So what if not nearly enough accept the buyouts? Then there will be layoffs,something that everyone is "eligible" for.How many layoffs? These in the buyout pool are the highest paid,for the most part,of all Gannett employees.That means it will require many more employees at lessor pay scales to have the same cost saving effect.So once again layoffs loom on the horizon and everyone will be on the edge of a breakdown while the waiting games goes on, just like in the past.Life continues to be great in Gannettland.GD Gannett!
Federal law dictates the waiting period. Thank the politicians that make stupid laws that oh by the way they don't have to follow. And don't worry most folks will be accepted. This is not a program designed to refuse applicants.
Why were the GPS employee's not offered the buyout?
They are no longer USCP. It is only for USCP
Why aren't there buyouts at Corporate? Will they get layoffs instead?
If GPS is no longer part of USCP, why are they forced to take furloughs? They're only part of USCP when it's convenient?
Plenty of dead weight at USA Today. Editors, bureau reporters, copy desk, incompetents, slackers and hangers on. 50 to 75 could go,if done right, and not be missed whatsoever. Seriously.
"9:17, 11:16, 11:22 - don't you have anything new to say? You've been posting the same tripe for months."Tack on 7:33 to the chain.1:23 tries to tell people what to do. Not going to happen.It's funny to see Jim pasting over one comment about these buyouts. If he copied and pasted over all the rumors that never happened, they would fill more than the entire screen.
Personally, I take what's put on the blog and sort out the garbage from the facts without much difficulty and don't sweat the small stuff. If you're paying attention, you can sort out what's true and what's false. Sorry it bothers you so much, 8:33. Maybe it's time you take a rest and quit your whining.
By not offering any buyouts to union members during negotiations of a new contract management has caused dissension among the ranks. Indy publisher is doing whatever she can to get back at union members for picketing and bringing attention to their lack of negotiating.
Heh you wanted a union. You get nothing if you didn't negotiate it. You didn't negotiate it. Sorry!!
The whole thing about pay walls is a flat out joke. Five years ago we had three investigative reporters and the average beat reporter had 10+ years of experience. Now we have no investigative reporters, are staffed with interns and the top THREE editors spend their time editorializing about their commitment to WATCHDOG journalism.Meanwhile 40 percent of the stories have disappeared off the front page thanks to the redesign (we just keep publishing columns about our commitment to community journalism as if our readership were drooling morons).What am i going to pay to get behins a firewall for? The local weater piped in from the tv station?
I am sure there are a lot of nervous managers at every paper because most don't know how they're going to make it with the skeletal crew they have now.
Happy birthday, Jim. Going to mail a donation in honor of your fine work.
Jim, would you hav taken the buyout back then, knowing what you do now? Would you take this one?
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For those angsting over taking the buyout...I'm one of the 2008 buyouts. My advice - take a deep breath and jump.Sure in this economy it's tough. I'm lucky in that I had health coverage under my spouse's plan (who did NOT work in journalism). It took me a while to find full time employment, but I'm now working in a fun, interesting job where I'm appreciated. I'm not making the salary I clawed my way up to at Gannett, but I'm a hell of a lot saner.It pains me to see what my former paper has become and what journalism is devolving to. Sometimes I wonder if I chose to stay if I could have made a difference ...or if I just would have ended up incredibly frustrated and bitter.There is life after Gannett. If you're getting anywhere near a year's worth of a salary in the buyout, the leap of faith is worth it. Good luck!!
Wow,what a day for Gannett once again.I have been gone for 2 years but remember the last days like yesterday.My best friend at Gannett was released in a terrible way after 25 yers.No fan fair ,no party, just good bye. The good old days of the early 90's are so,so, distant now.It used to be fun coming to work then.Now it must be a nightmare.I do feel sorry for you all.
Gannett Co. Inc., owner of Courier-Journal Media, announced it would offer buyouts to 665 employees across its U.S. Community Publishing division, which includes its newspapers in Cincinnati and Indianapolis.At The Courier-Journal, buyouts are being offered to 42 employees, and a maximum of 20 offers will be accepted, according to an e-mail from Publisher Arnold Garson. The eligible employees work in editorial, the newsroom, building maintenance, finance and computer services.Eligible employees are age 56 or older and have at least 20 years of service. They will receive two weeks pay for each year of service, up to 52 weeks, as well as health benefits for that period.The voluntary buyouts are the first offered by Gannett since 2008.Gannett has coped with two years of declining revenue and gone through a series of layoffs, including the elimination of 50 jobs at The Courier-Journal last June.
I meant early 2000's.
the offer isn't extended to the unions for one simple reason. the pressroom and mailroom is staffed as needed due to page count, color and number of inserts. so only the number of employees need to run the press and inserters work, lower priority union folks don't work if not needed, so why offer buyouts to the union folks, if high priority folks then have to be replaced to do the work so there is no saving. the employees offered today's buyout will not be replaced. it has nothing to do with negoiations. but again the unions are also in GPS so again they no eligible. if they don't get the number of people to accept the offer they will then be given the ax latter this year. Take it and RUN !
I remember sitting in meetings in Phoenix when Karen Crotchfelt would talk about crying when she had to select who would be let go. She'd go on about how she really cared for all the people and couldn't contain the tears. She also couldn't remember names or recognize them in the halls but was good at crying stories. This would be like a second Super Bowl for her in Indy.
Warning ! if you take the package, carefully watch your Pension amount, hopefully you know the value when it was frozen in 2008, and compare that to what they will give you now. they will try to short change as many as they can. make sure you pension and 401k have the checks made out to a rollover IRA and not to YOU, or else it will be taxed on the full amount.
We just received a pension statement 30 days ago so your warning is unnecessary
9:18 asks: "Jim, would you hav taken the buyout back then, knowing what you do now? Would you take this one?"Excellent question. In November 2007, I didn't know -- no one knew -- that the economy was about to tip into the Great Recession. So, had I known that, I probably would not have taken the buyout. (And, if I'd stayed with the company, there would be no Gannett Blog -- this one, anyway.)But the economy is now in much better shape, so this would be a much better time to seek a buyout.
Since those eligible for the buyout will be working three full months of 2012, aren't we entitled to one week of vacation time or pay? If so, if I qualify for the maximum 52 weeks of buyout pay, can I get that vacation week in pay as well for a total buyout of 53 weeks? Or do I have to take five vacation days before March 31. Or do I get screwed out of the five vacation days I accrued?Anyone know the answer?
At separation employees are paid out any accrued vacation time. Sick and personal time is forfeited so use it up!
The usual corporate pattern, which GCI will follow, is nice buyouts followed by a round of not nice layoffs if needed to meet the desired $ target. Revenues have been sliding and digital is growing too slowly to close the gap. Best wishes with paywalls, but it's a gamble. Recession again is a serious possibility, though current signs are mostly positive. Odds do favor layoffs to meet the target. Also, why would they stop now?
Jim - Congratulations on 55. I will hit that number Saturday.
Last summer some poster commented that all the dead wood had been removed at Florida Today with the massive layoff. Does the buyout offer actually mean that there is even more dead wood still left there? Probably.
9:25 - I can assure you that your staying on would not have made a difference. These people have a plan, and that is to get rid of anybody and everybody who has the most knowledge about the industry and the most time with Gannett. It's as if they know what they're doing is wrong and they don't want to be caught by the most knowledgeable. I predict this company will not be the giant it once was within the next five years. It will be a former shell of itself. This take down is methodical and deliberate and it sickens everyone who used to work and still works in this industry. The only people who will benefit are Dickey, Moratore, Crotchfelt, Hollingworth, Hurst, Zildich, and anyone else affiliated with Arizona, along with several of the VPs at Corporate. Be glad you're out and enjoy your new life.
5:19 - Did they send out the Pension figures because they've been doctored and that's the number they want you to remember?
5:19 are you serious? You just received a letter a month ago.
Jim Hopkins said….“But the economy is now in much better shape...”Really? $5 trillion added to Fed Debt, trillions yet to come, 1,100 plus days of zero budgeting by the Senate, coming end of 2% temporary cut to SS payroll tax, new taxes/costs due to ObamaCare – plus impact to employer plans, higher taxation likely to come from local levels on up to fed level, European and Middle East turmOIL, CBO predictions of higher unemployment rate next year, housing still in a mess with new costs and moral hazards resulting from yet another Obama planned bailout of, etc. suggests rough waters still ahead.Gannett continuing to jettison employees with no guarantee that it won’t stop there is further proof.
@11:21 stop watching Fox News. Almost no reason to lay off people now except poor vision and lack of creativity at the top. The stock market opened yesterday higher than its opened in 4 years.Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011In December 2011, real disposable personal income increased 0.3 percent. Manufacturing value added rose 11.2 percent, a sharp return to growth after declining two consecutive years. Durable-goods manufacturing led the growth in 2010 increasing 17.0 percent and reflected a strong turnaround in motor vehicle manufacturingThe services-producing sector grew 3.0 percent in 2010 after declining 3.9 percent in 2009. The turnaround in value added was led by a 3.9 percent increase in wholesale trade, and a 4.9 percent increase inprofessional, scientific, and technical servicesPersonal income rose in 2010 in all but four of the nation’s 366 MSAs. Personal income in the metropolitan portion of the United States rose 2.9 percent in 2010 after falling 1.9 percent in 2009.Existing-home sales continued on an uptrend in December, rising for three consecutive months and remaining above a year ago.
12:14 Calling people names like "buttercup" gets your comment removed.
Thanks for stopping by Jay (Carney), I mean 11:48 AM but the following suggests differently:• CBO projects 2012 growth to increase just 2% and for it to slow to 1.1% in 2013 because of tax increases, etc. all of which assumes a stable planet (i.e. no Iran conflicts)• CBO projects unemployment to rise to 9.2% by the end of 2013 and remain above 7% until 2015.• Your boss announced another trillion-dollar budget deficit with more to come today and taxing the top 1% at 100% won’t but a dent in it or the $15 trillion plus in debt now.• Social Security’s Disability trust fund, increasingly used by America’s long-term unemployed, will be depleted by the end of 2016• Takers have more disposable incomes than payers, which hardly encourages the former group to try harder.Moreover, you do realize that personal incomes should have risen or did you somehow miss the temporary 2% Social Security Payroll Tax cut?What you need to do is get off your keyboard and go talk to the advertisers and business owners who still support this company as the majority don’t share your “optimism”.
Love the continuation of the conspiracy theories, like sending out the pension statements with made up numbers. Except these are governed by law and actuaries making millions actually figure them out. They make a mistake and they loose their licenses. I mean, come on already. Take your damn sick time and be done with it all already.
Hey 4:41, that comment about watching your pension is NOT a conspiracy. I am surprised someone else posted that, as I had a friend who recently received a statement that messed up her pension with her 401K. It took several calls with Gannett to straighten it out. Also, it is true that the company will automatically cash yours out when you leave the company, leaving you with a HUGE tax payment to make to the government.
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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