Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March 19-25 | Your News & Comments: Part 3

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78 comments:

  1. It has now been 111 days since USA Today had a permanent top editor.

    Executive Editor Susan Weiss, who may well be a candidate for the job, has held the position on an interim basis since John Hillkirk stepped down at the end of November.

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  2. No offense to you 10:24, but how in the heck Shreveport still has an HR rep is beyond any of our comprehension. For years she has referred us to a website or a phone number and has never answered a single question. She is never in the office and it is obvious that claims she is a jewel in the corporate crown must be true because she does nothing to advocate for the employees. How sad that gone are the days if you had a problem or issue in the workplace, you had an advocate. Now you sink or swim alone.

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  3. Shreveport also has a publisher and ad director who dropped a re-org bomb on us and left the next day for a week long furlough so they aren't around to answer questions either. I don't think I'm going to stick around to ask any because I care about as much as they do.

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  4. I am not sticking around either. I don't respond well to gag orders. They can gladly have it. I have worked for companies, both public and private, with excellent management teams and this is by far the worst ran company I have ever worked for or with in my entire career.

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  5. And to add insult to injury, Shreveport's publisher tried to force the sales reps to prove they knew how to use a newer laptop by submitting a formal presentation with how they would do so and the best six would receive one, while the newsroom got their goods for free. Correct me if I am wrong, but last I checked, it was the companies job to provide us with the tools we need to do our job.

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    1. *by telling the reps to submit a formal presentation.

      Delete
    2. Sales reps don't need laptops they need smartphones and tablets

      Delete
  6. The new joke around Shreveport is "Welcome to HELL". A "HE" (Mr. Bailey) plus "L" for Linda and "L" for Laura gets you...well you can figure it out.

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  7. As suspected, ANOTHER top Pointroll client has chosen to use a competitor's solution! This is what happens when you fire good sales reps and they start taking their clients with them.

    It seems like Rob Gatto and Sarah Ripmaster are going to go down on this sinking ship together.

    They are hoping that a business development relationship with Aggregate Knowledge will distract all of the employees long enough that they do not see the carnage around them.

    Rob, you need some serious training. Go back to fetching the water and collecting the bats.

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  8. How much revenue has this blog cost Gannett?

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  9. No longer at GANNETT it's been 2 years now,sounds like it looks and smells the same--too bad!

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

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  11. Rumour has it, according to the new advertising structure in Shreveport, the department will be lead by an Adverting Director instead of the traditional Advertising Director and people who should be reporting to a manager haven't any lines of direct reports and others report to managers and lateral teammates. At least four six figure executives approved it for distribution. They should be aware that Shreveport puts people on PIPs for not being able to perform their jobs to expectations and written standards.

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  12. Hey 8:36:

    How much revenue has Gannett cost Gannett?

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  13. Exactly 9:12 as the real question 8:36 AM should ask is this:

    How much profit has been lost due to Gannett’s culture of management by fear, Borg-like thought, lack of speed and retention and promotion of managers who wouldn’t be tolerated anywhere else?

    Answer: Hundreds of millions of dollars.

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  14. ESPN carrying the water for Gannett's Tallahassee paper on their local story:
    http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/page/FAMU-hazing/culture-hazing-florida-university-band-members-continued-years

    Better investigative work going on these days at some online sites than in print.

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  15. Hey 11:08 AM re: HR -
    We learned a long time ago that HR bots are there to collect information on employees so that when the time comes, it can be used against them.
    When the HR person at our paper was forced out a couple years ago, it was "good riddance", as far as most were concerned.

    Too bad - I remember the days long, long ago when they were an advocate for employees.

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  16. I'm a little surprised there hasn't been more discussion about the on-line survey we were asked to fill out about a week ago in an e-mail from Gracia.
    The survey is being administered by Survey Monkey, a third party company, which I've encountered before.
    The question is, how candid can we really be without fear of reprisal?
    There are some telling questions to be answered with varying degrees of "agree" "Disagree" or neutral.
    They include statements such as "i expect to take on an increasing workload", "I am confident management will provide the proper tools" and so on, related to the company's latest plan. There is also a general comment section after various blocks of questions
    However, the survey can only be accessed via the company intranet, meaning you have to use a company computer, which could be considered an identifier of the person who filled it out. (I would have forwarded myself the link and filled it out at home, if that was an option.)
    So the question remains, can we be truly candid and assured of anonymity, or should we be less than candidate based on the assumption our comments can be traced back to us?
    I'd be interested to hear how others filed this out, if they had similar concerns and how they resolved them.

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    1. I filled it out honestly. If they want to
      Trace back to me so be it. We are in a do or
      Die point within the organization. We have nothing to lose by being being open.
      Worst case - you are let go and last I checked
      We are all at risk of that each day. Beat case - someone listens!

      Delete
  17. I would doubt that the Gannett blog has cost the company much in revenue. And the transparency it has created for the company would easily add greater value to Gannett's net worth, which is far more important than revenues.

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  18. Gannett in 2012 -

    Cliquish management. High turnover. No feedback and often whimisical goals to meet. Lots of backstabbing going on, keep your friends close and your enemies closer is what I recommend.
    THE BLUEMASK @ 11:15 A.M.

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

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  20. Be VERY CAREFUL with Survey Monkey. Each person sent a survey is tied to a unique code, which means the survey administrators can match your name and IP address to your response. Do not trust this company not to look and match-up. Advice from an IT pro.

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  21. 7:26 - Did anyone submit a presentation for a laptop? That is ridiculous.

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  22. I would not fill out a survey that can't be completed from home. I think this company has proven how untrustworthy it can be.

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  23. I deleted the survey.

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  24. Indianapolis Star has extended the buyout offers to 20 Guild members. They will only accept four but maybe more based on staffing needs. Unfortunately, no copy editors were included in offer.

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  25. If Linda and Laura have their way, all the Louisiana papers will be in the toilet by the end of the year. I like that HE "LL" comment. It is so true. I am not afraid of them, I just find them pathetic because they can't manage by being professional, it's just threats and more threats. Juvenile. I am glad the people in Shreveport are standing up for themselves. Fuck 'em.

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  26. What is going on Westchester? Top news editor offered buyout, then demoted to reporter status?

    We've lost reporters, copy editors and probably others to NewsDay (the actual Long Island paper), not just the web start-up that still hasn't started up. No one is ever replaced, and we'll probably lose even more people in the very near future, not to mention the buyout candidates.

    So many of us WANT this paper to be successful again, but how can it possibly be successful with such a small staff and such horribly low morale?

    Also, any verifiable numbers on the Poughkeepsie paywall?

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  27. It's now closing in on three years since USA Today had any semblance of a publisher.

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  28. 11:24 IT Pro

    You do realize that at each of our properties everyone has the same IP address. This is a result of NAT configuration on the firewall. Stop flame baiting people.

    The survey was on the internet and could be completed from home. There was no unique code in the URL.

    -Response from a better IT Pro who is not a troll.

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  29. Hillkirk was an empty suit. we are better off without him.give weiss the job permanently and replace her ineffective deps and dave teeuwen with NYT types.

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  30. 11:24 is correct about Survey Monkey. You buy a "platinum" license from them for $65 a month to do your own surveys. It tracks names, email addresses and IP addresses, which can be turned on/off by the administrator, which in this case is someone who works for Gannett. You can bet none of that is turned off. Educate yourself here: http://help.surveymonkey.com/app/home/

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  31. 1:53 Don't be a shill. You know that in Survey Monkey you can turn off OR KEEP ON E-mail and IP address collection. Gee, I wonder what Gannett does?

    E-mail:
    http://help.surveymonkey.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/168

    IP addresses: http://help.surveymonkey.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/188

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  32. I also work at a Louisiana paper (not Shreveport). Would I be surprised if a decision had been made long ago to kill off La. properties into something Gannett thinks they can make money with? Hell no. I would say morale is low, but that's being generous. People have resigned themselves to either taking a buyout, finding any other employment or just not giving a damn.

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  33. So much for "hometown advantage". Get a new believable tagline Maryam. Maybe you should have spent some time learning about the company before you paid an expensive consultant to come up with this unbelievable brand positioning. Martore was around when 20,000+ people were thrown to the streets so she should have known better. Gannett used to own the local reporting but there are so few reporters left, we can't even get the story everyone else is getting.


    "The Peyton Manning chase shows how Gannett has been outclassed when it comes to big stories. Last night WKMG in Orlando reported that former Denver quarterback Tim Tebow -- a Florida native -- would be traded by midday today. Fox Sports correctly credited WKMG; USA Today credited national media outlets but not the Orlando TV station."

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  34. So much for Beusse's sports vertical. He forgot the most important part: content! How will all those league partnerships help if you cannot report on the daily ins and outs of sports?

    Gannett cannot be more screwed up if it tried. But wait...it will be. Just keeps getting worse and worse.

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  35. Maybe all the sports guys are busy reapplying for their jobs or looking for new ones.

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  36. You people complaining about how Survey Monkey works need to brush up on your reading comprehension.

    Even if IP tracking is turned on, all traffic from within Gannett comes from the same IP at each location. In other words, your IP shows up the same as the dude sitting in the cubicle next to you.

    And even if email address tracking is turned on, the addresses are uncoupled from the survey results - it only tells you if the person at that address responded, didn't respond, or opted-out of future requests.

    - an IT pro who can read

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  37. It seems anybody who can claim they are a CMO could just as easily call themselves an IT pro.

    Our I.T. department asks for i.p. addresses when you call them so that they can get on your machine and fix whatever you broke. Even if there is one external i.p. address, the internal i.p. addresses can be picked up easy enough.

    Which is neither here nor there - even if the survey was done with the purest of intentions and most anonymity possible, we no longer trust corporate when they say so. It may have something to do with publishers sharing with managers sharing with supervisors the "anonymous" comments of surveys past.

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  38. Years ago at my Gannett site, I supervised a small team when the publisher had us all take a workplace satisfaction survey. 

    We were told this was to help the newspaper improve working conditions. 

    Instead, when the results came out, I was chewed out for having employees who liked me -- but hated Gannett.  I feared losing my job. 

    Episodes like this show why employees distrust the intent and use of surveys like this. 

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  39. I'm just curious what Sandy Micek has accomplished in almost a year besides keeping up what Mary Ann Cristiano, Susan Lavington, Ed Cassidy and Susan Lilley created and established for USA Today - and try to take credit for it all. Time to stop taking all your orders from Banikarim and her consultants and get a brain of your own, if that's possible.

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  40. This assumes Banikarim has a brain. All we've seen so far is one big ego. Anything else to report on any accomplishments so far, Maryam? How about you, Sandra. We're anxious to hear something.

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  41. 3:26 That's the internal ip. It's only valid up until the firewall. You can't get that information externally. Also as I said before you can do the survey from an unattached machine like your house or the library. No possibility of tracking you from a library. However you are the same people who can't figure out an iPhone. What should I expect. Reporters can't be bothered with facts.

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  42. Weiss as editor - are you kidding me. She hates this company and what USAT has turned in to. Remember how she and Colton fought Hunke' s so called Transition.

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  43. When will Gannett newsrooms tackle this: Educators make up 12% of millionaires in this country today?

    http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2012/03/21/millionaire-population-grows-by-200000/

    Take a closer look at the pension values of what retiring govt employees receive overall today and you’d be hard pressed to find one less than a million dollars, but those costs are rarely, if ever written about in stories about govt cutting services.

    Reader’s in the know talk about it and its time Gannett joined the conversation.

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  44. It was a transformation not s transition. Actually it was more like David L Hunke's Titanic only the captain did not go down with the ship.

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  45. Who cares. The damage has been done.

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  46. Jim-- I respect you and love this blog, HOWEVER---WE NEED QUESTIONS ANSWERED IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY...,

    ( You always seem to fly over these posts---Be a Man and answer them!!!!!!!~)

    1) What is happening in Westchester , NY ?

    2) How does Tony Simmons get a promotion to the Midwest , when he single-handedly drove circulation into the uber earth, and literally 500 people laid off here ?!?!?!

    3) The present product is a piece of "DONG"

    4) Are you kidding, Jim---GET ANSWERS, and get them Now---This is New York Area---Not Des Moines

    I mean c'mon --can you or can you not get handle this

    If you want to sweep it under the rug---then so be it---But Man up and provide answers---PLEASE!!!!!!!

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  47. And Jim ( my previous post) do you know how many good, (great) people are now out of work---yet Gannett , still employs IDIOTS At the Journal News---KM, EK---Thanks Bro.

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  48. If you want answers get off your butt and walk across the building to the publisher and ask.

    Before you want to throw the man-up at a guy who lives 3000 miles away, try walking 30 feet and doing it yourself.

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  52. People are fleeing TJN for two reasons: the top editor and her right-hand henchman, who are both widely reviled by the people who work for them because of their abusive behavior. It's a miserable place to work that's getting worse all the time.

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  53. Hillkirk in no way "stepped down" Jim. He was pushed aside. You only step down if someone is there to step up, permanently.

    As far as Weiss and Colton fighting the transition, at least they had the backbone to do so. The results of the transformation have been universally disastrous. People shifted into non jobs. Others empowered to do jobs that benefit no one. Even more put in positions of power yet totally unqualified. Beats not being covered. I could go on, but you've heard it before.

    Anyone who thinks the transition is a success must be certifiable.

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  54. Hunke transformed everything into shit. Except for the 35 vice presidencies he created. I'm afraid he thinks he's running a bank. From the 1920s.

    Glad we haven't found out what his bonus is. Anything over $1 is too much.

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  55. Micek has done as much as Banikarim has. Here's the list of MB's accomplishments:

    Self aggrandizing puff pieces in the business and trade press.

    Frequent flier miles. Winning!

    ffriends gotmhandomely paid to perform redundant marketing studies.

    Got to fire people.

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    1. She was smart enough to show you the door

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  56. Hunke should step aside into something more befitting his passion. Testing Scotch. Well even chip in on a tartan kilt to get him moving.

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  57. Maryam please tell us what you did today. Anything? And another day on the road goes nowhere.

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  58. Banikarim is a snake

    Hunke is a snake

    Ellwood is a snake

    Frank is a snake

    Weiss is a snake

    Jones is a snake

    And they are all crawling around Medusa Martore's head

    The environment around USAT has become absolutely toxic and this has become an unbearable place to be. Give me that Dubow package and I'm out of here.

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  59. Just imagine what it is like to have to work next to you every day

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  60. Back off Banikarim. She had one big mess to clean up. I'm sure she'll get around to doing something eventually. But first she has tobfigure out how to boot Hunke and Ellwood before she can declare herself queen.

    Off with their heads and get Banikarim another showcase fluff interview now for her scrapbook.

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  61. 9:20 pm. Good one, Maryam. Don't take any of their shit.

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  62. Oooooo I bet Banikarim had her PR firm consult with her on that bazinger.

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  63. Regarding the "let's-review-everyone-at-the-same-time" plan announced earlier this week:

    If you look at the timeline attached to the e-mail announcing it, the first item is to send the notification email on March 19.

    I got mine on March 20.

    That can mean only one of two things:

    1. The Gannett e-mail system is incredibly slow; or

    2. This is going to going to take way longer than corporate thinks it will because it will overload managers.

    I'm betting on #2.

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    1. Depending on how many direct reports you have this is absurd and will prevent managers from doing real work.

      The whole review process is absurd actually.

      Delete
  64. A super nice editor who left the Shreveport paper a decade or so ago was so accurate in terming that newsroom as the "evil empire." Now it sounds like morale is through the floor.

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  65. BREAKING: Pruitt resigns as CEO of McClatchy to run AP:
    http://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/news/2012/03/21/mcclatchy-ceo-pruitt-stepping-down.html?ana=yfcpc

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  66. I also filled out the survey, as honestly as I could without being an ass. Every time Gracia does a presentation for the employees, she mentions that we are free to e-mail her. I'm not that bold, but I did have a few thoughts that I didn't mind expressing, politely, under the veneer of anonymity.

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  69. 2:40 - How would they make money by killing off the Louisiana properties? It's pretty obvious this is their goal with the decisions that have been made since moving LA to the Midwest Group, but I can't figure out the reasoning behind it. It does seem deliberate.

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  70. Shreveport needs an audit. Pay particular attention to how rates and revenues are manipulated in favor of some(friends) and not others.

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  71. Blame Gracia i want your opinion Martore for all of this. she allows hunke to survive, who gives us heather frank, rudd davis and a cadre of ass kissers and know nothings. weiss isnt the problem. legacy editors like Czarniak, teewen, hiikkirk, ullman, henderson and horwich are.

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  72. If it were not for Shreveport HR Rep I would have left a long time ago. PLEASE don't leave us!

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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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