Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 16-22 | Your News & Comments: Part 4

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64 comments:

  1. Okay, perhaps there ARE more shoddy media companies than Gannett (Emmis owns radio, TV, city magazines across country) ...

    today's IndyStar.com

    The fight over control of Emmis Communications' preferred shares intensified Monday, when five dissident shareholders countersued the company, alleging numerous violations of federal securities and state corporate laws.

    The 56-page lawsuit in U.S. District Court paints an unflattering picture of Emmis carrying out a "brazen scheme" to erase the rights of preferred shareholders and not pay $10 million in back dividends they're owed.

    Among the allegations against the Indianapolis media company:

    It has created illegal "zombie shares" that are retired yet retain their voting rights.

    It has pressured preferred shareholders with "manipulative acts" that include use of the "prisoner's dilemma," where shareholders fear losing all share value if they don't take the company-offered price for their shares.

    It set up a "sham" stock trust supposedly to benefit employees, but it actually was used to hold company-controlled preferred stock that will help it gain the required 66 percent of preferred shares to control their voting rights.

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  3. I don't know what is sinking faster, USA Today circulation or our stock value.

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  4. I just read Peter Kerasotis' account of his layoff with Gannett and then I read the comments left by readers. I am very interested to know what happened to Suzanne Shipp who worked at The Times in Shreveport. It is pretty well known throughout Gannett that the new publisher and ad director totally mishandled the ad reorganization and then left the building for two weeks like cowards immediately after the bomb was dropped, but I didn't hear of any workplace violence or harassment. What's the story there?

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  5. 1:45 Please, enough with the "What have you done today, Banikarim?" comments. They're way old now. Please try another approach.

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    1. Thank you. That, and that everyone is trying to get out. I work at Gannett's largest paper, and there isn't anybody running to the door screaming.

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  6. It is clear the executives at Gannett well all leave with the millions they can grab as they destroy the company. The rest of us are out of jobs and will have to start again. Why couldn't they just leave us alone and let us stay until the newspapers either turn around or sink. They are downsizing into oblivion. My job is being replaced by a distributor who says he can do the job for less. Some how it's legal that he can hire people as contract employees and work them like slaves.

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  7. I think it's time for goverment to step in and put a stop to giving us furlough's to pay for a non working ex ceo...put a stop to top exec's doubling their salarie's when all the Employies have to apply for unemployment from the states they work in..Goverment Does not realize yet what Gannett is costing them..
    also there is a lot of ilegal things Gannett gets away with at my site...probably a lot of site's..time to Drop a Dime...at some point I will.....

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  8. I hope the H.R. reps will do what's in the best interest of the company. They should not get in the way of anyone being let go to collect unemployment benefits, and severance pay. Nobody that the company RIF'd is at fault for being unemployed, it was the company's decision.

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  9. From a Free Press reporter:

    Today I was fired from the Detroit Free Press after making numerous complaints of harassment against my boss and a co-worker. Conveniently, the Free Press fired me two weeks after I was taken out of the building in a stretcher with chest pains and shortage of breath. On the day I returned (today), my bosses offered this reason for my termination: Some Detroit city officials don't like my reporting.

    Imagine if my bosses cowered when Kwame was complaining that he was doing nothing wrong while using tax dollars to cover up his affair and other wrongdoings.

    Feel free to contact my bosses and express your concern about the way the newspaper treats its employees. Paul Anger can be reached at panger@freepress.com or Jeff Taylor jtaylor@freepress.com.

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  10. I've worked for the the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News for 40 years, and I have never seen anyone fired without just cause. Nobody has ever kowtowed to a city politician or advertiser. Not even to former mayor Coleman Young. Detroit Media Partnership sets the bar in ethics in journalism.

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  11. 3:01 PM - you've posted many times that you left the company. Now you're posting that you still work for Gannett? Which is it?

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  14. It seems as though many employees are being fired,released or in some other way shown the door.
    Read this and other threads and find that employees are gone.
    Are these more of the under the radar reductions in staff?
    Is this Gannetts way of getting rid of people without the widespread publicity,or just a precursor to mass layoffs?
    Jim, maybe it is time to start tallying these mysterious departures!

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  15. RIght, a union employee in Detroit gets fired for no reason. Pleeease. And to top it off he doesn;t leave his name. Once again pleassse!!

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  16. For the third straight day Florida Today's paywall is down and letting everyone view as many stories as they want. Hmmmm. Are they rethinking the "new subscription model?"

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  17. 17 more pay walls will go up around Gannett properties by early May.

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  18. Check out the less than favorable comments regarding the pay wall and new pricing schedule announcement for The Courier News (Bridgewater, NJ) and The Home News Tribune (East Brunswick, NJ).

    http://www.mycentraljersey.com/comments/article/20120415/NJNEWS/304150020/Enhancements-new-subscription-model-Home-News-Tribune-Courier-News-mycentraljersey-com

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  19. 1:49 Both dropping like a rock, were have you been?

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  20. Hey 3:16 and 5:07 PM
    My departure after more than two decades is still a mystery to me, let alone my former colleagues, many of whom have been shown the door as well. All institutional knowledge is gone from that place, and what passes for dried ink on tiny dead trees is even getting rejected by the birds in whose cages that rag ends up. And they expect people to pay $9-15/month for it? In this economy?

    They couldn't possibly be more clueless or incompetent.
    '
    My college paper from the '70s-'80s had 10X the talent. Of course they were all smart enough not to work for Gannett longer than a couple of years, and only if they had to.

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  21. Re: HR
    Seriously? Our HR person is useless, always has an excuse for not doing something. Comes at 8, leaves for lunch then out the door by 5 - if the rest of us worked her hours we would have no product or a job. Every day at least one employee asks me WHAT she does as she's not an advocate for the employees at any level. Her boss is hundreds of miles away, go figure.

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    1. Sounds like a description of the hr woman at the courier post!

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  22. Go paywalls! Say "goodbye" to young readers on the Web! Charge your best customers, the heavy users of your website who live in your town, but not the ones who come in from Timbuktu for a story or two! It's a strategy for making a quick buck or two now but destroying the company's future. No wonder Wall Street hasn't responded with a lift in Gannett's stock price. It's grasping at straws.

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    1. Advertisers do not pay the bills do how would you generate money to pay the staff?

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  23. Gannett pays lip service to strategy by hiring the wrong people and cutting others. This is the best they can do.

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  24. I just checked and 5:16 is right, Brevard has turned off its paywall. Bet all those digital subscribers are not happy, that is, if they were informed or their money was refunded.

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  25. I don't know why we still have a HR person at our site. Half the building is empty and she doesn't appear to do anything for any of the employees. She looks old enough to receive a buy out yet she hangs on at the expense of the company.

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  27. Azcentral.com, one of Gannett's biggest websites, appears to be going to this design: http://www.azcentral.com/hfe/
    From this one: http://www.azcentral.com/

    What do you think? Better? Worse? About the same?

    It's surprising to see the classified verticals way up there at the top of the page, where they get lost. Maybe classifieds just aren't that important any longer.

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  28. 9:06 What should I feel grateful for? She has never done anything for me. If you are talking about Gannett the work I do for them has more than made up for anything they gave to me.

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    1. I'm curious why you feel it's ok to single her out? If she has never done anything for or to you why do feel it's ok to attack her on a national website. She is a person, she has a family, why is it ok to question her purpose? Dies it make you feel better to put her down?

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  29. Website's too busy. Waaaay too much print. It's like they just threw everything they had up there without prioritizing. The background ad doesn't help, either.

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  30. 8:06, I was going to say the post refers to the HR person in Shreveport. She is never there and when she is, sends us to a website. We all know why she keeps the job.

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  31. That new AZ Central website, if that's what it is, looks a lot better than the old one. Aside from having dismal content, that is. Of course, anything would look better than the site now.

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  32. 10:26 - For the rest of us who don't work in Shreveport, tell us why she keeps her job.

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  33. PointRoll Update
    Dea Lawrence and Dimitria Pavlides leaving Pointroll

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    1. Neither are a loss

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  34. 10:17 I was not singling her out. You don't even know who I was referring to. I mentioned no name or which site she works at. As you can tell from the other posters the description could apply to numerous H.R. people at any of the Gannett sites. If it is you maybe you can tell me what you do for the company that justifies them keeping you while they terminate other productive employees?

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  35. And Kate Marymont, the supposed vice president/news, is where and doing what amid all this chaos in newsrooms?

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  36. Fuck Gannett and GPS..Look the bottom line is all about Corp. politics. Maybe one hundred senior manegement are safe, the rest are screwed. I know it's been said before, get out while you can, look while you have a job. The indiscretion at the corp. level has gone way beyond the way a normal company runs operations. Gannett is like the Government..too much fat at the top, and they are doing their part to do away with the middle class

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  37. What makes any of you believe HR is there to represent employees? HR is there to protect the company's interests. That is true at any company but no where more than Gannett. Where do these naive attitudes come from? The sooner you realize this fact, the faster your eyes will be opened.
    - former Gannett VP

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  38. azcentral's HFE site: far too much white space, too much space between the elements, typeface looks blurry on lcd monitor, vertical bounds are not well defined, not enough horizontal alignment - it looks like facebook's timeline, the sub-indexes are long lists of headlines and nothing to look at. It's pretty bland to be honest.

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  39. Gannett HR people could be replaced by 'bots.
    Oh wait, they already are.

    No self-respecting employee should trust one of them. In fact, I think they make dogs bark as they approach.

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  40. Right now...8:29am...FT has a pop up (from the side that says this:

    Enjoy a limited number of free articles over the next 30 days.

    Subscribe today for full access

    Current subscriber? Activate your account

    So when does the 30 days start? Is the number supposed to count down? The first pop up told you how many articles you had but everyday when I signed on I had 14. You'd think they would have had something that worked before they asked people to pay.

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  41. I would make it known to anyone who is a paying digital customer that they can still access the web for free so they can demand their money back. It is like the management at this company is from the nearest nursery school. It is beyond embarrassing.

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  42. I think the same guy handling our paywalls works on our corporate e-mail. One smooth operation.

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  43. By the way the email and systems problems turned out to be a huge Microsoft glitch. This is a problem for a lot of their corporate customers. Not that anyone here cares.

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  44. Heh 3:41 can you imagine having to deal with someone like you day in and day out. What a treat.

    HR Dude

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  45. Jim: are you looking into the handful of comments about post-buyout layoffs? I, too, wonder about stealth reductions.

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  46. 10:01, can you imagine dealing with Hopkins' blend of screeching and inaccuracy in the office every day? He must have been a "legendary" Gannett employee.

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  47. Jacking up the price on the print paper to make the digital price look attractive will certainly show growth on the digital side. That way they can say there is growth in digital. What it will mask is any organic growth in digital. We need a real growth strategy. We need new people signing up, not cannibalized print subscribers. Digital with Gannett is a cost cutting story, not a growth strategy. We need a growth strategy and there is one out there. I would love to see how the demographics are trending on subscribers. 55plus trading down to digital. Twenty somethings, gone. Overall circulation down.

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  48. For fourth consecutive day, FLORIDA TODAY paywall is non-operational and allos free unlimited access to readers. That might infuriate those who have already subscribed, but FT isn't making that public.

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  49. 10:16 Yes; I'm watching for any post-buyout layoffs.

    I'm also looking for any signs that some papers will be able to replace people bought-out with new hires.

    At one time, I believe, Corporate promised some editors that they could replace perhaps 25% of those bodies lost to buyouts with new hires -- presumably, people with digital experience.

    Now, I hear, Corporate may be reneging on that promise because of recently weak financial results.

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  50. Hey HR 'bot at 10:01AM
    I provided more content for the web than anyone else at my USCP. And had won more awards for my work than anyone there. By far. (Not those worthless Gannett awards. REAL awards.)
    Unfortunately, I am over 40, so I was targeted for elimination, instigated by one of your fellow 'bots.

    Don't worry, your time will come too.
    tick tock

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  51. 10:01 AM I am not the person you were addressing but I am an employee and I do understand your job can be stressful. Most people on this blog don't care because they either have lost their job or are about to lose it. I find it peculiar that anyone who works in H.R. would waist anytime caring what a frustrated employee on this blog thinks about them.

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  52. 10:18 HR dude
    Beleive me ALL of us do not enjoy going anywhere around HR. It's the only so called place to get an answer. And it is usually wrong, so don't try to play with us.
    HR sucks!

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  53. 11:41 - Please note that I am neither a person who works for Gannett and is about to be let go nor a former Gannett employee. There are a lot of people who read this blog other than the employees you speak of and this blog speaks volumes.

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  54. 12:01 True others do read this blog but if you look at the poll that ask "where do you work?" on this page the mass majority are employees, or former employees. It is not scientific but probably is a fair representation of who reads this blog.

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  55. 10:16 Green Bay is laying off 4 copy eds in preparation for the design studio move.

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  56. 11:41 believe it or not I/We do care. I do not appreciate the sad sack who disperages me and my colleagues everytime they don't like something. Thank God many people express their aprpeciation on a regular basis. I post when someone like this guy attacks us as if we are one stepford group.

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  57. @ 2:27, I believe you're correct that there are several good HR folks left; however, I must agree wih most posters, in that I've never seen and HR division run more for the sake of corporate than the employees, and it has been clearly demonstrated over the past several years.

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  58. Gannett would do well to sack Horning and a few other leaders within the HR community as the threatening, debilitating culture that resulted from the many egregious acts they knowingly allowed from top management on their watch, and the poor advice they’ve given, still harms this company today.

    The board wouldn’t have to dig very long or deep to justify why as they’d easily learn of a wealth of troubling information to support it, exactly why they should blow up the rest of that function from the top down as HR’s tacit complicity is equally appalling as the acts they long protected.

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  59. I can't stand several HR employees for lack of follow through or response in general. My expectations are low, but I would think that they would or should respond to the no-brainer questions in a timely manner. And/or, be responsive to some high level risks. I think we all keep our correspondence to a minimum and keep expectations low. However, blatantly being unavailable on IM, not being in the office, keeping the office sealed for days at a time, the voicemail message saying, it's Monday, when it's Friday and irk me. When we actually get approval to hire and you have to push HR every step of the way for over a month to get a lead. With all of that being said, today for a quick minute I was feeling a glimmer of empathy for HR. Thinking, there probably are no good answers to give, options or hope in general. A job I would not want to have right now.

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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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