Monday, April 30, 2012

April 30-May 6 | Your News & Comments: Part 1

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  1. Media General -- a TV station and newspaper owner like Gannett -- held its annual meeting on Friday and the CEO said his company's market value would improve if it sold all its newspapers. There's been talk of Gannett spinning off USA Today. Has Gannett entertained any thoughts of spinning off its local dailies?

  2. In Today's Journal News Westchester NY

    he Journal News Media Group is launching a new subscription model on Wednesday. Full access to all of our content on all platforms — Web, mobile, tablet and print — will be available only to subscribers after that date. If you choose not to subscribe, digital access will be limited to 20 stories a month.

    Question: How much will a subscription cost?



    Daily/Sunday: $28

    Thursday-Sunday: $20

    Monday-Friday: $20

    Monday-Saturday: $20

    Saturday/Sunday: $16

    Digital Only: $14

    EZ PAY PRICE – You save over 10 percent off of the printed bill price

    Daily/Sunday: $25

    Thursday-Sunday: $18

    Monday-Friday: $18

    Monday-Saturday: $18

    Saturday/Sunday: $14

    Digital Only: $14

    1. Wow! Awfully expensive even for ezpay. I don't work there and I have to say I wouldn't pay those prices when I can get the same news elsewhere for free.

      Good luck to them.

  3. Gracia,

    WallStreet has turned its back on P&G and it's CEO McDonald's purpose-inspired strategy. It didn't work.

    Martore, you might want to take another look at the Purpose-driven work Maryam has sold up the line and entrench back into revenue-driving initiatives.

    Wall Street doesn't buy this mumbo jumbo from "marketers'. A lot of lessons in this case study by one of the biggest and best companies in the world: P&G.

    Business Insider has the story today.

  4. You have a buyer?

  5. We can only hope and I pray our site is one of them.

  6. The Maryam Update, I mean, "On the Road" just came out for April. Apparently we are proud that subscription rates are up. You know, in the markets where we raised subscription rates. I guess we are impressed with simple math.

  7. 8:58 And just under the wire, I might add: Today's the last day of the month.

  8. I am very amused by the Corporate posters trying to discredit Jim and this blog. As a non Gannett employee and occasional reader of this blog, what stands out to me is the pain and suffering of the employees who are working for a company with no raises for the past three years, never ending furloughs, and a leadership team, in what the employees call the Crystal Palace, that doesn't seem to know how to move this company forward in a changing media world.

    No matter how many negative comments there are about Jim, it comes across as an ill attempt to hide the obvious....this company doesn't care about its employees and just wants them to shut up, accept what is going on, and to just do their jobs without the benefit of raises or job security.
    I will say, I am befuddled by peoples' choices to stick it out with Gannett. I understand loving your job and having a passion for what you do, but mental and physical health are important, as well. There are other job options out there.

    To me, it seems obvious that Corporate is starting to feel the pressure from this blog which has to be why they are wasting their time trying to discredit Jim. If this blog didn't matter, Corporate wouldn't be paying people to refute what is being said. Jim has gotten under Corporate's skin. Now, is it the board or the shareholders putting on the pressure?

    I studied the demise of Kodak, too. History seems to be repeating itself here.

  9. @8:19 – If Gannett sold off its newspapers, it wouldn’t have anything capable of generating real revenues and content on its own to support what would be left.

    @8:36 – For Gannett to even approach companies in P&G’s class it would first have to care about its employees and innovation, it fails miserably at both.

    Gannett also fails at revenue driving initiatives because as soon as anyone has a modicum of success with one, corporate hacks (to justify their own existance) “take the lead” to roll it out company-wide ultimately slowing even the originator’s down, screwing it up for all (think: Metromix, Moms, etc.). In other areas, corporate is slow and too cumbersome to move efficiently.

    All of which suggests Gannett is likely the source of where the phrase “we’re from corporate and here to help” came from. A wealth of interactions shows their involvement has typically resulted in quite the opposite.

  10. Shhhhh! Don't tell Margaret Buchanan and Carolyn Washburn, but remember that photo that got into the Enquirer April 15 with a woman holding the "I FU#K HER" sign? Well, it wasn't the first time that photo made it into the paper. Has anybody looked at the Nov. 6 Kentucky edition?

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

  12. 10:05 wrote: "Another week wondering if there will be layoffs and when they will happen."

    I'm going to start removing that comment; it's grown repetitious. Please try something new.

  13. The Journal News is on the way down.
    Once a great newspaper.
    Such a sad end.

  14. 10:49 AM is right - The Journal News was once a great newspapers.
    But the Corporate folks like Gary Sherlock, Tom Donovan, Tony Simmons, and Don Lemire have destroyed this newspapers ( among others). In the 80's, the Journal News was in the top 5 of Gannett
    money making newspapers. In 1986,
    under the leadership of Chuck Schmitt, our NIBT was $39,000, 000.
    In 2010, the NIBT was $2,500, 000.
    What a drop - true that the internet had an impact but a number of bad decisions were made.
    I have all the NIBTS from Hyperion.
    I stole them when I retired; so I know what I am talking about.

  15. Speaking of on the way down, it is sad to see what has become of the NJ papers, namely the DR in Morris County. Down to 16 to 18 pages a day with no real local
    content other than police press releases, it's hard to believe circulation was north of 50,000 not that long ago. Now, it can't be much more than 20,000 and web hits are down significantly .. This is a tribute to horrible leadership on the corporate and local level. And by the way, newsstand price just went up to $1 ..

  16. Gannett is an Awful Co, but yet the public does not know that-
    Do what I did - email the Michael
    Moore website and tell him.
    He is always looking for companies
    to exposed; maybe he can do a documentary on them. If enough folks email Him, he will expose Gannett publicly and tell him to wear a "G A N N E T T S U C K S"
    T shirt.

  17. The Journal News FINALLY did get around to posting the new subscription rates, after giving nothing but phone numbers and an e-mail address for anyone who wanted an answer to that very basic question for a few days. I am not a newspaper person, so I don't know what the reasoning was behind withholding that info from readers.

    But as a reader, I thought it was ridiculous. And extremely frustrating.

    I e-mailed the given address on Tuesday and finally got a reply (after a second e-mail) on Saturday. But that was after the rates were published, so it was no longer necessary.

    I'm an out-of-state reader; not going to shell out 14 bucks a month for a digital subscription for the very minimal coverage of Rockland County news the JN offers on-line. I go to the "Rockland" page and see mostly Westchester stories anyway, so the 20 free articles per month should do me just fine.

  18. 9:51... just looked on etearsheets and you're right it's true. It ran as centerpiece standalone art on page B5... too funny...

  19. I'll be offline until about 3 pm ET; I'll moderate and then post your comments ASAP after that.

  20. I worked for USA WEEKEND Magazine for 11 years and was assimilated (resistance was futile) into the USA Today Marketing team about a month ago. I was laid off this past thursday.

    And I am truly grateful and blessed. The environment is truly toxic. I feel like I was released from prison.

    I could go on and on about my thoughts and insights about Gannett (and maybe someday I will, now that I have more free time) but suffice to start with this:

    The upper level executives at Gannett never had to be smart. And still don't and aren't. They are not there to build a great company for the future. They are there to line their own bank accounts. Whether the company does well or goes bankrupt is irrelevant. (Craig Dubow was one very clear and transparent example.) Their job is to create the facade that Gannett is a viable investment for Wall Street. Their only real skill is the art of manipulation. And it works for them.

    To believe that these higher level executives intrinsically care about Gannett is extremely naive. Each one of them will keep up their facade for maybe 2 to 3 years max. And then leave. Accountability and results are not necessary. Because by the time the company needs to see the ROI from these idiots, they are already gone with a nice fat savings account.

    It's a good gig if you can get it.

  21. Some changes are coming this week to, the website of the Arizona Republic.

    The web site is launching a new group of hyperlocal micro neighborhood sites. This is an effort to combat advertising competition from Yelp and Patch (which is interesting because Patch doesn't have a Phoenix site yet).

    The neighborhood sites are launching first in Scottsdale and East Valley; they're going live on May 3. The new look of the Community sections of azcentral are going live on the same day.

    Content on the new sites is going to be created by readers, so it will be free content. The paper is facilitating the sites by providing publishing tools and space. They expect "community volunteer groups, local pet groups, schools, libraries..." etc to provide news and photos and the "core" of the coverage.

    The paper is also going to aggregate information from other community sources. It looks like only one employee is going to actually be involved in the sites. No word on who is going to do that job when the employee is on furlough or vacation.

  22. Any updates on the rumors of publishers getting canned? That's what I'm most interested in reading.

  23. * Gannett: down 8.4 percent
    * New York Times: down 7.2 percent
    * McClatchy: down 9.2 percent
    * Media General: down 8.3 percent
    * Lee Enterprises: down 5.3 percent

  24. And as April comes to a close, pageviews and daily visitors at one of the three initial paywall test sites are on target to be below last month's numbers, and significantly below April 2011 numbers.

    Advertisers: the new useful idiots.
    They should be asking for a refund, if they were promised better numbers of eyeballs.

  25. 11:18 - Just proves that no one reads the Kentucky Enquirer - and no one on Elm Street gives a shit about it. Of all the papers that are criticized on this blog, that one really has hit bottom.

  26. Think Gannett's doing the right thing with stock buybacks? Check out this comment from a stock analyst ripping the News Corp. doing the same thing:

    Others say News Corporation did not grow from a tiny newspaper company in Adelaide, Australia, to one of the world’s largest media companies by sitting dormant.

    “Buying back the shares isn’t building anything,” said Todd Juenger, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. “It’s not making the company bigger. It’s just changing the capital structure.” He added: “I’d rather see a company that is growing and building asset value than uniformly returning cash to shareholders.”

  27. Occupy the shareholder's meeting.

  28. If you want to see GANNETT at its best go to PointRoll.

  29. The people of Westchester, Rockland and Putnam will read the 20 free stories a month and that is it, they will not pay for mediocre web content.

    If non-cablevison subscribers in Westchester want a professional local news site, they will pay for NEWSDAY WESTCHESTER

    So long Journal News, thanks for putting us to sleep for the past 10 years

  30. Seriously, would you pay for this type of multi-media content on LoHud? Click on the video|topnews|text|Frontpage

  31. I tend agree, Gannett have some very profitable newspapers, and if sold to the right group/ person, they would be happy pulling in 5 to 10 million a year. All profit

  32. Florida Today printed just over 66 thousand papers Sunday. That is pathetic. Not so long ago we were in the 78 to 82 thousand range. Looks like doubling the Sunday price is working well. Sure ain't using as much paper or ink now!

  33. Jim lots of photos from the WHCD on USAToday Travel.

  34. No publishers laid off. It was just some dickhead trying to get a rise.


    Hell, any reason not to work a day for these 1%ers is a good reason.

  36. Who cares if they move around or layoff some publishers. I don't think anyone at this company has a clue. They are going to spin off GPS after they wreck all the local papers. They are trying to show growing earnings by cutting to the bone. Gannett, doesn't care about the product or the consumer. What is amazing is how all of the major News companies are standing by watching it happen and not making the consumers of this country aware of it.

  37. Its looking very bad for the Journal News in Westchester. After years of gutting the paper and now raising the price, Newsday is launching their new app and westchester coverage. They have a huge advantage since most of westchester and Rockland is wired by Cablevision and will get the Newsday service for free on their iPod/iPad and iPhone. I can't see paying for the content the Journal News is offering since 75 percent is wire service news built in to a couple of local stories. And they are adding features such as food and Lifestyles. I can get that for free with For a long time the powers that be ignored the Westchester area and Newsday swooped in.

  38. Rates Going up May 1st due to dual access:

    Lansing State Journal
    Battle Creek Enquirer
    Port Huron Times Herald
    The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
    The Journal News (Westchester)
    The Courier News (Bridgewater)
    The News Home Tribune (East Brunswick, NJ)
    Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, NV)
    Asbury Park Press
    Press and Sun Bulletin (Binghamton)
    The Star Gazette (Elmira)
    The Ithaca Journal
    The Daily Record (Morristown)

    June 1st:

    Lafayette Daily Advertiser
    Louisville Courier-Journal
    Burlington Free Press
    Alexandria Town Talk
    Jackson Clarion Ledger
    Salisbury (The Daily Times)
    Opelousas Daily World

  39. 4:06- the week just started. you will be eating crow soon. Pubs are on their way out

  40. I heard Reno was supposed to increase its rates and institute a pay wall on 1 May. As of 30 April, the rates on its Web site remain the same and there is no notice of an increase or a pay wall or dual access. None. I doubt readers who only read the site -- you know, print is dead, who reads print, online to the rescue -- I doubt these treasured folks upon whom so much is wagered are gonna appreciate being blind-sided -- and in the very medium Gannett holds so precious. Amazing.

  41. Someone mentioned about Gannett selling off the newspaper division and concentrate on digital and broadcasting.
    I for one would be tickled pink if that ever came to be. Newspapers can stand on their own, especially if not funding the Crystal Palace and its morons. It would be possible to consolidate certain geographic areas and put them under one umbrella (think 2-5 local papers), and other places it doesn't make sense to do so.
    Let the papers concentrate on what is important to their readers and the community where they publish, and stay away from most national and world news. All that is available for free on the internet.
    I dare Corporate to take such a bold initiative.

  42. Well put, 6:06. This explains why you're not in Corporate: you make sense.

  43. I think the USAT reporter who was nominated for the Pulitzer should take that and run to a place with higher journalist ethics. The money guys are going to be running the newsroom with checkbook journalism and they are going to replace ethics with journalism that's only accountable to the business/ad teams.

  44. Hey 2:50 p.m., only time will tell whether people will be willing to pay. That's true for all Gannett sites. In the meantime, you might find it interesting to know that 1,147 people viewed the video you mock with your post.

    Our experience tells us people don't look for documentary-quality work on breaking news. You must be a video expert.

  45. I'm not 2:50, but as for the 1,147 views the video received, I assume 6:43 means that's 1,147 people who felt like they wasted their time watching the vid. It's pretty lame.

    But that should be the point! Gannett has been in pixie-dust mode since at least 2005. "Here. Your career is writing. Go take some vid!"

    That is, 6:43 actually makes a great point! With Gannett, there are no experts any longer; just amateurs.

  46. "Only time will tell" doesn't seem to be a solid strategic plan.

  47. We are bragging about 1200 views. Wow. Pathetic. How exactly is video saving us?

  48. Listening to a news item on the drive home prompts this:

    If Gannett had an opportunity to save tens of millions annually on health care, greatly improving its fortunes, would it pursue it?

    Of course, but at what price?

    Well, think Obamacare as in little more than 18 months Gannett – like all employers in America, will be allowed to drop their plans, paying just $2,000 per employee as a penalty. The large spread between that amount and current costs damn near encourages it.


    Perhaps, but Gannett’s long history of putting shareholder needs first and its shrinking revenues says it cannot be ruled out. Plus, it’s better than furloughs given the lost productivity that results. Hell, just the thought of Gannett considering it might add a few points to its stock.

  49. I thought that this was interesting... and given Gannett's latest ties to MSNBC which also has used this slogan, the pieces are falling into place.

    G A N N E T T F O R W A R D

  50. I do not work for Gannett but I do have a keen interest in what is happening with the company and in my community.

    Today, our Gannett-owned newspaper - a Monday edition granted, but still...20+ house ads...and SEVEN paid ads - with the largest, I think a 3col x 5. There is nothing left. And day after day after day, full page ads for the chicken and and goofy event sponsorships that really mean nothing other than free publicity to local non-profits. Readers are tired of the over and over and over same same same. WHERE'S THE CONTENT you so boldly espoused as the coming savior???

    And to those who believe the local newspapers could be sold? There's nothing left to sell. They are a meager shell of their former selves with all the infrastructure including presses, pre-press, circulation, accounting, mailroom, all outsourced. There's no value left. There's nothing to sell and no way a buyer could restart what has been totally stripped away without millions in capital to rebuild what has been torn down. Sad, sad, state of affairs, my little paper has become. Just plain sad!

  51. Hey 6:43: Actually I am a video expert, and the only reason it has that many views is because it was posted on this blog, so keep up the sub-par work

    And what "experience" are you talking about when you say "our experience tells us?" There are no video or multi-media experts there. If there were, they would tell you that 1,147 views is a very low number of hits for a site that serves that population.

  52. "Only time will tell" doesn't seem to be a solid strategic plan.

    It's not a strategic plan, but it's one of the Top 3 sayings TJN managers use as an excuse for poor content, the other two are:
    "It is what it is"
    "It's a work in progress"

  53. Those who've been taking potshots at The Journal News all day failed to mention that TJN reported the news of the horrific crash first on yesterday, beating the new competition by at least 40 minutes and staying ahead through the night and today. None of the critics would tell you that, though, because it's not in their interests to do so. They come here with an agenda, and it is to undermine the fine work done by the committed, talented and professional staff at TJN.

  54. Between the people in high power positions who actually believe they are fairy princess players (Maryam, Heather, et al) and the cut throat b.s of our esteemed CEO, I think I'm finally able to say I have had enough.

    Three decades busting my ass for this company all over the country and elsewhere. Holidays, massive amounts of time off the books, being a good little Gannetoids. For what? To take orders from the extreme bumblers destroying the company in all kind of silly perverted ways. It's not even about journalism anymore. They don't care. they have left people and products hanging in the wind. They've insults advertisers and readers and investors and burned so many rank and filers, people are fed up and shellshocked.

    I'm done. I'm going to start leaving on time, go out for lunch a few times a week and hopefully find a stable, healthy environment to work in. Fuck these people. They haven't a clue. Never will.

  55. Those subacription prices listed way above in an earlier post are just plain obscene. I guess they've figured out a way to make money even those they will lose the bulk of their readers. $28 a month? Seriously? I get two months of the Washington Post for $20.

  56. Hey 9:18 pm um...Ha ha ha ha ha ha. You kill me. And Cablevision (i.e, News12 and Newsday) had the story on air two hours before TJN posted anything. That's the point- it doesn't matter which entity beats TJN, they got beat. Probably got the story from News 12 anyway since that's on in the newsroom all day long. It really is a good source of news. Just ask any of those "committed, talented and professional staff at TJN".
    Ha ha ha ha There I go again. You really are funny 9:18.

  57. Hey Gannett, please drug test 9:18

  58. Yes, the video is horrible. Yes, lohud is hard to navigate. Yes, the content is weak.

    But all that is minor because they never had a chance in the multi-media interactive web game, it's not even close, it's laughable. Being happy with 2,000 views makes them look like novices in the web game.

    The major mistake that will make their ship sink more rapidly is the subscription rates, especially the print only rate. Do you think any senior citizen on a fixed income will pay about $300 dollars a year to read obits.?

  59. 1103 You are dead wrong . News 12 and Newsday were miles behind TJN on that story. Sorry but that's a fact.

  60. I was one of the layoffs on Thursday, courtesy of Micek. Glad I was only there for a cup of coffee after reading about and being surrounded by all the negativity and toxicity. Clearly not a happy place to be at, but I'm not saying anything you all don't already know.

    I will greatly miss those I worked with within my department, as I was lucky to work alongside tremendously amazing and intelligent coworkers. I was also lucky to personally get a tremendous learning experience out of my short time here. I know this will definitely turn out to be a blessing in disguise, as an unhappy environment = not for me. Already had my first interview today, only 4 days later! Basically, Gannett's loss will soon be a new organizations gain.

    To my fellow coworkers who were also shown the door Thursday despite being some of the most hard working, dedicated individuals you'll ever meet, it's going to be fun to show the world just exactly who they released. Peace out Gannett!

  61. Our paper is perfect for a Family owned operation. WE have a new Press and nailroom. And the profit margin is excellent, so why not buy.. I would or a group of investors can make a huge difference and actually put new in the paper instead of 3 paragraph stories. I read the NYT Sunday, it was nice to be able to sit down and read the paper in more than 5 minutes. NYT is still a great paper. Gannet just does not get it. Management is a joke and they have no clue how to run a news company PERIOD

  62. And the 23,000 of us who have lost their jobs at G A N N E T T since CD started working on his retirement slush fund couldn't agree with you more, 3:11 AM.

  63. 12:00 am No cable reception there with your head in the sand?

  64. I think there's an app for that!

  65. 9:18... Why was this major story only covered by a night-side news editor on their own time instead of a team of reporters and staff photographers? Were they all busy covering a Brewster Cross-Country meet?

  66. Life is short.

    Executives who spend it ruining the lives of thousands have to live with themselves when their time at Gannett is over.

    And their time will end. They will have to look themselves in the mirror and ask the following:

    1. Did I ever see a person behind the numbers?
    2. Did I really think I was helping more people than I was hurting with the firings?
    3. Is this anyway to live a life?

    Banikarim, maybe doing a little work on your own "purpose-drivien" life might be in order.

    Good luck everyone. What a sad company. What heartless execs.

  67. The women of Gannett must want to see more of these stories. They are great at emasculating everyone who doesnt drink the Passion kool aide.

    One question: if the emphasis is indeed on women running the company, where are the women of color?


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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