Saturday, May 05, 2012

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

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57 comments:

  1. This USA Today sports story this morning has one of the strangest byline constructions I've seen in a long time.

    It says, "By Gary Stevens, Special to USA TODAY."

    Then, the lead-in says: "He shares his analysis of the 138th Run for the Roses with USA TODAY Sports' Tom Pedulla."

    Who wrote this? Stevens? Pedulla?

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  2. Tom Buesse's well-paid pals are on the blog in force today. Don't you have any real work to do?

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    1. Tom has more smarts than you ever will. his plan for sports needs to be duplicated throughout Gannett. I can see this guy as the next CEO.

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  3. So any fallout from the NewsGate nightmare of last night?

    Any explanations/apologies/empty promises to do better and get this fixed for the future?

    I'd guess it won't be addressed until it keeps groups of papers from coming out one day. Probably soon.

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  4. @1:42 p.m. I was just going to write the same thing! As a worker who toiled through the horrors of last night, I want to know why it happened, why we lived through a night of hell, what "they" are going to do to mitigate such disasters, and so on.

    WTF man?! Tell us something.

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    1. "Night of hell" my. Friend you aren't curing cancer.

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  5. Keep making deadlines and the NewsGate problems won't be fixed. Miss your deadlines or don't publish a paper at all ... that will get management to seriously consider fixing or dumping NewsGate.

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  6. Reason for Outage: It Broke
    Corrective Action: Kind of fixed it.

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  7. Stevens is a jockey. His words were transcribed by Pedulla. Jesus Christ, it's not that hard to figure out.

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  8. The Buesse Boys rock just as much as Maryam's Girls do. Together they will whip this lame product into shape. We're sure of it. We just to fire more people with experience at doing their jobs in editorial.

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  9. Out with the old and in with the new! The only problem is the old knew what the hell they were doing and the new don't have a clue.

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  10. USA Today does a variety of bewildering things in recent years that show up in print and online. Whatever professionalism there was in that newsroom seems to have been diluted, probably through understaffing (layoffs) and the hiring of inexperienced people who don't really have ink or journalistic pixels in their blood.

    USA Today appears to have given up on its quest to be a well-edited, smart and respected producer of news. Heck, from some of the errors and the frequency of getting beaten on the news stories, I am not sure there is anyone in that newsroom. Maybe it's run by some sort of beta Google robot.

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  11. Hey Martore, you sure as shit have the right team in place to keep driving the stock down and down.

    You and your right team disgust me.

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  12. Martore doesn't read USA today.

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  13. All,

    Today we are focused on figuring out what happened last night and ensuring it doesn’t happen again.

    I know a lot of you saw the new functionality coming in the NewsGate upgrade and many of you were excited by new features.
    As much as we would like to get those new features out to you in order to improve your NewsGate experience, we need to focus on the issue and find out what caused that event.

    We are delaying the upgrade until further notice.

    I’ll update you as we know more about the incident and as we look to reschedule the upgrade.

    Thank you all for your hard work last night – it was a tough night and everyone performed exceptionally.

    Thanks,
    Stacey

    _________________
    Stacey Martin
    Director, Enterprise NewsGate Practice

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  14. I can translate ... "We tried the only solution our IT people have to fix things: We turned it off and turned it on again, and it still didn't work. Weird."

    This isn't the first prolonged system shutdown experienced by NewsGate. They don't know why it happens or how to fix it, and I don't think even half of the USCP are being done at the hubs yet.

    At most companies, this would be a career-ending failure for everyone associated with the move.

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  15. Great going, Jim. You made the big time, rating a letter from Martin concerning the fiasco of yesterday-last night. Nice letter. If only Gannett's executives would own up to their mistakes. That will never happen. Not enough room on the blog for their mistakes.

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  16. 2:58 Anonymous said...
    "Stevens is a jockey. His words were transcribed by Pedulla. Jesus Christ, it's not that hard to figure out."

    So Pedulla was called in to translate because he speaks "jockish?" Jesus Christ, your explanation is just as lame.

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  17. That letter went out to a lot of people. I'm in finance and got the email from a user. Someone just shared it here.

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  18. 2:58 Transcribed would mean Pedulla simply wrote down, verbatim, what Stevens said.

    In this case, however, it appears that Pedulla basically ghost-wrote the story. Is that what happened?

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  19. Jeez, jim. What do you THINK happened. That's exactly the case and no one is confused but you.

    "As told to."

    How is that fuzzy?

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  20. Fuzzy is when USA Today publishes articles that carry misleading if not outright false bylines.

    But, hey: This is the new USAT sports, right?

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  21. Jim there are major problems at Gannett. But insteadof ever being on top of things -- Hillkirk leaving, Rudd leaving, Susie and Hunke being replaced -- you troll around for these absurd Romenesko Lite gotchas.

    If Gannett was not writing it's own terrible drama despitebyour efforts, this blog would be an even bigger joke.

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  22. 10:31 What's the address for your blog about Gannett? Sounds like it might be an interesting read.

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  23. It does not "appear" that Pedulla ghosted it because it's in the first person, from Stevens' perspective. Did you even read the fucking thing, or did you just jump to conclusions?

    For fuck's sake Jim, I know you have a mental block when it comes to sports, and that's fine, but you are being obtuse on purpose here, just like the time you called Joe Torre, when he was the field manager, an "executive" of the Los Angeles Dodgers, even though that was patently false. The Dodgers list their executives and field managers ARE NOT FUCKING EXECUTIVES. I'm not sure if you ever owned up to fucking that up or not.

    You don't like sports. You don't understand sports. That's fine. But you are being deliberately obtuse about the Stevens thing. Either that or you're just fucking stupid, which obviously isn't the case because you usually come across like a bright enough guy. Unless you deal with anything sports related, then the bitter old Jim comes out.

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  24. Also, there is nothing, NOTHING, misleading about how they addressed the way the story is written, except for the way you attributed it in the very first post of this threat. The entire lead-in reads:

    "NBC analyst Gary Stevens is a former jockey who won the Kentucky Derby with Winning Colors (1988), Thunder Gulch (1995) and Silver Charm (1997) during a Hall of Fame career that extended from 1979 to 1999. He shares his analysis of the 138th Run for the Roses with USA TODAY Sports' Tom Pedulla:"

    Again, nothing misleading about this at all, and it's written in the first person. It's clear everything is coming from Stevens and it was transcribed by Pedulla. They attributed what they needed to attribute, much like you do when you write a blog post and attribute something to such illustrious, anonymous posters such as "8:16 a.m." or "10:24 p.m."

    Except, you know, this has more credibility and you know exactly where everything is coming from, unless you are a complete fucking Mongo.

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  25. 10:31, you think there was advance notice for all these changes?! Hunke was shooting his mouth about "retiring' for a week, but these were all force outs by you know who. That's why there have been no replacements named.

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  26. Jim....you are such as ass. You used to be good.

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  27. Digital media is in the midst of a flight to quality, one that will only accelerate as pay walls take hold. You see it now in the relative success of the NYT and WSJ in attracting paying readers, yes even in print as well as online.

    Gannett never was well positioned to win readers, advertisers and revenue based on quality of product. It has been a marketing and distribution success, not a journalistic one, though for a time USA Today came close. The five-year or so descent in quality and readability of USA Today, as well as most community papers, effectively deals Gannett out of the future of journalism publishing, whether with pixels or print. It is sad, unnecessary and devastating to tens of thousands of employees and their families including those yet laboring at the company. But the course is set, and Ms. Martore is particularly unequipped to provide the leadership required to change course. There will be no product improvement, only a steepening glide slope of revenue losses until this company can no longer stay aloft. She knows no other way than the path she is leading this company along. The company is, in a sense, cursed by its past success at wringing profits from its assets at impossible-to-reproduce margins.

    Sorry, but that is the truth. The board of directors is complicit, and the die has been cast.

    The remaining questions are how much time the company has left, and why certain Wall Street and institutional investors continue to maintain a glimmer of hope that the downward spiral can flatten out and begin a mild reversal. Most probably are simply trading in hopes short-term price fluctuations will reward their particular investment strategies and timing, or seeking the dividend payouts. Certainly no one familiar with the operations of this company's highest levels, or a more than casual reader of its products, believes the path will reverse or that success is possible at current levels of product reinvestment. Mr. Buesse’s sports project is a pipe dream and sucker’s game that Mr. Hunke and Ms. Martore signed on with because they simply knew no viable alternative. The company still makes substantial profits, giving her and the board ample cash flow to make choices such as this and the stock repurchase program.

    Sniping at workers, whether from above or at each other, offers only a distraction from these facts that is beneficial to management and provides some entertainment value to disinterested parties.

    I wish it were not so.

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  28. We all have daily problems like the byline Jim is questioning, but none of the rest of us put out a paper with the second highest circ. in America, so I'm not complaining about that as a topic.
    But really, Thursday night we had a four+ hour shutdown that nearly kept papers from being published. This was a disaster that ranks with all the layoffs because of a front-end system that just doesn't work right and wastes so much of our time every night.

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  29. When will USA Today get a new editor and a new publisher? Is no one interested? Or will Maryam Banikarim think she can do both?

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  30. 10:31 pm - is Susie Ellwood leaving? Hope not, that would be a loss.

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    1. Really? What three things has she accomplished at USAT since she arrived?

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  31. Dubow successfully fends off a neighbor's attempted excess! Imagine that... him being upset about excess.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/versailles-type-mansion-in-great-falls-upended-by-lawsuit/2012/05/04/gIQAn2YT2T_story.html

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  32. 11:02 F this and F that. Really? You can't write onto a blog with some professionalism? And Jim...with all you delet from here you let THAT go?

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  33. 9:23 I second that
    why do i want to go on a blog that has FUCK, FUCK, FUCK everywhere!!!!
    i say FUCK I'm out of here!

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  34. You notice as you log into NewsGate it scrolls through all the usernames? What kind of craptacular programming a)requires that or b)dumps that to the screen? We're only halfway through the rollout, so when all 3500 users are in the database? We'll never be able to fit 10 log in attempts in a shift.

    I believe it's a conspiracy from the Denmark-based CCI... start the log in and you have time to go eat a Danish.

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  35. The Buesse Bullies are spewing a lot of hate here.

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  36. Jim, I usually take your side. But you're making a mountain out of a molehill on the sports byline. Any reader with any shred of intelligence knows it's an 'as told to/collaboration/ghost job, etc. ...' Whatever you call it, it's the same thing and it's been a popular journalism convention since the beginning of time. Most readers -- or at least those with brains larger than a Tic Tac -- realize that the ex-jock didn't sit down at a computer and attempt to write an article.

    No, it's not a literal translation of what the ex-jock said, and you know that. Of course the writer (if he's any good) provided some 'hamburger helper' here. You expect an ex-jock to actually be able to write? If it were that easy, there would be less demand for our skills than there is already.

    In other areas of journalism, Jim, (and some of those as practiced by Gannett properties), the byline doesn't even mention the editorial ghost/collaborator. I'm sure that sort of thing would really have your knickers tied up in a knot. But top newsstand magazines -- some of the most respected ones in the world -- do the same exact thing. No big deal.

    In the end, it's about providing a product that's appealing to readers, not the most purest of journalism ethics school marms.

    Besides: What's the real difference between a celeb/jock/newsmaker talking to a reporter for an hour, and then the reporter taking the best of the discussion and turning it into a cohesive article that accurately conveys the subject's perspective -- while not presenting what would be literal translation (that would be painful to read) -- and having a line editor practically rewrite a reporter's badly written story but still keep the reporter's byline on it, accepting no credit for the write-through.

    Obviously Jim, the latter happens ALL the time. But I'm sure you'd have no problem with that. The age-old celebrity byliner is just a degree or two separated from that very scenario.

    Oh, P.S. Jim: Those speeches that politicians give? They don't actually write those either. Kennedy never sat down at a typewriter and banged out ... "ask not what you can do ..." Sorry to break that to you.

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  37. Perusing the web and came across this hed, on a Gannett site:

    Edited by Sharon HF

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  38. Dubow is finally a winner at something other than incompetence, short selling stock pickers and stealing money from his employer.

    Way to go Craig. Your mansion filled neighborhood is safe from tyranny.

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  39. Obviously it was Hunke's choice to bail when he did...otherwise, Martore would have had a successor in place.

    No CEO would allow the Naiton's Newspaper to be without a Publisher. It's embarrassing to the media community, advertisers, wall street, everyone.

    Whatever criticism you have of Hunke, he got fed up with Corporate the same way Moon did, and he quit.

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  40. Jim, what's up with your blog? The last comment on this thread is from 9:23 a.m. Are you running on Newsgate now?

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  41. 1:43 I'm reading comments before they publish, something I often do on Saturdays. That creates a lag.

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  42. Great post 11:52 p.m. A dream (pipe) of Buesse's is to put high school sports on a national website with real articles, features, etc.
    Only problem is the interest in high school sports is local. Nobody from New Jersey gives a crap about some hoops player from St. Louis. Nobody from St. Louis gives a crap about a hoops player from New Jersey. And on and on and on.
    Got it, Buesse Boy??!!!!! This dream (pipe) will join the Gannett Graveyard of Failed Initiatives.

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  43. Buesse, Morgan, give it a rest. You have become boorish.

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  44. OK...I follow the Gannett blog on a regular basis...as a previous AD who fought tooth and nail for every dollar to increase revenue for Gannett...the tipping point was 2006 and all hell broke loose...like a group publisher (who has since retired...and the rumor was she had a nice sized bottle in her desk) pounding on my desk demanding revenue during a two minute 'meeting'. But the trend has been to eliminate the core of the ad departments, reduce the quality of the news team through layoffs, and hope that things improve.

    Reviewing the latest ABC audit for the newspaper I lived for, the circ is down 50%?...really?...instead of 44k Sunday homes the number is now 20K?...really?...it is shocking...it is a slippery slope that SOMEONE needs to recognize...so sad that the EBIT is driving the future of a company so many have worked hard to be successful...and then
    what is telling at the top, the pay and bonuses are growing...and who is this chick in charge of USA Today's advertising?...Question: How many clients does she make sales calls on each each week?...my thoughts are that at the number should be 20...and Starbucks doesnt count...

    So sad that GCI forced out the sales folk like Don Stinson and others who knew how to bring results. At times he was frank and honest with me, but it was a true team effort. He NEVER pounded on my desk and walked out. He gave us tools to do our sales jobs effeciently...but then he probably didnt have a bottle in his top drawer.

    I'm so sad.

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  45. Hunke did not leave of his own accord, no matter how you spin his six months as chairman and Sept. departure. He'd done enough damage during. His brief tenure, from destroying circulation and sitting blindly while advertising dried up, to incredible bad bets on Heather Crank and Rudd Davis, to the newsroom transformation and Hillkirk's promotion, to the inexplicable hiring and promotion of unqualified managers. The Sports reorganization and morale busting jobs reapplication process that people still are adding through was the icing on the cake.

    It's doubtful the organization will get on track editorially until a true,veteran newsroom leader is hired. The digital operation is also a disaster and needs editorial savvy and leadership.

    Even then, who is going to unwind the massive, bloated management teams Hunke is responsible for?

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  46. Important “Nine Rules for New Media” update now available:

    RULE 5: PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE, FOR LOSERS
    As George Jackson wrote, “Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it’s cowardice” and nothing says that more than waiting to launch paywalls that Gannett now says will result in more than $100 million in new revenue, a delay that alone cost countless jobs.

    Anyone who says patience rules in a new media world is patronizing and inept.

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  47. The CCI NewsGate disaster is what anyone who still cares about the printed product should care mmat about

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  48. No one in the history of Gannett has done more damage, destroyed brands, lied to staff, ruined careers and hired incompetents than Dave Hunke.

    Good riddance. Amazing that this man can actually look at himself in the mirror and show his face in the Crystal Palace as the clock ticks off his "chairmanshit"

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  49. 4:23 pm speaking of bloated - what happens to Hunke's brilliant employee engagement manager? will all of Angela Phillips effective and impactful engagement successes be eliminated?

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  50. 4:40 who would ever consider working with you bunch of ungrateful people at USA Today. Like has been posted before she's moved on. You can only do so much with what you're given. Others do work hard you're not the only one. Who can blame her and good for her for recognizing the culture and attitudes weren't going to change. Stop making accusations before you know backgrounds and loyalty. You're doing the the same spiteful spewing that you accuse others of and don't even have your facts right. Grow up and respect others that contribute to the company.

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  51. Dave, you're not making much sense. Hitting the sauce again?

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  52. Oh that's rich 11:24. Defending the employee engagement director by pointing out that you, sorry - SHE, recognized culture wasn't going to change.

    Wasn't the whole purpose of the position to change the culture? So if she didn't change the culture, she didn't contribute to the company.

    Then again, we have roughly 28 veeps in charge of revenue and that's rolling along just swell too.

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  53. Phillips moved to GPS

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  54. We have two kinds of execs at Gannett. The first (Hunke) tries to do something but doesn't have the skills or foresight and screws them up. The other, Maryam, does nothing, spends time promoting herself and never moves the brand forward. Either way, we're f*cked.

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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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