Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hubs | How Montgomery got Pensacola's comics

In a column today, Executive Editor Wanda Lloyd explains how The Montgomery Advertiser's readers found themselves staring at a page full of unfamiliar comics on Monday:

It took me about an hour to backtrack and realize that our new process with designers in Nashville, Tenn., and copy editors in Montgomery somehow left a window for an error that led to a page of comics intended for another newspaper — the News-Journal in Pensacola — instead of our normal page.


  1. Pensacola - Montgomery. Who HASN'T made that mistake?

    And we all know that while News and Weather and Sports are important parts of a newspaper . . . you screw with the COMICS and all hell breaks loose.

    Let's get on the ball, Nashville! Time's a-wastin'!!

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  4. Because consolidation is such a good idea. ... expect this to happen more often as more sites migrate to the hubs.

  5. Jim, thanks for the link to the column. Looks like they had other troubles that week, as well.

    It's been interesting to read what other sites are experiencing with the hubs, and Newsgate, especially since my site launches soon.

  6. I know the copy editors don't even see the comics page at my shop. Wonder if it's the same at Montgomery. Cause if they don't, it sure sounds like they are taking some of the blame for the screwup.

  7. I wonder if the consolidated wire desk at Des Moines will cut down on errors. I know it will add to the cookie-cutter effect we're seeing at the USCP papers. Instead of one wire person at each hub, there'll be a wire desk at Des Moines. The desk will ship us a list of 50 wire stories from which we can choose each day. Still unclear whether we'll be able to pull from the AP wire, move it into Newsgate and substitute it for stories on the list.

  8. It's just a matter of time until all papers have the exact same comic page with just room on top for the local newspaper header.

  9. Come on guys. This is a work in process of course there are going to be mishaps along the way.

  10. No comments on her column? Really? They must have disabled it for that story, knowing what the reaction would be.

  11. What I've heard about the DUHsign hubs is that they spend a disproportionate amount of time on the larger papers. The smaller ones are thrown together, and if the locals don't like it, too bad.

  12. Bottom line is, readers definitely don't like their comics screwed with.

    It's bad enough that Gannett employees suffer with stultifying corporate folly, but it's worse when it becomes transparent to the reader more and more.

    Worse, but not exactly new. At my site when it was still fairly autonomous, the execs at least had enough respect for their readers to poll the readership regarding which comics they liked and which they didn't, and then gave them a selection of ones they'd like to see in place of the ones they disliked.

    It wasn't rock science: it was respect.

    Boy, did things change when those execs were replaced. The new group dropped comics and columnists alike with no notice whatsoever, including some comics that scored very high on the preferred list (of which I am sure these "professionals" were totally ignorant since their egos had no room left for such plebeian concerns).

    Naturally, the phones lit up. Duh. Who could have seen that coming, something the previous group of execs had mostly avoided by soliciting feedback from the readers balanced with business decisions?

    But like a lot of other issues the new execs evidently didn't care about -- not one of whom were local anymore -- they certainly didn't care about the phones. After all, they didn't have to take the calls all day long.

    At any rate, I guess they solved that problem some time back, didn't they: laying off the phone people and just contracting out to a call center.

    And didn't Gannett recently just shut one of those down because, surprise, it didn't need it anymore since the calls dropped off --courtesy of a readership becoming a former readership?

    Way to keep that community connection! Stay the course -- since the course is just to make themselves even richer no matter who they run over: staff or reader.

  13. ad services place the comics in some places. copy desk still checks before page is printed by design studio


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