An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
USA Today Sports Media Group Editor in Chief Dave Morgan says in an interview with the Sherman Report that the Sports Department reorganization that resulted in 15 layoffs "isn’t a cost-cutting exercise. We’re probably adding 20 positions over where we started.”
He said that in the meeting with the sports staff.
For only $15/month access through a paywall, fans of Florida State sports can be treated to such stellar ebonics-friendly prose as in today's lede:"GREENSBORO, N.C. — They had the best regular season of anyone in the country.But man was this is an ACC Tournament to forget for the No. 1 Florida State baseball team."
9:37, thanks for sharing. Ugh! Yet another "value added, transformational" service to readers that resulted from letting young 'uns do big people's work. As the poster remarked in the prior thread, those of us who are actual professionals really are living in a parallel universe these days.
From Morgan's interview in the Sherman Report: “This is about us resetting our priorities and redefining our roles going forward,” he said.Oh my god, how many times have we heard that at various sites over the years? Isn't that the definition of insanity, saying the same thing over and over and expecting different results?
Re: Jim @ 6:22AMMan that's going to make the 15 people who lost their jobs feel like shit. Would it have been unreasonable for USAT to offer those 15 people a chance to apply for one of the 20+ new positions? Since it's not "cost cutting" move I'm sure salaries and benefits will be as good for the new positions as they were for the old ones.
It will be interesting to note the ages and experience of the people who replace the fired USA Today sports staffers. I'll bet they'll be much younger and cheaper ... does Virginia have age discrimination laws?
Virginia is a right to work state, and you can be canned at any time for no reason. All that bull about new hires...they will likely be part-timers with zero benefits or full-timers making $30K or so a year with crappy benefits.It's the new business model for journalism. We all have to accept that very, very few news outlets will produce quality journalism and will pay people like professionals. I am looking for work outside of journalism and hope you are too if you want to feed your family.
1:42 PM About time someone tells it like it is. As my daddy use to say, "boy, you get what you pay for". I have know idea how the CD of this company every fit that model because we sure as hell didn't get what we paid for with him and his kind that are "running" the place now.
11:42 As I read Morgan's interview, every Sports Department employee -- including the 15 who eventually didn't make the cut -- was considered when they filled the 90 newly-redefined jobs.For reasons that haven't been made public, those 15 were deemed insufficiently qualified for any of the 90 jobs.Although Morgan doesn't say so directly, I have to believe a factor was cost. Those 15 were likely among the higher-paid staffers in the department. There's no way that Morgan would move any of them into a new job that paid less than what they were already earning; that would be bad HR practice.My impression of the Morgan-Beusse-Kramer plan is this: Hire a few big-name columnists/journalists who can write with a big voice/personality on a few key subjects -- all to create buzz for the paper.The rest of the new hires will be reporters and editors who can bang out lots and lots of text/video/photo/audio so the online sports front is constantly fresh.And because they've all been hired by Beusse/Morgan, they're loyalty/commitment will be more assured.
Beusse inspires loyalty from no one. imperial leaders never inspire by fear and condenscending style.
You're so right, 2:25 p.m. Ask anyone in Cincinnati.
Jim: the "bad HR practice" occurred at some of the USCP sites in the wake of similar reorganiztions in the past year or two. A former colleague who was in an editing spot at FT landed one of the lower-paid reporting jobs during that site's "transformation". However, I think your analysis is spot-on.
Jim's analysis of Morgan's plan is right onUSA TODAY let go some competent but very high paid veterans who didnt move the needle. Look for him to hire a couple of big-name reporters/columnists, like posnanski, to shake things up. Don't be surprised if more of the Yahoo Sports talent ends up at USA TODAY.
I sure hope Chris Chase makes the jump from Yahoo. The comments on those columns alone would make the paywall worth it.
This interview just does not ring true. Mr. Non was a specialist in MMA. He was Web savvy and conducted live blogs during every major UFC match. Those live blogs were quite active. His blog and Twitter account was a must follow for a very valuable demographic group - males 18 - 35. He was a recognized expert in MMA, broke stories, produced special sections and was quick with Web updates following the matches. Quicker on the trigger than MMAJunkie.His writing was authoritative and better than the competition - yahoo and espn. Something does not add up here.
Pointroll townhall this week.
In Des Moines, the A and B sections looked horrible today. More Newsgate problems, or something else?
Regarding Non and MMA, during Morgan's tenure at Yahoo he beefed up the MMA coverage and brought in a lot of guys who generated a lot of traffic. When Morgan left, the new regime at Yahoo cleaned house and cleared out a lot of those MMA writers (some of whom are top of the field). If I had to wager, I'd bet on Morgan bringing at least one of those guys over.
It make's no sense that the Palm Springs paper replaced all their single copy drivers with a private contractor. This is more of the one size fits all mentality that Gannett seems to like. Palm Springs and the surrounding area is a highly transient area. There are many gated affluent communities where there are part time residents. When people first arrive they often don't have any idea who or what is the local newspaper. Before they could find the number of the paper on the side of the trucks as they drove threw the area. Now with private contractors driving there own vehicles that is just more missed opportunity to grow circulation. The only money they saved was by not maintaining a small fleet of vehicles. That cost was more than offset by the service and advertising those drivers, and vehicles provided. If the goal is to increase circulation then they may want to rethink their strategy. On the other hand if they just want to reduce employment they should stay with the private distribution model where they replaced good employees that had loyalty to the Paper with a bunch of amateurs that could care less about customer service and only about making a few extra bucks.
You all make it sound like there are low paid reporters at USAT. Your theories fall apart when you compare W2s
http://www.freep.com/videonetwork/1655170911001?odyssey=mod|tvideo|articleYou can see the new sports department at USAT is starting to create some hard hitting and improving content.
Okay 10:32PM, that flat out sucks. Which must mean that USAT is very proud of it. I'm sure there was nothing fake about those women or the sport. Nudity clauses are common in all pro sports. Aren't they? Every time this company has turned some kind of a corner and is getting better I'm proved wrong. What an embarrassment.
8:31: After nine years at USAT I was making 44k. I guess it's up to you to decide if that's low. My next job after leaving was at a 48% pay increase.
left after 9 years at USA Today and made over 40K a year once. Overpaid, not really.
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I cant think of one yahoo sportswriter who moves the needle. Its not a destination site for me cause of the perceived talent. Morgan and Beusse can turnover staff all they like, though. This is a template Gannett papers have employed for years.
It really is about nickels sometimes. Switched from an employee driver to a contractor. They were hoping that the employee took benefits, but that was not the case, so showing that savings didn't work. The driver making $11 couldn't afford the benefits. But, it was still decided that going to contractor would take off liability.
11:30 You make have a point. They save money by dropping Workers comp and auto insurance. It is still debatable whether that actually off sets the loss of revenue from the lack of visibility by not having the trucks advertising the paper on the roads. I agree with you that the 9-11.00 hr driver received few benefits especially when most of them were part time employees.
Dang, Jim, you got it right.As for Sergio and MMA coverage -- I actually wouldn't expect a Yahoo writer to come over. Kevin Iole, who's terrific, surely isn't looking to move. I think they figure they can cover MMA with MMAJunkie.com and occasional freelance help. They figure MMA fans aren't reading print, so as long as they have a fantastic MMA blog (which Junkie is), they're set.Not saying I agree with that. Sergio was terrific.
12:40 Of all the 15 USAT Sports layoffs last week, the one that's most striking involves that of reporter/blogger Sergio Non.Non built up the paper's mixed martial arts coverage into a significant presence.MMA became so important that USAT Sports Media Group bought MMAjunkie.com in November -- a purchase that made me wonder at the time about the future of USAT's site under Non.Given Non's experience building a site nearly from scratch, one would think he would be just the sort of person USAT Sports would want in its new operation -- someone obviously tech savvy. (It wouldn't hurt that he would have continued adding to staff diversity, too).And yet, he's gone. Why?
And it's not just Sergio. The AE and online producer assigned to MMA have been re-assigned. The original MMA beat writer left in 2010, though he freelances on occasion. So they're down from about 3-4 people with a hand in it at any given time to none.Junkie's great, but I don't know that they expected or wanted this.
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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