Monday, May 07, 2012

May 7-13 | Your News & Comments: Part 1

Can't find the right spot for your comment? Post it here, in this open forum. Real Time Comments: parked here, 24/7. (Earlier editions.)

67 comments:

  1. Hey, corporate people. This is an honest question, and an honest answer would be appreciated.

    The message from what's been done in Sports is that anyone, no matter how long they have worked for Gannett, no matter how well they have performed, can be summarily kicked out by forcing them to re-apply for their jobs, and then turning them down for the position.

    Gracia, who has refused to condemn this practice, has tacitly said that this could happen any time, and anywhere, in Gannett.

    So here's the question: Why would any rational person want to have a career with Gannett? Certainly, anyone who plans to have a family and pay a mortgage can't rely on the company.

    Or does the company think "career" is a quaint term that is relegated to the scap heap of history? Is Gannett now purely for someone who wants journalism experience before moving into a job with a more honorable company? If not, can you explain why?

    ReplyDelete
  2. 10:43 I believe the reference here is to USA Today's sports news department, where staffers have been told they must reapply for work.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jim: Quite right.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I don't know too many people these days who do want a career with Gannett. But for those of us who are already with the company, especially those of us who are middle-aged (with a lot of good years left in us), it's not that easy to find comparable employment in this economy, and in an environment where the ability to work with words has been severely devalued. So we stick with our jobs, putting out feelers whenever possible, and just hope we find something better before the ax falls on our heads.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Martore does not give a shit about you or how her lackeys treat you. Understand that. Get over it. I try to let it not affect my work, but it's hard.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great question, and one that's on the mind of every single remaining employee.

    Unfortunately, I think we all also know the answer.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Even Tom Brokaw says White House Correspondents' dinner hurting the press…he’s right.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2012/may/6/brokaw-white-house-correspondents-dinner-hurting-p/

    ReplyDelete
  8. We have a large Gannett newspaper in our community that seems determined to self-implode.
    People joke about it because the paper's policies change constantly.
    My question(s): Did Gannett start folding up its print operations prematurely? Might better management have allowed GCI to extract higher print-related products while developing equally profitable on-line products?
    From what's been done in my town, it would seem that Gannett is doing everything it can to stamp out what's left of newspapers without having anything else of value to offer.
    In our town, Gannett keeps giving away business to local weeklies and shoppers -- weeklies and shoppers that seem to be prospering. Zoned editions arrived with wild-eyed enthusiasm only to disappear several months later. An entertainment edition popped up for awhile and is now gone. Many other products targeting things like moms, seniors and college students have come and gone. And then there was the chicken deal thing...something about coupons, I think.
    That said, I was surprised to find out that the vast majority of CURRENT GCI income comes from print, not on-line. My friends, mostly baby boomers, seem puzzled by the paper's lack of interest in them. Many are frustrated and are switching their allegiance to weeklies, shoppers and specialty publications...turf Gannett seems so eager to surrender.
    I'm not a journalist, but it seems that GCI is missing a leader with a broad understanding of ALL the information areas in this dynamic market. GCI seems myopic, with all its leaders running to one side of the boat depending upon how the wind blows.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes you are correct.

      Delete
  9. So what is next for local journalism? I want to spend my money on some real local journalism. This is all moving to the free content model, basically what broadcast turned into many years back. Just keep pumping out the garbage and keep the advertisers happy and entertain the idiots who are left. I don't buy a paper for the ads or coupons. I want disruptive reporting that changes the game. I don't see any of that anymore. Once the papers, TV, and the Internet converge into a cesspool of time wasters for old people, where do the consumers of journalism go? What comes after the death of local journalism?

    ReplyDelete
  10. 12:11 again. I just feel like the content I am reading is of such a low quality, that it should be free. I want to pay for well written journalism and disruptive news, but I don't see anything like that in my local paper. Half of this stuff has some strange feel to it like it is propaganda, or maybe hidden advertising. I just can't spend money on this anymore on principle. I want to spend my money making the world a better place through journalism, but this is a poor value proposition. Where do I go support people who are digging up dirt on the crooks in power? Are they really gone?

    ReplyDelete
  11. The Media Network of Central Ohio (10 of Gannett's smallest dailies in Ohio) won 84 general awards and five general excellence awards Sunday at APSO. We had a clean sweep of general excellence in Division I with Fremont taking top honors followed by Port Clinton and Coshocton. Mansfield and Marion also placed in general excellence for their divisions.

    Here’s a summary.

    Division 3
    Mansfield: 14 awards with 3 first place and third place for general excellence.
    Newark: 15 with 4 first place.
    Zanesville: 4

    Division 2:
    Chillicothe: 8 with 2 first place.
    Lancaster: 10 with 4 first place.
    Marion: 5 with 1 first place and second place for general excellence

    Division 1
    Bucyrus: 7 with one 1 first place.
    Coshocton: 8 with 4 first place and third place for general excellence
    Fremont: 11 with 4 first place and first place for general excellence
    Port Clinton: 2 with one first place and second place for general excellence

    ReplyDelete
  12. Go and check to see how well Florida Today's paywall is working out. They've struggled so much, the paywall has been suspended, allowing everyone "unlimited access" for what they say is the next 30 days.

    The sad thing though is that they have not informed all those folks who purchased digital access when the paywall was put up that they've now suspended what they are paying for. Refunds anyone?

    And the big question is, how does this fit with the master corporate paywall mandate?

    ReplyDelete
  13. The crystal palace has a serious diversity issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, how about a "mostly unqualified" issue.

      Delete
  14. Jim,
    Please address the NewsGate issue w/ corporate. Hound them for updates until they are forced to admit they have installed a POS system that is only making things worse and ask them when they are going to fix it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Winning awards used to matter.
    Now ,not worth the effort to print the awards.A thing of the past!
    Does it mean you will not be laid off tomorrow?
    No!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Congrats to the papers in Ohio, which seem to still be trying despite four or more years of beat-downs from corporate. My site's operations are so slipshod and shorthanded that we didn't even enter a major regional press contest this year. The deadline came and went before anyone realized it....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Does anyone know if Carl Lovern is still with the Ohio papers?

      Delete
  17. So it's Monday morning and still no word of the Newsgate meltdown of last week. It was big and bad enough for them to put off the planned upgrade for Sunday, but still no word for the peons who toiled on and got the freakin' papers out, against all odds.

    I guess it will take a night of no newspapers printing to get noticed.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Awards from outside of the newspaper (or should I say print product)are nice. But to really count it needs to be a well respected national award, like a Pulitzer, to help you get a job outside of Gannett.

    In-house awards? Who cares? I learned a long time ago those awards are just desk accessories.
    All you can do is take pride in your own work.

    Remember the guy at the Asbury Park Press who was the employee of the year, then got laid off a few months later?

    We are just commodities to be disposed of when no longer needed. It is such a shame no matter your age.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm sitting here at work today watching as two senior execs try to make a decision on who should attend a sales call. It's actually very funny if it weren't so sad.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Congratulations to The Media Network of Central Ohio on their 84 general awards and 5 excellence awards won Sunday at APSO. Too bad winning all those awards doesn't guarantee job security!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I can't wait for the day Gannett closes up print operations in my area. People still want a quality News Paper but Gannett is ignoring them. When Gannett gets out there still will be plenty of demand for a real Newspaper. There are Papers in the area just waiting to swoop in. Those idiots running this Newspaper are the joke of the business community.

    ReplyDelete
  22. At most, USA TODAY, or any Gannett property, should be considered a pitstop in one's career - nothing more than something to put on your resume. I would not recommend thinking that working at USAT/Gannett will provide you the stability to put down roots, buy a house, raise a family. There was a time when maybe that could be done, but those days are gone.

    Use the company the way it uses us. Stay for a few years and then get out and onto something better and more secure. Don't come here expecting any sort of loyalty. USAT has gotten rid of some of its most loyal and dedicated employees. It will get rid of you too.

    Don't be naive. Don't get trapped or wait until it's too late to get out. Plan your exit strategy the day you're hired or face the consequences.

    In this business, which openly age discriminates, I would not stay at Gannett beyond 40 years old. In fact, if you can leave the business entirely, you'll be happier from mid career to retirement. If you wait until USAT/Gannett starts pushing your buttons, you're going to find yourselves trapped between a rock and a hard place.

    USAT/Gannett betrayed too many people in recent years. Even if you're young or a new hire, and think you're treated reasonably well, think again. Nothing is what it appears to be here. You will be discarded the second you are perceived to be too old, or a malcontent, or behind the tech times. It doesn't matter how hard you work or how skilled you are, when USAT/Gannett wants you out, they won't hesitate to make up whatever lies suits their needs.

    Look, I don't mean to sound totally paranoid, but this is a toxic company filled with liars, cheats and backstabbing a-holes. This didn't happen overnight. The culture here breeds these kinds of leaders which in turn creates a lot of anxiety and a general feeling of not being on firm ground. What's changed lately is that the corporate sickness has spread to USAT. So moving up to the flagship is no longer an escape from the longtime cut-throat ways of small Gannett papers.

    This company is a mess. I would recommend avoiding working here entirely, but understand that you got to take what you can get in this still slumping job market. Just don't plan to stay here too long. Very few retire from USAT / Gannett or leave with a smile on their faces anymore. It's almost a certainly that if you stay here too long, your career all come to a very unpleasant end.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Oh, har: I just saw a comment on another thread where someone referred to NewsGate as NooseGate.

    Is that new, or has it already been making the rounds?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Warren Buffett says the future of newspapers is bright if they are in areas with a sense of community but the profits will be "nothing like the old days." So, why is Gannett's leadership hell-bent on keeping high profit margins and butchering the newsroom staffs whose coverage builds a sense of community? I'd bet on Buffett as an investor over Gannett any day. No wonder Gannett stock is just treading water.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/9248362/Warren-Buffett-tells-Omaha-gathering-he-may-buy-more-newspapers.html

    ReplyDelete
  25. Why are you all still working at Gannett?You will just end up being layed off.

    ReplyDelete
  26. So many stupid people ,why don't you get a new job?
    You will just be laid off.Why are you so stupid?

    ReplyDelete
  27. Howdy from an EROP-er! So far so good - loving the lower-stress, more-personal-time lifestyle, which allows me to read up a bit.

    So, how's Gannett doing, from an outside perspective? Barron's top-500 cash-flow based ROI chart is out. Gannett is #378, down from #294 in 2011. Barron's gives Gannett these grades: 3-year median a B, 2011 median a D and sales growth for 2011 an F. Its "GPA" is 1.33.

    For fun: Thompson-Reuters is #111, CC Media Holdings is #174, Newscorp is #433, Gannett partner Yahoo is #475; and Frontier Communications is #492.

    Under the heading of "but wait, there's more," Gannett must be good for business if you're in the health-care industry. UnitedHealth Group is #37, with grades of A,A,C and a "GPA" of 3.33. LabCorp is #136, graded A,C,C and a "GPA" of 2.67; and CVS/Caremark is #278, graded at B,F,B and a "GPA" of 2.00.

    General blog observation: quitcherbitchin (most comments appear to come from the Department of Redundancy Department, and we know to not repeat ourselves repeatedly). Please share more NEWS out of the operation(s) and about the people. Thanks!

    OK, that's enough for now. Whooo-hoo!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Funny to see that after I left the place hasn't changed. Sorry for all you hard working employees!

    ReplyDelete
  29. 12:01 nailed it.

    Why would anyone consider working for a company where the policy makes almost everyone reapply for their jobs? on top of furloughs and layoffs.

    Only the uninspired, incompetent and self abusive.
    We have too many of those types at Gannett now.

    ReplyDelete
  30. There was a moment of silence today when Dave Hunke learned his hero, Goober, passed away.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Congrats Ohio! You guys get collective immunity on the next round of RIFs.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Pointroll has been awfully quiet. What's going on there?

    ReplyDelete
  33. 5/07/2012 12:01 PM So well said and great advice. The problem I keep encountering from head hunters and a few interviewers as I look for something outside Gannett is that the company and USA Today names are synonymous with mediocrity and poor quality. It's a goose egg on my resume that sticks out and labels me before I even get a shot.

    ReplyDelete
  34. It says a lot about a company when its employees immediately suspect it of ulterior motives. This was my case as well. I saw re-applying as a corporate setup, a means by which the company could get out of paying "transitional severance" by merely firing one from one's new position, especially when it was offered with no change to one's wages -- something they were trying to get rid of. Quite the easy step to "Sorry, you're just not working out in your new job." Bingo! No transitional pay incurred! Having witnessed despicably inhumane "gotcha's" over the years (especially beginning around 2007) with others, I went from being a naive company cheer leader to a disgusted eye witness. Just for reference for the current crop of folks having to "re-apply:" the response at my site was nearly universal: "Re-apply? Yeah. So you can fire me for 'not working out.'" As far as I know most everyone affected then found new employ elsewhere, maybe not in the same field but with a far more ethical company in any case.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Congrats to the Ohio group, but awards really don't mean anything at Gannett. I won a first and a third a couple months after being pushed out the door, and I had led the staff in those areas for most of the last 20 years.
    Use the award to beef up your resume and bail out of that losing company.

    ReplyDelete
  36. So is Appleton's paper getting royalties for mentioning Cory Chisel anytime he does anything?

    Hilarious when they played it up big that his new song debuted on WFUV in NY. Certainly, one of the top stations in NYC (cough, cough).

    ReplyDelete
  37. @ 2:55 PM Business as usual at PointRoll. Layoffs coming soon, not a lot but maybe 6 to 10. Gatto and the gang still running the show. Free Food, Prohibition...not too bad here for this gal.

    Funny how you suckers thought we would get fired. LOL We make money, all you other losers cry on the blog.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Anonymous said...

    Does anyone know if Carl Lovern is still with the Ohio papers?

    5/07/2012 4:50 PM

    He is not. Laid off a year or two ago.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Info for EROP folks ...

    Just got off the phone with company handling pension info. They got the Gannett pension account in March and are still trying to "update everyone's status" before they can send out info.

    My separation statement said I would get a postcard 2-4 weeks after my last day of work. The 4-week mark is May 13.
    The caller said no way they would have it to me by then and could not give me an ETA. Couldn't tell me what info was missing so I could move this along.

    Why would a company switch pension handlers in the midst of an EROP affecting hundreds of people?

    Oh, yeah. It's Gannett.

    ReplyDelete
  40. 3:43 you are full of it. Your scenario is ridiculous. Youa re pontificating to hear yourself talk. Jim I call BS when I see it. It's one thing to have real examples of poor treatment, it's another thing to make it up out of thin air. Have people been let go after having to reapply because of poor performance? I'm sure some have. But it wasn;t part of some cabal to screw people. It was about performance. But the vast majority of folks that reapplied and received offers are either still here, left of their own accord or were part of furute layoffs and received a package.

    ReplyDelete
  41. My intent was to let my pension sit tight until this summer where I would take it in one lump sum and reinvest it somewhere. Yet in the meantime there's been NO contact/response to my moving this forward. Maybe because I was never notified that they switched pension handlers. 5:32 said it: "Oh, yeah. It's Gannett."

    ReplyDelete
  42. A question for Jim i regards to his comment of yesterday at 4:13pm.
    At Florida Today we did indeed get a Publisher from outside Gannett, and if I recall correctly, his background is in finance, not editorial, production or circulation.
    What do you read in to that move?

    ReplyDelete
  43. This afternoon, Susie Ellwood sent out her latest Communication email to the USAT staff. In it, she lauds, "On the social media side of our digital efforts, a great milestone has been reached – our @usatoday Twitter account has just crossed the 300,000 “followers” mark. That is a great accomplishment and a testament to the desire for our users to access your exceptional content from anywhere on any device. At the same time, our main Facebook page now has more than 110,000 fans and our Instagram account has crossed 10,000 followers, a huge increase in the past few months. If you haven’t joined any of these networks yet, now is the time!"

    Susie,
    New York Times' twitter followers number 5 million and Facebook likes are at 2 million.
    Wall Street Journal: 1.6 million / 400,000

    There's a ways to go before I join in on the excitement. Just sayin'. Of course, I didn't crosscheck the Instagram figures, so perhaps we win there with our 10,000.

    ReplyDelete
  44. 6:10 I don't read anything unusual in your new oublisher's background.

    Companies in decline typically favor executives with finance backgrounds. That's why CEO Gracia Martire was promoted from chief financial officer.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Maybe it's BS and maybe it isn't, 5:43. The sad thing is, however, that this company has acted in such a ruthless way to employees that it clearly loathes that this scenario is utterly believable. That's how far the company has sank in the eyes of the once-loyal workforce.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Morticians work cheaper.

    ReplyDelete
  47. 11:03 a.m.: Who from the Asbury Park Press was laid off? If you don't want to release the victim's (note choice of words) name, at please supply his department, title, etc. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Perhaps a last word on Hellgate. Those of us who worked on a standard CCI system prior to the hub fiasco can remember it as a fairly reliable system. Yes, it had shortcomings, but nothing a good designer couldn't overcome. And crashes were rare. Us retirees have long -- and fond -- memories of Atex, SII, SDC, DEC, IBM (yes, Big Blue use to set type), and last, but certainly not least, CSI of Elmsford, NY. NewsGate had incredible promise when It was in early demos. It's obviously still not ready for prime time.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Susie Ellwood's latest "great accomplishment" is only a testament to her ignorance. Seriously? Are you that stupid to try and motivate the masses with this embarrassing milestone? USAT should have hit that great milestone of yours two or three years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  50. 6:10 That is nothing unusual.
    They actually didn't need to bother getting another publisher. Marketing Greg and Stover ran the show.
    Which is the worst of 2 evils.
    1 publisher or two idiots!
    Either way they get paid too much I say lay them off!!!
    Poorly run place anyway!!!!
    Not worth the fluff!

    ReplyDelete
  51. I retired a year ago and haven't received a penny from my pension. I can't even get anyone to tell me how much I will be getting. I think they have Made Off with the money.

    ReplyDelete
  52. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Corporate needs to realize that digital acct executives need to sell digital only and print acct executives need to sell print only. You have print reps struggling to hit their goals because they are doing four legged calls with digital reps.

    ReplyDelete
  54. And how much revenue are all those follows and likes generating?

    ReplyDelete
  55. Why isn't our new media expert and CMO promoting our social media efforts to the masses? She is, after all, on the road, virtual and otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Anyone defending the reapplication process is either a company toady or delusional. Or both. You want to get rid of poor performers? Fire them. Lose high salaries? Offer buyouts. Stop the cynical charade, already. You are destroying the company's image and morale.

    I can't believe management is this ruthlessly inept.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Ellwood is beginning to sound like a master bullshitter. Exceptional content? Hahahahahahaha. Have you spent much time actually reading what's in the paper and web?

    ReplyDelete
  58. Perhaps this is why Susie was not given Hunke's job. Lack of digital understanding? Lack of perspective relative to the marketplace? Her note makes us sound like a 2 year old start-up (Gee, mom look at what I did!) instead of an established national news brand.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Her take on media is no worse than our Chief Marketing Officer. She's shown better people skills than Tom 10 Minutes Beusse. She certainly knows incompetence when she sees it, unlike Dave Hunke.

    ReplyDelete
  60. These rah rah David Colton memos need to be stopped immediately. Talk about amateur hour.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Sandra Block leaving after all the shameless, star making promotion by USA TODAY? Things must be really bad.

    ReplyDelete
  62. I remember all the plaques on the walls and trophy thingies on prominent shelves at my site. News Room. Production. Art Department.

    I also remember such things no longer occurring. In fact, all of them actually removed to gather dust in some storage room, maybe some effort to erase the collective accolades of times past.

    Every single one. Gone. I thought it was odd. Now I know why. No one needed to know this was no longer an award-winning enterprise, either within Gannett which became completely desensitized to journalism, or whether especially outside it in the general profession of media, embracing each of its fields.

    It's bad when one's site, once a leader, its last objective recognition was effing 2005.

    ReplyDelete

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."

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.