Friday, May 25, 2012

USAT | Stop me if you've heard this one before

If the theme of new USA Today Publisher Larry Kramer's memo to the newsroom yesterday sounded familiar across Gannett, here's why.

December 2005
"There no longer is going to be a dot-com newsroom. There no longer is going to be a print newsroom. There is one newsroom,'' says USAT Publisher Craig Moon, announcing the merger of the online and print news staffs.

November 2006
"Formerly we would cover sports to fill a once-a-day sports section in print. Now we concentrate on getting game scores posted online and mobile as fast as possible," says CEO Craig Dubow, announcing a digital-first reorganization of Gannett's more than 80 U.S. community newsrooms.

August 2010
“This significant restructuring reflects USA Today’s evolution from a newspaper company to a multi-platform media company,” says Publisher Dave Hunke, in announcing plans for a "newsroom of tomorrow."

May 14, 2012
"I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to work with this talented team to reinvigorate USA Today’s mission and lay the groundwork for its next 30 years as a leading, multi-platform media brand and content powerhouse,'' says Kramer, in a news release announcing his appointment as the paper's publisher.

"We can no longer operate with a print-first mentality. Stories move 24-7 and we need to move at that same rapid pace,'' Kramer says, in a memo endorsing a Tom Beusse-led Sports Department reorganization, where several veteran reporters were laid off.

Earlier: Beusse, $300 million -- and a big challenge to the "founders."


  1. If any of the small minds running the sites I was at would have followed through on those words, I'd still be working for Gannett.

  2. When lazy ass reporters starting taking 24/7 seriously, we might get somewhere. until then, and editors also start thinking not how to fill the paper, but how to serve the reader, USA today might actually make some of the progress the executives have been bullshitting about to Wall Street.

    There are too many reporters who are rarely in the paper. Why would they even think about web first?

  3. USAT is a mess. No trust, no new ideas, no real leadership. Just speeches and title changes. And plenty of layoffs... Terrible place to work. Terrible product to buy.

  4. Wow. I've heard all those quotes in our local newsroom.

    It's like all the management folks work off the same list of talk topic bullet points. Just like talk radio hosts.

  5. Hard to be 24/7 when 90 percent of the newsroom doesn't work nights and weekends.

  6. 1:20 and 3:14, great posts.

    Too many lazy writers, and still too many people with a 9-to-5 attitude about this game.

  7. 90% of the newsroom isn't working during the day, either. Look who is consistently on the web and in the paper. Bad hires, bad attitudes and bad performance is enabled in News, Money and Life.

  8. Gannett is getting what they pay for with how they treat their employees. Why should an employee go beyond what they have to do for this company?

    If they want them to get away from a 9-5 attitude, then reward them for doing so. Give differential pay to the night and weekend people. Stop with the furloughs.

    Until Gannett shows some loyalty to its workers, the workers aren't going to show loyalty to Gannett. No matter how many empty catchphrases the newest suit decides to spew. Wnat to motivate your staff? Treat them right.

  9. Exactly right 4:00. Gannett and our site have used those same buzzwords, but they've cut staff so much there is nobody around nights and weekends to post anything.
    Remember when we had night cops beats and a couple people on weekends for cops, GA, features?
    We are constantly being beat by TV sites because we don't work those hours anymore.
    The only buzz words Gannett has ever followed through with are "cut the costs."

  10. 4 and 4:36, you should be thinking that journalism is more than a 9 to 5 job. Many of us toiled for years on shitty assignments and shitty hours to learn the business and how to write and report. We knew wages would be shitty, we hoped to get better and hopefully move on and up to better news organizations. If you are looking for bigger bucks and cushier gigs, go into PR. It's exactly your attitude that is helping sink a once noble profession.

    1. True. But when Gannett does so much to undermine our best efforts, it no longer feels worth the fight. I was once willing to work ot for free, and what did it get me? A smaller newsroom, more work, fewer editors and less pay. (Furloughs, anyone?)

  11. Look I was to put in my seven and have a life. Simple as that. Not my problem if management can't get act together. Period.

  12. All this reminds me of a place in a town many years ago. They made the best hamburgers on the planet. Then one day, they thought they had to have chicken dishes, then dabble in other foods. Within a couple of years costs became unbearable for they had to buy lesser quality beef, then lesser quality chicken. The best hamburger place in the world became just another small town neighborhood restaurant. Within the next year, they closed up.

    Digital has it's place, but so does print. If they can't or won't make both the best they can be, sell off the print. There are still many successful print papers and still real newspaper people who can put out a great product.

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  14. There is no reason you can't have a great print and digital product. USA Today has underutilized talent,including editors who must do more than attend meetings and process a couple of stories at the end of the day. Some could actually, gulp, come up with an enterprise story that requires gathering and producing content. Likewise, the digital processors can do the same.

  15. God, just seeing that smug shot of Hunke makes me so angry.

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  17. 11:19 PM: "There are still many successful print papers..."

    Sure. Their top line has collapsed by almost 70%, but they're "successful".

    Them dadburn newfangled horseless carriages — they ain't never gonna catch on, neither, by jiminy.

    America's journalists: on top of every trend!

  18. Poor 7:18...bought into the we must have one OR the other mantra. There are many good newspapers but you'll never hear of them for they don't have the anchor of Gannett or Tribune or any of the other albatrosses kicking them to the side.

    And your "horseless carraige" comment and others like them are irrelevant. Newspapers are newspapers, not anything else. Only they can do what they have done for centuries.

    The day I see a world series pitcher or any other championship team member hold up a tablet proclaiming their win will be the day I stop campaigning for print!

  19. And just how much of that lost revenue is your world series pitcher going to make up?

  20. I'm sorry 5:09, but there were many people who were willing to put up with the lousy hours and the lousy pay. And how did Gannett treat them? Lousy.

    Why kill yourself for a company that doesn't care about you?

  21. 12:04 ... You get hired to work for someone else you accept what comes or leave...or start your own company. I go to work each day wishing this place was like it was when I started but that ain't gonna happen. In my case, there's no place else to go so I kill myself for me. I still take pride in what I do, knowing it's for someone else ultimately. I need to make a living and if I can help this paper last a few more years until maybe I can leave, then good for me.

  22. 12:53 has the right attitude. You do the best job you can for the company or you leave. Take some pride in your work and don't blow things off so your co workers have to take up the slack. Sure there is hypocrisy and bullshit. But it is everywhere.

  23. huge disconnect, Even if we get the news up 24/7. It takes a week to get the ads up and running. Wonderful business plan. Nobody works that slow anymore but online design.

  24. You keep hearing the same old BS because newspapers can't be reinvented. They will never be more than they are today and never as good as they were about 10 years ago.


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