An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
Too bad Gracia controls the budget and she will steam roll Larry even before he lays down on a track!
Larry - like all the others, you will have to pick the low hanging fruit.
What happens to Mrs. Elwood now that she was passed over by Gracia?? I do have a few suggestions............
She was Hunke's pick. She has accomplished absolutely nothing during her time here. She is arrogant and aloof. What role could she possibly play in the months to come? She is like Shultz in Hogan's Heros whenever something bad happens on her watch, "I know nothing! Absolutely nothing!"
Two dozen vice presidents who do....what? Hang em high!
You have to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. USA Today has a stagnant Gannett-inbred culture and could use a major freshening up with outside talent, ideally from the Times and Post. Folks there have a higher price tag, but know how to get it done and would be worth it. The best publications steal talent from their competitors. Happens all the time. I don't see why USA Today shouldn't play that game. If Kramer doesn't get the corporate slack and budget to rejuvenate the paper, then he shouldn't bother staying. And no one could blame him.
I have a feeling he will end up under a BUS rather than a train!
It will be very telling to see how much of the Hunke disaster he works to undo.
What should he undo, 5:21? I'd like to know specifically, to see how much you really know.Don't list vague or non-specific things like "treating employees better." I want to know, with details, what he should undo and how he should undo it.
5:23 If you read today's Washington Post story, and the earlier MarketWatch piece, you'll see both accounts focus on Kramer's interest in improving the paper's editorial content.There's little mentioned about the business side: how he might drive up ad and circulation revenue. Perhaps he thinks content has to be improved first in order to bolster revenue.Here's a key quote from the Post story: "You have got to have original content in tone or voice, otherwise you’re spinning your wheels. Don’t give me two paragraphs on the Giants game. Tell me what’s wrong with that pitcher’s arm.”To pay for improved content, he needs more resources or differently deployed resources.Maybe he got a guarantee from Gracia Martore to invest more money in staffing, at least during his first year.Or, he might shift resources around: He could easily take aim at the expensive management structure -- all those new VPs -- built up by Hunke. And he'll likely evaluate the existing newsroom employees, keeping staffers he think can contribute to his new plans for the paper -- and jettisoning those he thinks can't cut it.That's already happened in Sports, although at Beusse's direction. Kramer will likely examine everything Beusse has done, keeping what he likes and tossing the rest.Keep in mind, Beusse was Hunke's guy, and possibly had his eyes on the publisher's job. But that went to Kramer. And now Kramer is Beusse's boss.
That's NOT your pitchers arm, Kramer. Stay away from Buesse's kingdom or else. You will learn soon enough.
Jim, I posted this the other day. The revenue drivers have been parceled off away from the Publisher job (Banikarim controls). So all that this guy has is content.Plus he has zero Madison Avenue relationships....that is not why they hired him. They hired him to fix the damn thing....as in edit, content, and paper vs. digital.Time will tell if he battles to get revenue back and how likely he is to embrace the Banikarim narcissistic style. My money is on Kramer over Banikarim.
NOTHING would make me happier than to see a headline in TIME, Newsweek, NYT, whichever in about three years that reads:"The man who saved USA Today: Larry Kramer talks about resurrecting a giant"
8:18 If all he has is content, doesn't that mean he's effectively the paper's editor -- Hillkirk's replacement?
I'm just guessing here, but I suspect one factor in Martore's decision to reaching outside Gannett for a new publisher -- Kramer -- was when advertising really went off a cliff in the first quarter.That happened, despite all the reorganizations, vp-hiring, verticals, etc., that had come in the previous 18 months.Perhaps if Ellwood had been given all the keys to the car in June last year, she might have made a dent. But she had her mentor, Hunke, to keep happy and that meant sticking with his plan.Looking back, I can see three major turning points that led to Martore's decision to look outside GCI:* Nov. 4, Ellwood issued a memo saying that, come hell or high water, she was going to stick with what was clearly a failed strategy around verticals.* Rudd Davis' unexplained exit in late January. (I'm somewhat confident that I now know what happened with Davis -- but not enough to post it.)* Maryam Banikarim's taking away USAT's ad sales in late February. That could only have happened with Martore's ascent, and it showed a lack of confidence in Hunke/Ellwood's ability to turn things around.
What is the deal with you and Ellwood? Do you have some sort of personal relationship. The fiasco you dont want to go public with went on right under her nose. She couldn't turn around a Prius let alone USAT. Something fishy about your hands off with her.,
I'll add that Hunke's retirement was announced six days before GCI announced first-quarter earnings that had suffered, in part, because of USAT's poor performance during the period.Taking that action before the earnings release allowed Martore to show Wall Street that she was on top of things.In her Q1 remarks to Wall Street analysts, Martore sought to assure them about the paper. She said:"The ongoing volatility and softness in the national advertising environment was most notable at USA Today. USA Today is an iconic brand with tremendous value and visibility. But that volatility has impacted its performance. We know we can do better in growing the business to match the scale and power of the brand. To remind you, USA Today has historically made up less than 10% of our revenues and continues to be a small contributor to overall cash flow results as it has historically been."That fact actually says a lot about the strength and diversity in our business, and about the significant upside opportunity in USA Today in a more digital era. We are working to more fully realize its potential as we approach the brand's 30th anniversary in September. Our priority right now is to recruit a top-notch publisher to advance the promising initiatives already underway, and grow the business by spearheading USA Today's continuing evolution into a leading multi-platform media brand."
"I'm just guessing here ..."Really? What a surprise!Great job as usual, Jim, with the no-fact speculation."(I'm somewhat confident that I now know what happened with Davis -- but not enough to post it.)"So? Why write this? Either say what you know, or let it drop.You really have dropped off in recent months. Outside of your continued desire to bash the company and to get people to pay you to continue that, I am not sure what purpose you serve.
Good analysis, Jim. Worthy of a separate item on the blog.As for Rudd's departure, it surely must have reflected poorly on Hunke within the corporate suite. Hunke, if I recall correctly, was quoted in the NY Times piece some time ago hailing Rudd as the fellow who educated him about this web and pad thing and folks younger than himself. Something like that. Rudd's departure created quite a stir. Orders were sent out no one was to speak of him or his departure. Locks were changed. Martore must have been furious. Hunke was probably finished then. And deservedly so.
Rudd worked directly for Ellwood.
Very uninformed, 12:38. All speculation and faded memories. No facts. No sources. No links.Does Jim reward you for these types of posts?
USAToday and Investigative Reporting?That's a first.Oh, sorry, there was Jack Kelly.Riiiiighhhhhhtttt.Onto the next Pie Chart...
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Kramer will also have to dismantle Weekend, News, Digital and Life. The bureaus, the relationships with Community papers. The list goes on, and thats just editorial.This guy has his work cut out for him. Just giving us a sense of purpose and mission is going to be a load, given what he has to work with.
Jim said, "Perhaps he thinks content has to be improved first in order to bolster revenue."And wouldn't this be contrary to what Gannett has been doing to their newspapers to increase revenue? I'm not buying it. At 62, me thinks this is his last hurrah, Does he have the will and fortitude to buck Gannett?
Who's Jack Kelly? I remember a Jack Kelley. But no Jack Kelly.That's OK -- the rest of 6:09's post was worthless anyway. Just another attempt at humor that made no sense. That, and the speculation and rumor-mongering, keep dragging down the blog.
Kramer can only be successful if he turns around the "product" and then he will gather his own team to market it as a "brand".Content first....then marketing. If it's great and attracts an audience, the advertisers will come.Talk about a pile of wasted money: the Marketing budget.
Kramer is going to cut overall staff. Plain and simple. Hunkea's Folly needs to be totally rebuilt. But it starts with shedding management in all departments. You cannot have a media concern that has as many vice presidents as this one does. They don't generate revenue. They don't generate content. They are just an anchor on a bloated budget.
This guy has his work cut out for him. As in cut, cut, cut. Hunke was too much of a pussy to do it after adding scores of useless names and titles. Martore knew it was so hopeless that she finally did something that rarely happens; hiring outside the box.Kramer isn't a bullshitter and hopefully, as a former journalist, is adept at detecting bullshit. There werelots of people squirming this week, with Kramer out of the office most of the week tending to personal matters. So cut him some slack.
Lots of people fearful for their jobs. As well they should be. The lacksidasical attitude and pass the buck, oh well mentality has destroyed much of the initiave and drive around here. Promotions given based on favoritism and a clique mentality. You really fuck up, you are given an even cushier job. They don't even post jobs internally anymore or ask if someone is interested when an opening comes up. So how do they ever get out of the insular culture eye built? Beusse's strategy isn't a better alternative. But at least it's an alternative to the status quo.
Bring in a new no nonsense editor who shakes up the editor team and that would be a great start. Most of these editors should be doing something else, like generating content or overseeing digital instead of leaving those decisions to the unqualified.
For the record, he does not have responsibility for sales, web design, circulation, production, IT, HR, marketing, custodial, facilities, or anything else other than news. But I don't think he will be editor in chef.
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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