Wednesday, June 27, 2012

USA Today Confidential | Issue 6.27.12

This comments thread is about USA Today. I revive it occasionally when my readers show particular interest in Gannett's most visible brand. (Earlier editions.)

Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the rail, upper right.

28 comments:

  1. Late last night, Anonymous@11:39 posted the following:

    OK, so will the new USAT editor be Merrill Brown or Jim Brady? Those are the names rounding the USAT watercooler circuit this week.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It won't be Brady. Zero chance.

    ReplyDelete
  3. 7:59 Because he went to Digital First less than a year ago?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nope. Keep guessing

    ReplyDelete
  5. Brady wasted millions of Allbritton Communications's money on TBD.com, a folly doomed from inception because they could not even come up with a site name. Therefore, "To Be Determined." On the other hand, he might be a great fit to be a Gannett exec: preach a digital future that does not have a profitable biz model (even if paupers provide crap content), stuff his pockets and quickly leave.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Don't overlook the possibility of Kramer as editor and publisher. He doesn't have any other responsibilities other than the floundering newsroom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Larry would be perfect. Like Callaway, he spends no time in the newsroom and doesnt care about getting to know any staff. So the place is left to run on the same non functioning level at has been at for the past decade.

      Delete
  7. 9:56 -- That's not a fair representation of TBD or what happened there. Allbritton pulled the rug out from Brady within months of launch, abandoning the multi-year plan that was in place.

    As for the name, they had other names they went after, but URL squatters were demanding 7-figures to relinquish them.

    Whether he'd be good for USAT or not, Brady doesn't want to go to USAT -- and who could blame him? He's leading an organization that is already digital first.

    ReplyDelete
  8. But I thought Gannett was "digital first"?

    ReplyDelete
  9. The broader question is how much dead weight will be thown out? There is plenty to cut.

    ReplyDelete
  10. ""The broader question is how much dead weight will be thown out? There is plenty to cut.""

    Including people like you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How do you know what I do or produce? Why the nasty response? Did I hit too close to home?

      Fact is, we are overstaffed and underproducing in many many areas at Usa Today. The cost savings could be considerable if these people are RIFed.

      Delete
    2. If they werent told to take the buyout, why would they be RIF'ed now? Colton, Hillkirk, Weiss, Henderson, not to mention Ullman. No point in keeping most of this bunch. They bring nothing to the table other than filling chairs. Inspirational and leadership skills? News judgement? Hands-on managements style? Ha!

      Delete
  11. 10:31 Allbritton was bleeding millions and saw fit to "fail fast" rather than throw more money into a poorly conceived, unfocused proposition.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Kramer moved out of the T Curley penthouse today on the 4th floor and down to the newsroom on the 3rd floor today. He means business folks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He and others are moving because they are leasing 4th floor office space and Hillkirk's office is vacant.

      Delete
  13. Does it really matter who is the next USAT editor at this point? Isn't it clear by now that this is a brand that lost its heart and soul several years ago? And peeps, the talented people ain't coming back or being sufficiently replaced.

    Too much self-inflicted damage done for this ship to be saved. At best, USAT will be a mediocre product (digital and print) put out by overworked, mediocre employees with only selfish motives. That's what happens when leaders trash a place like they have since 2008. That place never returns to what it was or is capable of being.

    The joint is just oozing with bad karma and deep mistrust, so good luck turning that around. Even for a newspaper -- a usually cynical place to work even in good times -- USAT is off the charts with negativity. And it's totally warranted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karma guy is back.

      Delete
  14. 12:06 - we can only hope he does. He may be our last hope.

    ReplyDelete
  15. What's happened to Chairman Hunke? Isn't he still embedded in the T Curley penthouse with his Susie Ellwood?

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

    ReplyDelete
  17. 1:54. I am as down on the place as you are. Thats why we need someone like Kramer in the actual newsroom to see what goes on. I thinknthe only waybto change the culture is a vietually complete overhaul. Get rid of non productive and incompetent reporters. Young AND old. We have made a series of bad hires, inexperienced reporters who lack basic skills. Others because they are cheap or fill diversity goals. Combine them with the slackers we alteady have and its a bad situation for the few competent people left who cover for them or clean up their work. Then you have the burnouts who barely churn out more than a story every 10 days, with uninspired writing and reporting.

    Just as problematic are long tenured editors makling bad calls or non calls every single day on news coverage and enterprise. How did these people get these jobs? Why domthey get to keep them? Few fresh ideas, a burnout mentality and lack of inspiration are like a cancer dragging everyone down.

    Copy editors arent catching mistakes or they are creating many on their own. and the digital crew, virtually top down, seems to be off in its own little world, unable to grasp the significance of some stories while over playing trivial and rehashed crap.

    I look around the editor meetings ever day and ask myself how most of my peers got where they are. I grit my teeth and say its only a job. Then I deal with reporters, some burnouts who are now just on death watch, some who should never been hired and one fresh faced kid who has energy and eagerness but few skills to meet the day's needs. I am not sure who is harder to deal with anymore.

    I liken the place to a bad sports team with poor management, unmotivated players and bad draft choices. It never gets better, and fans are turned off by the product no matter how marketing packages it. The only way you change the dynamic is an overhaul that starts at the top and goes deep into the organization.

    ReplyDelete
  18. How does an entire crew of highly compensated verticals managers fail completely and then get rewarded and promoted into a cushy gig like Usa Weekend? Where else could this happen but Gannett?

    Heather Frank pushed people out the door, alienated most of the Life team and wasted all sorts of company funds on hairbrained ideas. Now she fancies herself as a writer (one who needs heavy editing) and she continues blissfully along. her entire team should have been shown the door months ago.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Let the bloodletting begin!

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

    ReplyDelete
  21. Heather, Hunke, Hillkirk, Horwich. The 4H Club needs to be shown the door.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Dont stop at that letter of the alphabet (but feel free to include Henderson ).

    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.