Thursday, June 07, 2012

USAT | Doctor wonders about transplant rejection

That's news industry blogger Ken Doctor, of course. Nieman Journalism Lab today published his new analysis of USA Today's advantages (a few) and disadvantages (more than a few), as recently named Publisher Larry Kramer plots his course.

"Cultures above, below, and parallel to Kramer won’t budge easily," Doctor writes. "When push comes to shove, will new Gannett CEO Gracia Martore provide enough support? Even if she does, will the wider culture succumb to Kramer’s charms?"

Let's remember Chris Saridakis.

Earlier: Why Banikarim may be a better fit in Corporate's culture.


  1. Just who is Ken Doctor and what qualifies him for this vindictive and pointless analysis?

  2. He's a well-known and widely read newspaper industry consultant.

    "Vindictive and pointless" isn't very helpful. Can you point to some specific examples to back up your statement?

  3. No one seems to be giving Kramer a chance to succeed.

  4. Fascinating read. Thanks Jim for posting.

  5. The most interesting item in the Doctor column to me was the description of the deal that USA Today has worked out with Hilton to provide free digital access to USA Today to its hotel guests. I have long believed that the future of online publishing can be profitably tied to portal services like this.

    If I were "in charge," I would approach every purveyor of wireless service in the country and offer each the same deal... give USAT (or local Gannett papers as appropriate) a similar portal at the front end of each of their wireless networks. In return, the Gannett digital product will draw more people onto those networks where an ad for the wireless sponsor might sit (the tradeoff being free advertising in return for portal space). In the short term, that increased exposure would provide many more page views of Gannett publications that could then be sold to potential advertisers as increased audience for their ads.

    The whole concept seems like a win-win to me. Imagine hopping onto the wireless network at McDonald's for example, and seeing the USA Today logo first, probably with a big McDonald's ad on the splash screen. Gannett wins eyeballs, the wireless purveyor wins advertising and the users win, because they would have easy access to good content and free wireless to boot.

    In the long run I honestly don't believe that paywalls (as currently construed) will be sustainable because people don't generally want to pay for specific content on the internet with some exceptions. They do, however, want general internet access, so if you intercept them and catch their eyeballs on the delivery end (wireless networks) you can make that model pay handsomely for everyone.

    To paraphrase my favorite New Yorker cartoon: the only one who should never think outside of the box is your cat.


  6. 7:19 you should be running the joint.

  7. &:19, yes that is a great idea.
    You don't work for Gannett do you?

  8. Meant 7:19, sorry.
    I got "Captchaed."

  9. Thanks JMO, for a bright assessment.

    Unfortunately, its too little, too late. We get free access at hotels all over America, sans logos, advertising and middling content being pushed to us... why would this be attractive at all? Hilton is an experiment in early stages so lets not call it a success just yet.

    In the final analysis, we will choose our own content, thank you very much. Gannett had a chance to show us their outstanding judgment in content and well, they have lost that chance.

    Plainly speaking, if USAT wants to survive, Kramer needs to find ways to inject "remarkably outstanding" content. No shortcuts.

    Good luck Gannett, over the last several years your Finance staffers have positioned USAT 50 yards behind the starting line. And the starter's gun went off 3 years ago.


  11. USA Today is in the early stages of a terminal disease. And like a lot of deadly diseases, unhealthy behaviors caused the irreversible condition. Those behaviors include a wide ranch of self-destructive acts, chronic selfishness, greed, ruthlessness and deception against employees and customers. While past leaders chose not to address the cancer, things got worse, leaving this brand on the verge of collapse. It's over and you all, including those who chose to remain silent, know it.

    1. Early stage? The patient has been sick for years.

  12. There is only one fix for Usa Today. Get rid of the dead weight reporters and senior editors. Dont pay lip service to the digital side. Streamline management on the business side. Kramer also needs to be more of a leader than passive observer. we have enough of those types of meddlers and second guessers now.

  13. 11:41, more power to anyone who can break up the junior high clique leadership teams.

  14. I bumped into Saridakis this morning at Pure Bread Bakery in Greenville, DE. I told him that Jim had his picture on the blog. He was so nice and said Jim is doing the work that no one would dare to do inside of Gannett. He asked me how I was doing and how everyone is at "Gannett".

    He is the most down-to-earth person I know. After I placed my order and he said good bye, I went to pay for my breakfast and the cashier said that "Mr. Saridakis took care of your order".

    Although I know he does not read this blog, I just want to thank him for being a great person. Could you imagine someone like Gracia Martore or Bob Dickey doing that!?!


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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