Sunday, August 26, 2012

Aug. 20-26 | Your News & Comments: Part 4

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47 comments:

  1. Will Gannett spend another $50k in ads and table seating for Hunke's advertising award like we did for Banikarim's award last year? Can't wait to see Martore, Ellwood, Banikarim, Micek and Frank line up front and center for this outstanding achievement. How about a second table with Rudd Davis, Brad Jones, Lee Jones, Susan Lavington, Jeff Webber, Lori Erdos, John Hillkirk.

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  2. Hillkirk is getting a Freedom Forum Fuckup award.

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  3. Just curious...how did Hunke win this award anyway? Was it for circulation increases? No, can't be that. Was it for advertising revenue increases? Hmmm, nope can't be tha. Was it for building and maintaining outstanding employee morale? Nah, can't be that either. Did we just pay off the right people?

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    1. Most outstanding appointments of incompetent holdovers and useless management hires.

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  4. Hopefully they'll just throw Hunke the award as he drives by the hotel.

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  5. You know, the buck does stop with the top leaders in this company, but I must say that there have been a slew of mid-managers (MEs, DMEs, etc) that have done some pretty awful things in their time at USAT and other Gannett papers. These were people living in a bubble. Teflon managers who for one reason or another had lost their grip on reality and, in the worse cases, treated their staffs like little personal play things. If you were one of the "chosen" play things, you were golden. If you weren't, life was Hell in the newsroom. These managers didn't back their good people. They demanded loyalty and showed none themselves. They are as much to blame for the current atmosphere at Gannett as any of the top leaders, past or present.

    There is sickness at Gannett and USA Today that won't be repaired overnight because the history of bad decisions and bad behavior runs deep. Things snowballed out of control The recession was the knock out punch and revealed how ruthless these people are, but the downfall would have come in time anyway. With the way newsrooms were being managed, and the way power was being transferred from one backstabbing kiss-ass to another, there was no way for Gannett to weather the storm other than to throws people overboard.

    Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it, as they say. Well, we have a situation now where some of these new leaders aren't even aware of the past or have an inaccurate view of it. Not sure if that's a good thing or bad, but I tend to think that it's difficult to root out a cancer if you don't know where it's coming from.

    Gannett and USAT are in serious trouble. More so than one would even imagine from just reading this blog. Spirits are low. Business stinks. Truly smart people are abandoning ship. No one with a brain will come to this company unless paid a lot of money or are simply desperate to get a foot in the door.

    What Gannett and USAT did over the last few years will linger. The bad karma is thick. You can feel it. It's getting in the way of putting out a good product just as much as the loss of talent. Yet, our leaders will not admit to the crimes that were committed here. It's sad.

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  6. Was it Hunke's "transformation" bullshit or was it lapdog Hunke carrying out Martore's "transformation" bullshit that brought USAT to it's demise?

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  7. Omg. Did Cincy really have a headline about a beetling instead of beating? That's what one of the comments says.

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  8. The transformation was the brilliant idea of Hunke and to a
    Esset extent, Hillkirk. Hunke wanted a digital focus, but he had no clue what that meant. Hillkirk had no clue about running a newsroom. Could not make a decision he couldnt avoid. Kept his pals and enemies in power because he didnt know any better or was too stupidnto see the light. Meanwhile, those teo had other brilliant ideas, such as verticals. They had cronies like Czarzniak make key decisions regarding digital that made nonsense. That got us a crew of junior achievers running digital without having any actual reporting, writing or editorial experience. That got us holdovers like Weiss, Colton, robertson Kauss, Ullman, Horwich, Henderson and others running day to day ops. That got us shitty Sports content that digitally, reads like junior high school. That got us a shitty product and all-time low respect and girls.

    heather frank? Enough said.

    I guess all this competency gets you an Adweek award, thogh.

    I hope Kramer goes through flow charts and sees how little many of these people actually matter. When not in the office, its actually better than when they are around.

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  9. 6:00pm your post is a great example of why it is so difficult to move forward. You are so stuck in the past and your own personal disappointments that you refuse to see or recognize anything positive. Hunke is gone, the digital team has created a new website for USAT that is truly exciting, yet you can't/won't see anything positive and chose to wallow in historic dung. Hunke is gone, Kramer and Calloway are a great team and are ready to move USAT forward. It's time to stop with the world sucks talk and move forward.

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  10. Well said, 6:00 p.m.

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  11. Reply to 6:00pm. Where I worked, there were the chosen and they called ‘show ponies.’ Then there were the rest of us, called ‘mules’. It was purgatory for both. The former were harassed by the boss day and night; they were second guessed, as well as bullied and praised in erratic turns. Not exactly heaven. The latter were—still are I imagine, if any are left—invisible unless something goes wrong. But at least they are left alone most of the time. There was some peace in pariah-hood.
    Let me give you an example of this boss’s ‘management’ style: a ‘show pony’ left after less than 3 yrs, said boss lavished praise and much well-wishing on him at his cake event. Then a couple of weeks later when 3 ‘mules’ (buyoutees with 80+ yrs of experience among them) left, the boss ignored them that whole day and left the building before their cake event.
    My advice is to get out. The bosses left in Gannett are more trapped animals than the humans they all once were. Remembering them that way puts you at a disadvantage. There are better—and worse—places to work out there. Hopefully your Gannett experience will inform your decision making and you “won’t get fooled again.”

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  12. Small, common and uselessly carpet-bagging.

    Yup, that's the Gannettoids.

    Warren Buffett says it well: "we have a product that takes years to build up -- and would take about 10 minutes to melt down."

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  13. 8:52: It's not that people refuse to move forward, it is more like they don't have faith in what's being done to move Gannett forward. You can't gut every paper, put out crap, listen to the complaints within the company and out on the streets and then expect anyone to get excited about what you're doing. Fix the mess that's been created, stop furloughing, give raises, and then build and improve your product. It's time to build some trust again. Without it, you're sunk.

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    1. 11:49 the problem is you are tone deaf. Fuoughs suck, few or no pay raises suck. The fact the Dickey said no more furloughs this year in USCP, somehow you ignore that. The fact every designer in Digital has been doing nothing but working on the USAT web relaunch means nothing to you. Folks that stay have a serious choice to make, continue to ignore progress and wallow or take one step forward and find out what the future looks like

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  14. "Trial for six teens accused in brutal beeting postponed"
    Nice, Cincy

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  16. 7:28, yeah, the Enquirer really had a headline that said "beeting."

    Specifically, "Trial for six teens accused in brutal beeting postponed."

    They fixed it after reader comments. At the moment you can still see it if you google and force search for "beeting" instead of "beating."

    It's just another example of the standards of excellence from Washburn's reorganization. She really saw no problem with putting inexpensive, inexperienced staff in charge of the website editing.

    Wait till the paywall goes up and readers are asked to pay for this amateurism.

    If Washburn's bosses didn't share her low standards and stubbornness, they'd get a new editor in there ASAP.

    It's a bottom-line thing they
    don't understand.

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    1. 12:57 Jay Leno has made a career showing stupid headline for 20 years. Don't be so self righteous.

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  17. 8:52 AM Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. Heck, this isn't even the past as these conditions continue and flourish. So no one is doing the happy dance about the new USAT website. Horrible company that is going down.

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  18. "In 1994 Armstrong and his wife Janet quietly ended their 38-year marriage. A short time later, Armstrong married Carol Knight and the moved to Indian Hill."

    Cincy's latest goof that appears in an online story about Armstrong's death. Whomever leads the newsroom should be fired. Period

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  19. Speaking of repeating the past, Enquirer readers are getting testy. Here’s the first reader comment on the Neil Armstrong obit today:

    READER COMMENT: Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died at his . He was 82 years old.

    .... died at his what, [reporter’s name]??? Come on, guys! Proofread your articles! I am so sick of every article that I read on Cincinnati.com having stupid mistakes. Your bosses clearly have low standards for the employees they hire.

    P.S. Before you send an article with your name on it out to the masses, at least complete your sentences. Neil Armstrong deserves a better obituary than this.

    ANOTHER READER COMMENT:
    Uh yeah, there are still numerous errors through the article even still! I would have to agree it's annoying when "professionals" cannot write!

    AND A THIRD READER:
    I'm with Jennifer. Obits are written well in advance of a VIP's death, so all the Enquirer has to do is add a few sentences of where/when he died before they publish the piece. They couldn't even do that right in this case, which is a disservice not only to the readers but of course to Mr. Armstrong. All of us deserve better, especially as the Enquirer has proved for years now they know how to throw a dozen pop up ads at you but can't or won't use standard grammar, spelling or proofread what they write. Shameful.

    Instead of reflecting on one of the 20th century's greatest pioneers, Enquirer readers are ranting about the typos in the story. As Reader #3 says: Shameful.
    Nice job, Carolyn.

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  21. How many bosses can one person have? We now have three bosses and three workers? Really? Can someone please tell me what is wrong with this picture. Why is Gannett so management heavy?

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  22. 8/24 6pm, you wrote, in part:
    "...there have been a slew of mid-managers (MEs, DMEs, etc) that have done some pretty awful things in their time at USAT and other Gannett papers. These were people living in a bubble. Teflon managers who for one reason or another had lost their grip on reality and, in the worse cases, treated their staffs like little personal play things. If you were one of the "chosen" play things, you were golden. If you weren't, life was Hell in the newsroom. These managers didn't back their good people. They demanded loyalty and showed none themselves. They are as much to blame for the current atmosphere at Gannett as any of the top leaders, past or present."

    Quite a while back, Gannett bought the paper I worked at from a much-higher regarded company. The dreg managers that came in tended to hire past sycophants from their former Gannettized newsrooms, slowly but surely forcing out the longtime institutional knowledge at their new killing field.

    Textbook blueprint for how to destroy a newsgathering operation. And the numbers reinforce that assertion. Larger cities, more potential advertisers, but smaller papers, smaller staffs, half the print circulation, etc.

    Any CEO that lets her middle managers destroy the value of a company is this way is:
    asleep at the wheel,
    incompetent,
    or absolutely committed to the destruction of the company.

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  23. Someone in the last thread said Arizona State provides free student labor to The Arizona Republic as G rakes in profits as it bleeds out the staff. And a similar program called News 21 is trying to make j-schools put a bandaid on a dying business.

    Here's a letter from the funders of these efforts.
    http://www.knightfoundation.org/press-room/other/open-letter-americas-university-presidents/

    Hubris. It's crazy to major in journalism now, unless you are OK with being in debt for the rest of your life. Students won't fill the gaps left by the professional execution of tens of thousands of journalists and marketing, advertising and other pros. The model is broken as public companies grab profits while in their final free fall. Enabling and eventually replacing them with a "teaching hospital" of student labor will not fix it.

    By the way, the teaching hospital method is the way j-schools have operated for decades, despite friction with Ph.D. researchers in the same departments who disdain those from the "profession."

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  24. 6 p.m. and 10:25 a.m. reflect what THOUSANDS of us experienced at Gannett and before and especially since 2008. Better save your money, 8:52. You will need it when you too are shown the door and cold reality sets in.

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  25. Re the sourpusses and whiners who dont hace faith in Kramer and Callaway: until they start putting competent journalists in charge of digital, Money and News, they domnot have the support of what little talent and experience is left in Tyson's and the bureaus.

    The cancer is still there, in almost every department. Putting up a newly designed paper and website wont change it. This is a bus with a sputtering engine that barely makes the rounds every day because the drivers dont know how to navigate the digital highway or manage a pitfully inept staff.

    A new paint job and slicker salesmen dont make the ride any better.

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    1. So 7:43 does that mean you are self hating a d do t feel you and our peers ate any good!

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  26. 10:25 seems to think a new look solves everything. it does not. management holdovers and bad hires continue to hurt the product.

    And get your facts straight on how to spell the new editor's name.

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  27. I you peruse this blog long enough, one gets the impression that many of the problems with the company just might be its workers. Soo many of the comments here are just one person cutting another person down, snotty retorts and insults from one person to another....and people wonder why the company has problems..

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  28. All you people ought to be POed when you see how much waste is thrown out the door on Sundays. Carriers coming in with over 300 returns on the Sunday paper (23 percent or more) and they keep getting added to...and for no reason. You'd think they're using Ouija Boards to do draws with...but then I wouldn't insult the Ouija board that way!

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  29. 7:50, the facts in 10:25 are straight and no names are mentioned.

    And I agree that a new look fixes nothing. The last new look at 10:25’s former place was a corporate mandate to make it easier for the hub to crank out pages, it was designed by an outside firm in a faraway place, yet the marketeers spun it as a local and reader-driven change. Not that the remaining readers care anymore.

    And hurting the product is collateral damage from another corporate mandate: lowering costs. Corporate has always been OK living with such damage. The problem now is there is very little left to hurt. Soon there’ll be nothing left but a couple of eager 20-somethings with smart phones and a couple of empty suits with a “local marketing solution.” Whatever that means.

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  30. SHut down the Chicken. They will never sell anything that is useful or profitable.

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  31. Forbes just released its list of The 100 Most Powerful Women and guess who’s not listed on it…Banikarim and Martore, though Martore (who you won't find online) at least is recognized for taking the helm last year in print.

    http://www.forbes.com/power-women/gallery

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  32. Jim, Please consider establishing a "special forum" within the blog for bitter ex-employees and bitter current employees. I get the bitterness, having been paid off from a job in a previous job life, and I get the bitterness from working inside Gannett because I am still employed there. There are truly some awful situations and awful people. But, for their own health and mental well being, people need to move on with their lives. But, if these bitter people insist on long-winded reveries about how much Gannett sucks, if they insist on using the blog to (anonymously) tear down their colleagues, if they insist on making wild predictions based on personal prejudices, please use a "special forum" within the blog. The rest of us will continue to read the rest of the blog for useful information. Thank you and, please, bitter people: Get yourself some help.

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  33. This rant concerns the Cincy (and other) typos.

    I spent all of my working life in newsrooms -- over 40 years. I started as a copyboy during the days of hot type and finished as an editor/dept.manager during the web conversion, so I have experience at both ends of the newsroom technology experience.

    -- First, will he or she who may have served, or is currently serving as an editor or reporter please chime in if they have never produced an embarassing typo that got into the paper. I don't expect many of us will be able to respond.

    -- Second, I worked with C. Washburn, and she is what she is -- hasn't changed in the nearly 20 years I've known her. But love her or hate her, she can hardly be blamed for the high-schoolish editing that's taking place in American newspapers. Blame the jerks who decided the copy editors should be the first to go in the six-year wave of downsizing, layoffs and buyouts.

    We who spent most of our lives in this business, experienced the same results when the composing rooms downsized and we lost the proofreaders. These folks knew more about the city we all worked in than anyone in the building. When they walked out the door in the 70s, typos and factual errors increased, and the trend has been upward.

    So, when you point the blame, it should go to the highest levels in the organization. And remember this, the company is being run by people who probably never edited or wrote a newspaper story in their careers. They wouldn't know how crucial a good copy desk is to having a good newspaper. And few probably care about having a good newspaper

    Thanks for listening.
    Oh, one caveat: Nt responsable for typos...mhy cpydesk was offf todey.

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  34. This company is having problems because it got rid of it's best people already.

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    1. 4:16 I'm pretty good!

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  35. 8:09, is someone had the good idea and consistency to keep a blog like this about every Fortune 100 company in the U.S., you would get the same. Workers are being treated like crap and the middle class is collapsing into desperation. On top of that, Gannett has always had an odious reputation for good reason.

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  36. Why is Gannett so management heavy?

    Quite simply, to keep the workers in line.

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  37. Hunke destroyed what is left of the paper, and he gets a frigging achievement award?

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  38. 20 days until be big party. 21 days until the pink slips.

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  39. ECONOMICS

    There have been major layoffs lately. Last week, 2,000,000 new job applicants were added to the applicant pool. H-P has lost 50% of its stock value in a year. Energy prices have soared. Total gridlock, all around.

    Nothing will happen until after the election. No reason to believe things will get better, for several months.

    Hang in there. Do what has to be done, and include YOURSELF. Cut costs. Find additional work. There are tens of millions, outside the USA, who wish they had your problems. You are your best friend -- manage yourself.

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  40. I agree with 11:41 AM... Set up a special forum for those who are bitter. They are not adding anything constructive to the conversation.

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  41. Take note:

    http://www.pubexec.com/article/d-eadward-tree-the-seven-habits-highly-inefficient-publishers/1

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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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