Monday, September 17, 2012

Sept. 17-23 | Your News & Comments: Part 1

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  1. Many, many, many Gannett employees are waiting and wondering exactly what will happen with Maryam this morning. Do high-priced executives who make very poor decisions get the same treatment a common employee would get?
    You all might have a riot on your hands if she stays in her position.

  2. In her desperate need for attention, BlueBallsBanikarim has blown it. Apologize. Pack. Resign. Today.

  3. It's not sexist if educated arrogant women do it.

  4. She'll probably be named COO. And no one will buy any adverti$ing.Duh.

  5. If Gracia doesn't put out a memo to the masses to let everyone know that disciplinary action is being taken upon Maryam's ass, then everyone had better head for the doors because Gannett is the joke I've come to suspect it is.

  6. Moment of truth for Banikarim.

  7. I'm trying to be positive about advertising revenue at USAToday but the paper had few, if any, big national blue-chp advertisers on Friday.

    Its was the most telling aspect of the FAIL to me. If you cannot motivate top advertisers, the ones who have supported the paper the past 30 years,to be part of the Anniversary reluanch, you will NEVER get them back.

    It was incredibly disappointing.

  8. As further proof that bad judgement runs rampant at Gannett, Jodi Gersh and Wolff Olins thought the Blue Balls memo was a "manifesto" of the brand and put it up on their blogs (JG actually posted it on the USAToday official blog!). They then tweeted it out.

    I cannot believe the juveniles who work in marketing and social media at Gannett.

    As a woman, I have high hopes for Martore as CEO. But this was so insulting and embarrassing for us as a company. And not just any company, a leading media company.

  9. 9:58 references this post to USA Today's blog on Tumblr.

  10. Beyond the outrage over the "blue" ball language that was emailed out, the bigger joke is: Ward and MB are busting their arms patting themselves on the back for THIS?!?!?

    The alleged brilliant, "ballsy" step here is about a stupid ball. OK. A ball. It is neither creative nor outside the box nor anything that anyone is going to associate with a company led by thinkers.

    It is just a stupid ball. It doesn't matter if the stupid ball somehow tranforms into a leaf, a football helmet, a pie chart or the Taj Mahal. It's just a stupid ball and the concept is hackneyed at best, as designed and approved and breathlessly praised by mediocre hacks. And that's what Gannett is all about. Mediocrity celebrating itself while readers/advertisers flee. Congrats everyone.

  11. 10:30 you need to calm down and find something else to do. Your comments are credible but let others speak, as well.

    Your dislike for Banikarim is well-noted.

  12. Romenesko's facebook page has a lot of dialogue about Banikarim's memo. And NOT from ex-marketing folks.

    She made Gannett the laughing stock of social media all weekend.

    And yet she defends it.

  13. To me, it seems marketing has a sense of humor and isn't stuck on all the pc stuff. What is the real downside? Is there a pattern or hostile work environment because of the memo? The crime is that the play on words is tired. I thought they might be going for the DOT in

  14. Looking forward to the Corporate leaders visiting Appleton for the town hall meeting later this month that all employees are invited to attend with attendance mandatory. (Yes, employees are invited to attend and then the e-mail says attendance is mandatory.).

    The building is getting all spiffed up. Re-arranged the furniture in the front entrance. Had ABM in cleaning the carpets this weekend.

    I wonder if anyone will ask about the blue ball memo?

  15. 10:30 here:

    Actually, never met MB. Nice discrediting try though.

    I'm just yet-another ex-CP professional who was cut loose despite being considered "irreplaceable" who took his "irreplaceable" talents elsewhere and ended up making far, far more bread with the transition. But always curious about how the mediocrity there continues to not only be accepted, but embraced as some kind of Golden Calf made from Fool's Gold. And fools and their money -- in this case advertisers and readers -- are always soon parted.

    Tell ya what though: Feel free to prove me wrong with real data that proves this and other hackneyed marketing attempts have made a dime's worth of difference to the bottom line. The ROI of marketing is all about accountability. What you got for us on that front?

  16. who cares about a logo.

    It's totally irrelevant.

    Where's the news?

  17. A former Gannett colleague of mine re-tweeted a post from his gf about how big a performer's butt was at a concert. He was trying to be "cool" and tech-savvy, I think.

    He was fired a couple days later.

    'Nuff said.

  18. Just noticed @wolffolins has deleted the BlueBalls memo tweet they had sent out on Friday.

    And they have not tweeted another word about the USAToday logo or redesign work.

    They seem to be distancing themselves from this embarrassment stirred up by Banikarim.

    Unfortunately, the digital footprint is still there on the www. And their reputation now has black marks.

  19. When it comes down to it, I see it like this: How would you feel reading that email to your grandmother or mother? Would you be comfortable with all the balls jokes and the mention of sex?

    If it would make you uncomfortable reading it to your mum, your grandmum, or any other elder member or your family-- it's not appropriate.

    We have many, many elderly subscribers as well and I'm sure they wouldn't find it very amusing either-- and this is what our higher ups are using to represent our image.

    Just fantastic.

  20. Sandra Micek and Larry Kramer must be livid. All those months of work only to be the butt of jokes by thousands of BlueBall FaceBook comments, tweets, blog comments.

    Martore, your millions invested in this have been forever tarnished on the social web.

    As an employee who worked tirelessly on this, I'd be calling for Banikarim's resignation as a way to acknowledge that their work was not in vain.

  21. 12:54 is right on. What a horrible workplace.

  22. 12:43 I keep thinking about the very public discipline -- and his resignation -- of a reporter in Fort Myers, Fla., who criticized Chick-Fil-A customers on his personal Facebook page.

  23. Martore's silence over this serious misstep by Banikarim makes me lose total faith in her as an inspired CEO.

    Had this been a male CMO, he would've been fired.

  24. Jim,

    you need to post the link to sportsbizusa which writes a scathing article on Banikarim's PR nightmare.

    It says Friday should have been marked with celebration and instead USAToday became the April Fools' joke of the industry due to Banikarim's blue balls memo distribution.

    Had all that money been spent on top reporters and editors, USAToday would be far better off.

  25. For every person who has been laid off, furloughed, made to reapply for jobs, this expenditure of millions of dollars to recreat YET ANOTHER logo redesign is a huge slap in the face.

    EVERYONE, even Karmer, knows the way to save USAToday is through better journalism. Why not invest millions in reporting and NOT in some lame advertising campaign that will acheive NOTHING to attract advertisers or readers.

    I like the web redesign and that was needed. But the blue ball logo, the silly expensive design consultants, the millions in ego-driven TV spots and other advertising is a waste of money.

    Kramer could have hired top notch editors and journalists for all the money Banikarim spent on this lame and now embarrassing logo crap.

  26. Poor Jeremy Gaines, Gannett's new PR chief. How will he be able to clean up the PR mess created by his boss Maryam Banikarim?

    Feel bad for the guy.

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  28. I would be embarrassed to let my teenage children see that memo, much less my grandparents.

    Different reasons - but mostly because a 14 year old could come up with better innuendo than that, if that's what the goal was. And my 19 year old marketing major could have explained the branding behind it better as well - if THAT was what the goal was.

    Unfortunately, the goal seems to have been just to say the word balls over and over again, and then giggle nervously behind our hands as to how cutting edge we are.

    What's next week's redesign, putting the header in reversed type? Cuz you know, once you go black, you never go back....

  29. Banikarim's bad karma and all the ill she inflicted on people in her 15 months at Gannett are now coming full circle.

    Be careful how you treat others as your own life will be impacted by your deeds.

  30. Nothing will happen to MB. She's part of the executive management team, which can never do anything wrong and cant be held accountable for missteps.

    You people are just wasting your time complaining about her. It wouldnt surprise me if she got to name another useless vice president or two within the next few weeks.

    In the end, she'll move on to greener pastures fooling some other out of touch CEO.

  31. The ultimate irony for the press-hungry Banikarim, she now has more ugly press online than she could have ever dreamed.

    It will live there forever.

    She's dragged down Martore, Michek, Kramer, and the rest of them with her this time.

    She is and will continue to be her own worst enemy.


    This would LOL -- if GCI wasn't the friggin' Titanic of newspaper chains.

    Big Al's probably given up (worn out), so I'll (modestly) speak for him --

    L A M E
    Will not sell adverti$$$ing.
    Does not appeal to cu$tomer$.

  33. Two more people at USAToday who thought the Blue Balls was funny and put the official USAToday name on it via the USAToday tumblr page: Mary Hartney Nahormiak and Mark Smith.

    This is a news organization folks...not junior high school.

    Where is the professionlism at Gannett?
    Can you imagine the NYTimes doing this?

  34. You all know the strategy here: wait this one out and hope it just goes away. That seems to be the way things are handled now. They'll come out from under the tree once it stops raining and hope everyone just forgets or moves on.

  35. Someone needs to tell the consultants that Google has been doing logo alterations for years. Not very original thinking, but as long as you can get some dult to pay you for it...why not?

  36. Larry Kramer has just inherited a group of social media juveniles who think "cool balls" is more important to post than breaking news, which impacts everyday Americans.

    Just when you thought things could not get any worse in journalism, USAToday just proved it can.

    We are about "cool balls" not journalism. Our manifesto on USAToday tumblr even states it.

  37. My copy of USA Today didn't get delivered today.

    I feel terrible because I missed my Period. Every day, I look for my Period and hope that it arrives. When I don't get my Period, the rest of the day I am angry and scared. Some day my Period is blue, sometimes red, sometimes my Period is even a little purple. I always see something new in the middle of my Period, it's never the same. The best part of a 24 hour cycle is that whatever the Period was yesterday, it's something different today.

    My girlfriend always worries about missing her Period too. Once, she missed getting her Period for two weeks and her husband shot the pool boy.

    I've found that our advertisers are also very fond of our Period. Over at Progressive Insurance, Flo has been going on and on about how multiple Periods can save you money. (I think she looks like my aunt, just heavier. But even a heavy Flo likes our iPad app.)

    I hate to keep ragging on the subject. I'm not a former marketer with Pre-Maryam-Syndrome.

    But a woman especially should have considered waiting before forwarding out the 'cool balls' memo.

    I know forwarding the above about our big Periods would have given men a pause.

    1. 5:46...


  38. 5:46, that was brilliant! Enjoyed the laugh.

  39. 5:46 - You need to find a way to send this out company wide without attaching your name to it. It's brilliant!!!!! and I'm sure you would get fired if they found out who you are. LMFAO!

  40. Thanks 5:46! Needed that!

  41. Best ever! Well done.

  42. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  43. 11:42...

    Ow, Ow, Ow! My side hurts. It hurts so bad.
    Stop. Making. Me. Laugh.

  44. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  45. "It is just a stupid ball. It doesn't matter if the stupid ball somehow tranforms into a leaf, a football helmet, a pie chart or the Taj Mahal. It's just a stupid ball and the concept is hackneyed at best, as designed and approved and breathlessly praised by mediocre hacks."

    Really? It doesn't matter? Listen up people. This isn't some pointless art display like Google's doodle.
    THE NEWS IS BUILT INTO THE BRAND IDENTITY (Leaf, pie chart or the Taj Mahal)

    What would you have done? Let me guess, an outline of the US in a blue square? Please oh please thrill us with your design brilliance.

    If you've never designed as much as a business card logo and still have the nerve to rag on the new brand identity, do us all a favor and sit still while the professionals work.

  46. 4:28 In fact, the Google Doodles perform the same function as USAT's new logo.

    "Doodles," the search giant says, "are the fun, surprising, and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists."

    Moreover, Google has been doing these for 12 years now, so there's nothing especially original or brilliant in USAT's design.


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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