An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
Love the new direction we're seeing with USAT. For those really paying attention, the product is definitely improving. Hats off to the content producers. Finally starting to resemble a product that the sales team can actually sell.
Product is far from where it needs to be, but momentum has it heading in the right direction.
10:30/10:31. Am I the only one having trouble getting the zoom feature to work on USAT's stock look-up chart tool?For example, here's the chart for Gannett's stock. Sometimes I can get it to display something other than the default setting -- one day -- but mostly I can't get it to budge when I click on 1 month, 3 month, etc.How come? My Safari browser is up to date.
I have to admit it but USA Today seems to be offering up better overall content. Also, I don't have any data to back this up, but I think I'm seeing more ads as well. I hope for everyone's sake that this is all true.
Sorry, but I just don't see USAT content improving. But maybe it depends on how you define "improving." As someone who appreciates in-depth, serious reporting, smart editing and compelling news visuals, I actually see USAT getting worse.Now if you define "improving" by the ability to sell ads, well, then maybe it is improving. I tend to look at quality from the reader's perspective, and with all the mistakes and questionable news judgment in the paper and on the USAT website, I don't see things moving in a positive direction. I see gimmicks.Of course, USAT has always been a product driven more by marketing and hype than quality journalism. It seems that was changing for about a 10-year span, but something has reversed that change -- I presume the quest to survive.Anyhow, just my perspective from the outside. I never worked for USAT, but was a fairly regular reader, though lately I find the content driving me away. I have worked at many other newspapers, however, and some are getting better in terms of credibility, but most are going the USAT way and favoring shallow trickery over solid reporting and good news design. So I am not just picking on USAT. The lack of substance and professionalism in the news media is a big problem in this country in more ways than one. It appears to be getting worse.
Still getting used to the balls, but think the paper has improved under Kramer.
Re 11:01I define improving being better than it was prior to the recent Publisher change. It's never going to be the NYT obviously, but it has offered much better content over last several months. Lead Smelter story and 4 part health series as evidence. These types of stories have been virtually non-existent for the last several years. Again, USAT is serving a different niche than the likes of the NYT and it's getting better. As for the website, and if you compare apples to apples, the old site can't hold a candle to the new one. While it might not be perfect and still has room to improve, it's still clearly an IMPROVEMENT over the old piece of crap Gannett put out there. Would love to see you provide some specifics where USAT is not improving and in fact getting "worse".
11:54 I hope for the best under Kramer.But in fairness to the investigative team, they were doing very good work for quite a while before Kramer arrived five months ago. The "Ghost Factories" series, for example, just won a major journalism award.Are you suggesting that those two examples -- lead smelter and the health series -- came about because of something specific Kramer did? That they wouldn't have appeared if Hunke were still the publisher?
Being one of the first production people to start and launch USAT, i must say, the paper looks great. The sport pages are outstanding. The over all design is state of the art. Kudos to the changes. Paper looks great
Jim, try MSFT Internet Explorer for Mac. That should work.---My Safari browser is up to date.
12:06. While I have no way to provide empirical evidence, my perception while reading the paper is that they have improved overall since removing Hunke. Ghost Stories won awards, which is great. I wasn't impugning the work prior to the overhaul, only suggesting the current leadership seems to be taking it to another level and not just with investigative or enterprise content. I thought the debate coverage was very good. To be honest, the so called "Nations Newspaper" needs to standout in these areas if it wants to survive. I just get the sense usat is heading in right direction. My point is that Kramer said he would emphasize this type of editorial strategy and the recent evidence suggests it's happening. The paper looks, feels and reads differently to me. And the website engages the reader better than before. Like I said previously....positive steps in the right direction as far as I'm concerned.
3:09 p.m., my follow-up question to you is "What is being done to market the USAT to potential new users and former users to get them to sample the product?" Billboards? TV? Radio? Or just hoping that someone picks up the paper and tells someone else, "Wow! What a great new look to the paper!"
4:43. I haven't a clue what they are doing. I've seen a few tv commercials lately. But as most know, USAT marketing has never been a strength. In fact, the biggest source of marketing efforts was tied directly to what used to be the best newspaper circulation department in the industry. Unfortunately, the bean counters have had their way and decimated this strength with the creation of GPS and subsequent loss of leadership and talent.
3:09 -- I received an e-mail from USAT just after noon. Under the blue-ball logo, it said, "We want you back! Save 50% off the newsstand price"After a photo of the new sections and a "buy now" button, it said this (in blue):"Dynamic. Bold. Useful. Colorful. Impactful."As a poster said this weekend, "Just shoot me."
Today's front page of News was awful.
I'm impressed. A largely civilized discussion, pro and con, about content.
Usa Today is starting to respond to news a bit better, at least thinking about news,with the arrivalmof Callaway and Kramer. Morale certainly is better. Unfortunately, the talent level is still mediocre at best throughout the organization. The financial section is atrocious and coverage of the markets, the economy and consumer spending amateurish. The selection and content of cover stories across the entire paper is shallow and demeaning to intelligent readers. I dont get the point of most columnists, whom seem to be writing for themselves. Political coverage of the White House and election is a joke. For on line news, I still turn to the Times and CNN.I hope things get better.
No one reads a newspaper with dull material. USAT has been dull for months, if not years. No readers, no advertising. Not fucking good.
I gave it a couple of weeks, just to be fair, but you know, when I look at USA Today (print version) it looks like a bad weekly. The blue ball logo is certainly uninspiring and lacks sophistication, but the fonts might even be worse. Very amateurish.What a shame, especially when you consider all the hard work that probably went into building the paper into a visual presence over three decades.And just for the record, I don't have dog in this fight. I am just saying that as an avid newspaper reader and longtime editor at a non-Gannett paper, the redesign of USA Today looks so bad that one could speculate that this is an intentional self-inflicted wound to drive circulation down so that a case could be made for getting rid of the print edition.
2:49, way to hammer home those specifics. You say twice the paper looks great, and you throw in an "outstanding."The people offering criticism say specifically what the problems are -- bad fonts, a logo that lacks sophistication, type that is far too small.I'd say they know what they are talking about, while you seem to be fishing for praise. Very weak effort on your part. You should get more coaching from your design hub before you come back.
7:38. Sarcasm aside, aesthetics of the new design are clearly subjective. I happen to really like the new look and font, but my opinion means a little as yours. I will say the content is better. It's not where it needs to be nor may it ever satisfy a traditionalist, but they are indeed headed in a positive direction. For the record, I too have no dogs in this fight. Just a former employee who wants to offer up constructive feedback to the many people who are working hard trying to move forward.
Boy the haters are so u happy that USAT is going in the right direction. Sorry but Kraner and Callaway are making it happen.
Terrible story out of Pensacola about former PNJ reporter found dead...Here's the story from Pensacola:http://www.pnj.com/article/20121009/NEWS01/121009005/Pensacola-man-found-buried-in-Winder-GAAnd a more detailed version from a tiny paper in Athens, Ga.:http://onlineathens.com/breaking-news/2012-10-09/man-buried-concrete-winder-died-blows-head
I used to pick up USAT several days a week, and nearly every Friday, especially for national news and sports, but after years of seeing the product get worse I got out of the habit. Seeing the new print doesn't make me want to fork out the money again, since I've moved on to other news sources.I don't think the blue balls will save the print product or return circulation close to what it used to be.
RECALL BIG AL'S ADVICE ON SINGLE-COPY SALES"GET HER T*TS ABOVE THE FOLD."Hey, Big Al got to break-even in five years. Thanks to the greatest economic boom in USA history.And with squares, not b*lls.
Apparently Rob Gatto former PointRoll CEO, decided not to spend too much time with his family as he is now President of Aggregate Knowledge (AK)...
The third quarter numbers will be reported soon.Then the discussion can get away from USA,and back to where the layoffs will occur.It was a nice diversion,but money and lack of, is the only issue that matters to Gannett.
Good Morning 7:28 a.m. I'm at a loss to DECIPHER what you are TRYING to say in your LATEST ALL CAPS rumination. I want to understand because it is obvious that you ARE AN INSIDER and that you have LOTS OF IMPORTANT INFORMATION. Pay NO ATTENTION to your critics. They DO NOT COMPREHEND your ASTUTE observations!
good news for Tallahassee, the Ad Director that was brought in from Morris this past spring is going to Pensacola - she alienated too many advertisers and some talented people left the department shortly after her arrival. Sorry Pensacola - but we're dancing a little jig here in the advertising department in TLH.
It has now been 26 days since the "balls" email with NO response from Gracia.
It's a pleasure to read -- at last -- a frank yet respectful exchange about the state of play at USAT. Larry Kramer and David Callaway have brought a sense of purpose and calm to the newsrooms. Yes, there are a lot of rough edges to deal with. Presto and NewsGate systems, for example, still give people migraines. The status of the ex-AOL and ex-Yahoo refugees imported under Hunke is a puzzle to people here. While some tinkering continues with the redesign, the new look reflects a new attitude. Although the haters and trolls will automatically disagree, we worker bees feel the future appears brighter under the new guys.
DUH - LAST SUPPERThat's what Gracia needs, a "last supper" in the exec dining room at ChrysPal. Worked for Big Al.(And the VP's name is BITE ME.)GCI is OK to end of year - elxn, Xmas.Then after Jan. 1 -- LOOK OUT BELOW!!!---Good Morning 7:28 a.m. I'm at a loss to DECIPHER what you are TRYING to say in your LATEST ALL CAPS rumination.
9:04 Gatto is not listed among Aggregate Knowledge's top brass, however, and the president position isn't even listed.
When is the third quarter finacialstatement going to be released? It must be soon.
10:42 Corporate previously announced the Q3 statement will be released Oct. 15, which is this coming Monday.
Jim, when is the re-creation of Big Al's "The Last Supper" after the Monday announcement? Just wondering.
The worker bees, the ones that actually do the relevant work, would appreciate new queen bees in virtually every section of the news operation. Callaway and Kramer are way too removed to see the lunancy and laziness. We dont need calm, we need comptence and energy. The influence of the Hillkirks, Hendersons, Coltons and Czarniaks still cast a pall over the entire operation. Cant wait until many people are finally shown the door. An entire layer of ass kissers under this crew still holds massive power. Why?Add the entire overpaid Weekend crew to the chop list while you are at it.
Dont forget Weiss, who despite her niceness, doesnt have a clue about the worker bees.
Weiss needs to stop blubbering at employee exit parties. Colton needs to shutup and realize its not about HIM.
9:55 keep waiting for your "response from Gracia". Nobody gives a crap about that stupid memo, and don't think for a minute that Gracia wasn't aware of the memo before it went out. Move along, nothing to see here.
9:41 I, also, think Martore isn't going to respond/do anything publicly regarding that memo. And I don't think it rises to something that warrants that kind of response.Privately, she might have said to be careful next time, but we won't know about that unless someone leaks it.
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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