Monday, November 19, 2012

Nov. 19-25 | Your News & Comments: Part 1

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  1. Today's USAT:

    Not one original story.

    M. Wolff spewing the MSNBC party line.

    Ms. Gracia -- why should anyone read USAT today?

    Why advertise?

    What's the porpoise?

  2. To 3:05, why would GCI think a change is in order in Cincinnati, or that Buchanan and her pet rat are local jokes, when the Enquirer is the greatest news source on the planet? Please see

  3. So you're bored with the content?
    The problem with Usa Today is it is even a fatter hierarchy of cluless dunderheads than ever. Those in power do not have respect because they haven't earned it. Deep down inside, many know it. That is one reason they hire so badly and so many current staffers are not fit for the business. That is why you a mundane product. but management encourages the crap with pats on the back that are insipid, silly and unprofessional. Basic competency should be expected, not praised. It's just so damn hard to find here. Across all sections, there are just a handful of decent reporters snd line editors. Digital? A top down joke.

    The big big senior shuffle doesn't address any of this. There are no details how we get where we are going Incredibly, no specifics on how the heavy lifting gets done or who does it.

    Their Answer isnt hiring or promoting fresh talent, but contracting a supposedly big star like Michael Wolff, who some think is a major industry player. He's not, and the Fan Boys here should stop treating him like one.

  4. Is the Arizona Republic exempt from the Gannett newsroom ethics code's conflict of interest standards?

    First, the Republic partnered with TV personality Robin Sewell, who takes freebies from hotels and restaurants in the towns she visits for her travel show. The travel show, Arizona Highways TV, is a marketing vehicle for the Arizona Highways Magazine, which is owned by the state government and presents yet another conflict. Also, Sewell's travel show has a roster of sponsors who present more conflicts of interest. Sewell now writes travel articles for the paper and its website as "Special to the Republic."

    Then, it hired Andrea Hiland, a radio personality who makes money by endorsing products. She is the "Asked and Answered Blogger," with a profile that says she won't write about products she has endorsed in order to avoid conflicts of interest. Can she write bad things about the products that compete with the products she endorses? Can she write about a product for the Republic and then endorse it?

    Gannett's ethics code:

  5. The above sounds just like what we're being "transformed" into.

  6. Today's Wolff "column" is directly from MSNBC.

    Wow. That's news. Not.

    Yawn. Just saved time and money, for millions.

  7. This being Thanksgiving week, I'd like to thank Jim for his work on this blog. It's much appreciated and much needed.

  8. Anybody know how much they are paying Wolff?

  9. 1. Thanks, Jim. Send a bill to the Wall Street gang.

    2. Wolff ought to refund his fee, today's "column" is just MSNBC redux. He's just like Henry Blodget @ "Business Insider" -- so 90s. Ugh.

  10. wolff is associated with The way Gannett is tossing money at startups and losers, that should provide an indication of what Wolfman is getting for pontificating drivel that passes as aninsightful column. Sadly, his columns are backed by opinion, not facts. They should be relegated to the back pages of the paper.

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

  12. RE: The Enquirer is the greatest source of news on the planet:
    That must be why the top stories under "Politics & Government" online are live Nov. 7 election stories:
    Recounts possible in school-levy tally
    Chabot, Wenstrup capture big victories
    Council terms likely going to four years
    The levy story notes up high: The levy renewal for Cincinnati Public Schools was passing handily, 66 percent to 34 percent, in unofficial totals.
    This is ridiculous.
    Does no one at the Enquirer ever click on tabs to see what's languishing on those pages?
    Click on News / Government / Ohio Government and the page is blank. There is no Ohio government news to report? Ever?
    How many readers will keep paying for this?
    Come on Carolyn. Get a clue. Or hire someone to oversee the digital product.
    Oh, we already have someone?

  13. Buchanan apparently is more interested in using staff time to cater to her every personal whim (taking care of her car, food, kid’s computers, etc.) than she is in using those hours to more closely review a website that seems to have given up on being updated with regular frequency.

    And, yet, Buchanan expects people to pay for access to it now.

    Gannett should have sacked her long ago.

  14. Regarding the criticism of USA Today's still relatively new media columnist Michael Wolff:

    I haven't been reading it closely since it was launched with the redesign in September. And I'm not sure many other people have been reading it, either; when's the last time he created any waves?

    So, I read today's column after several others mentioned it in this thread. It strikes me as particularly lazy writing for two big reasons:

    * It's based on the presidential election. But that means it's now a full week late. If he was going to use the election as a springboard, this should have appeared a week ago.

    * There isn't a single number in the entire column. No Nielsen ratings, no dollar figures, even though he's writing about, among other things, the war between Fox News and CNN.

    For example, he says right wing media is the "only media business that has experienced sustained, double-digit growth, even through the recession." How about a specific growth rate?

    Over and over, he writes about shifts in audience size and demographics, but he never quantifies any of them.

    That's what a writer does when they're writing off the top of their head, and can't be bothered to gather and confirm statistics.

    He needs an editor. It's painful to read sentences like this:

    "As soon as advertisers begin to sense a shift in respectability, or, worse, acceptability, they shiver. Even holding its audience, the taint of extremism, homophobia or racism, or even just old-fogie-ism, is going to start to scare major advertisers away."

  15. Cherry Hill has put up its paywall - with a twist.

    There is no column (online at least) notifying users of the change. It's just the countdown on how many articles you have left.

    Oddly, though, the column announcing the change for the nearby Vineland Daily Journal IS available on the Courier-Post site.

    1. The geniuses at the courier post can't even manage to handle this. No wonder...nothing changes, er, it does. It just gets worse by the day!

  16. WSJ: Investment falls off a cliff:

    Don't see how any companies, especially Gannett, can thrive in the coming maelstrom.

  17. Jim, it is called a "ratings book."

    And who has the highest TV ratings?

    TV is a brutal business. It is about numbers, that's all. And Wolff had NONE.

    Wolff's column struck me, as a loud-mouth, popping-off in a bar. And opinions are like butt-holes -- everyone has one.

    Like the "public intellectuals" who pop-off about everything -- even stuff they've NEVER studied carefully.

  18. As 1:34 says....Which corporations will survive this upcoming economic meltdown?
    Yet Gannetteers don't seem to be concerned.
    All the the talk is about improving content,important sure,
    but no matter how great or terrible the content is, if there is continued or worsening revenue shortages it will not matter.Revenue and profits always rule the day.
    Businesses always reduce advertising budgets when times are
    bad.Yes,this opposite of what they should do,but that is the mindset.
    And certainly disasterous for Gannett.

  19. The Enquirer had a cake baked to honor P&G’s 175th anniversary (a bit odd), featured large photos of it including details about it except one yesterday, where it went.

    Unfortunately, that omission appears to well represent the type of coverage one has come to expect from this newspaper.

  20. 3:21, it is like the whole business is imploding.

    1. On some campuses, they give away newspapers (USAT, NYT, FT), to "create dialogue." It is frightening, how many are NOT taken and wasted.

    That is cultural. Like, when JFK did not wear a hat, and that industry about died.

    2. And if you are on Web, and time is the issue -- do you go to WSJ, NYT, WaPo -- or USAT? Which has the higher value-impact?

    3. Oh, yeah -- more recession. Yesterday, Alice Rivlin, PhD, Jimmy Carter's economist, predicted more recession. Great.

  21. A reply to Dale Carpenter's comments during Phoenix Pressman's Union negotiations; You mentioned how Louisville is so much better than Phoenix. You have certainly lowered the bar for us in Phoenix!. Isn't Louisville the town that didn't publish a paper for the Kentucky Derby a while back? You wish we were as good as that? Fiesta Bowl, Phoenix Open are just around the corner. Be careful for what you wish for. You may get it!

  22. Jim, you nailed it on Wolff. A lazy, overly dramatic poseur. He hasnt been revelant for years. As far as editing? He's untouchable.

  23. 7:08 Untouchable? I suspect that's true.

    What editor would feel empowered to send this back to Wolff with a request for a complete rewrite?

    When does Wolff file -- so close to deadline that there's no way to spike his column and ask for a new one?

    Does he run his column ideas past an editor before starting them? Or does the latest column just show up?

  24. if carpenter doesn't think Phx pressmen are any good, didn't he just come from phx where he was in charge, that doesn't say much for him does it !!

  25. Good analysis of today's column, Jim. You should look at the rest of them. They have progressively gotten worse. But Wolff has carte blanche to do what he wants. Editing is at senior levels and he has final say on changes. Too bad he is not doing some fresh, original work. He wrote the book on Murdoch, yet today's column on right wing media barely relects that. Meanwhile, Murdoch is in the news for crackpot tweets.

    The sad thing is we had a pretty decent media reporter, Peter Johnson, before Musicman Ken Paulson decided media coverage was too inside baseball for Usa Today. Now we are so inside baseball that not even media insiders care about what Wolff writes. But his brilliant prose gets top play. He must be laughing all the way to the bank.

  26. Line editors are so beaten down from above and below, most dont care about shitty copy any more. You just dont realize how bad much of the raw copy is. Day in, day out, you lose incentive to rewrite flabby cooy and question holes. Especially when reporters don't put in the effort and the same senior editors stay on easy street, getting the promotions and justifying their existence by nitpicking and sending snippy emails.

  27. His Wikepedia file makes for some fascinating reading. Obviously, a smart guy who has done some good work, but the criticism of his columns for assorted publications is eerily similar to current observations. It does seem like he has been phoning it in for several years.

  28. Don't look now but the 'upgrade' of USA Today's iPad app is making its loyal readers pretty cranky today.

    Here's a quick sample:

    * I hate it
    * Worst ever - awful. 'They did the same thing with the daily paper - small print, everyone hates it and they ignore the complaints.'
    * Bring back the previous format. Who is the 'genius' that came up with this?
    * Awful upgrade. Please republish the prior version.

    Old Saying Still True: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Of course now that it IS broke, will they fix it. Have they tried it? What's going on with you USAT???

  29. See this error in Wolff's column Monday? "Fox had a painful election night with its on-air bickering about when to call the Ohio primary."

  30. Someone - anyone on the desk awake on Sunday night, hello!!! - should have caught that. There was a typo in another paragraph. He got the name of a Vodka brand a few weeks ago and pissed off The Hollywood Reporter in another column.

    This guy is at tip of the spear for Kramer's revitalized 'national treasure.' More like fool's gold.

  31. Phx pressmen are lazy...They can't hardly run the press....BUT it is the good pressman that carry the rest of the room and without the good press guys the other 75% of the rest would be begging on the streets...HATS OFF TO THE GOOD PRESSMEN!!! 25% are good the other 75% just are lazy bums collecting a paycheck

  32. Shouldn't this be distinguished with column highlights instead of story highlights? Shouldn't someone take out the reference to the Ohio PRIMARY 18 hours after iit was first posted? Isn't his last paragraph slightly over-the-top and serves to fuel critics of the lamestream, left-wing media?

    Even if it's an opinion, it should br labeled as a column. The primary reference should be omitted. Doesn't anyone care about errors and bias anymore, or is that beneath all of the new senior editors who can't be bothered with such triffling concerns?

  33. About Mr. Wolff -- anyone with a brain knows who he is attacking. Starts with an F, ends with an X.

    What he and the MSNBC crowd just does not get, because their minds are closed -- his target is good at TV whiz-bang. Period.

    Gets ratings. Makes profits. Has jobs. Harder to do than it looks, Mr. Albert Gore, Jr.

    Big Al Neuharth used to be criticized for "marketing."

    Yeah, well, right now, USAT NEEDS SOMETHING. It has been dull!

    Have a nice Thanksgiving.

  34. Who remembers USA Today TV?

    TV. Not as easy as it looks.

  35. why would GCI think a change is in order in Cincinnati, or that Buchanan and her pet rat are local jokes, when the Enquirer is the greatest news source on the planet? Please see


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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