An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
So Jim......................The Cincinnati Enquirer makes a major change in format and begins printing two hours away. That's as of yesterday. You great the day after with a Spanish "hello?"So far you have nothing on this major breaking news event we have be hearing ramp up for months. What's up with that? No analysis, no pithy insight, no doom and gloom? Where do I turn to learn about the results of this change????Signed,a disgruntled reader
More meaningless, corporate-required social media training in USCPland. The basics of Twitter? People at media outlets of any size know all that, and so far corporate hasn't provided metrics show whether Twitter is creating reader engagement (and translating to advertising dollars). It's not like we in USCPland can get $1,000 a tweet for product endorsements. I guess Jody needs to justify her big bucks.
The training isn't required by corporate. Maybe your local site made it mandatory, but it wasn't at mine.
Digital reader engagement? Gannett killed that when they required facebook logins in order to comment on local stories. The proof is in the dramatic drop in numbers of comments on the community sites. In the long run that will be seen as a disasterous decision because circulation and advertising dollars ultimately hinge on reader engagement.
Absolutely spot on comment.Gannett’s reliance on Facebook was a huge mistake in many ways including in showing that it is not the digital leader it likes all to believe it is, else it would have created its own system not unlike what the WSJ and other smaller players in this space have done.Continuing to cling to Facebook when so many tire of it and news of how closely it monitors the acts of users - despite their increasing demands for more privacy, is even more absurd.
Agree completely. I will never do anything anywhere that requires a Facebook log-on. (And I do use Facebook.) It's too intrusive, and while I sometimes would like to engage in a discussion about a story, I just don't want my Facebook ID and photo on there. I suspect I'm not alone.
Your concerns are valid, 10:39. There are a lot of good minds that read this blog. I think that some of you would be interested in the following article: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2009.01494.x/pdfGenerally, the Journal of Computer-Mediated Comunication makes fascinating reading. You can find it on the Wiley Online Library site at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291083-6101I found Gannett's switch to facebook-mediated commentary puzzling until I realized that it was probably motivated by some kind of financial reward, rather than the stated goal of preserving civility. In turn, Facebook makes its money largely by selling information on its users to third parties so it makes sense for that company to offer that platform to sites which generate a lot of discussion, like newspapers. By tying its digital commentary to Facebook however, Gannett has gambled that Facebook will always be well-regarded and a highly popular web destination. (I'm sure that at some point someone thought that would be the case for compuserve, myspace, and blackplanet, too...) I thought at the time it was a mistake to adopt the facebook commentary platform, primarily for the same reason that every 2nd grade soccer coach tells his/her players to just win games and don't worry about the other teams. Control your own destiny. Giving a huge chunk of one's corporate identity to the management of a third party doesn't seem like good business practice. But then, what do I know?
On the rare occasion that I actually click on an article when I check the local Gannett web page, I always make a note of how many many comments there are. I have seen two, sometimes one, and usually ZERO comments, since the Facebook transition, it looks pretty dead. From the reader's perspective, it looks like nobody reads this stuff and I doubt many do.If you zoom over to another (non Gannett) mid market daily in the same state, it is full of comments and vibrant. There is some trash and objectionable stuff, but 2/3s is decent.What kills me is we go absolute low end: entertainment, jail pictures, feel good blogs, sports pictures, pet pictures, galleries of local no names pictures, shill articles/ads for cars and bars. Then we turn around and get mad that the comments our new customer base posts are not civil enough. So we go to the Facebook authentication, nobody posts anything, and it looks like no one reads this stuff. They probably don't. What the hell did we expect?I am not a marketing person, but I bet I would kick the crap out of marketing people with the locals under new ownership. You would only have to pay me for a day a two to get these results.The focus would be something like this. Under new management and ownership. We fired the editor!! We are putting the "news" back in the "paper". I bet that would be worth a 20% circulation boost.
Love how newspapers like USA TODAY want to play watchdog over every business except themselves -- how they hunt for the truth in the name of journalistic values, and expect a certain degree of transparency from private and public organizations -- but conceal or distort the truth within their own building.This "early retirement" package the higher-ups announced yesterday is some of the most blatant spin you'll ever see coming from any business. I would suggest that USAT get practice more truthfulness with its employees. Then maybe it can play holier than thou with the industries and agencies it covers and editorialized about.I also hope USAT will refrain from ever writing another age discrimination article or editorial until it addresses its own practice of stereotyping anyone over 50.Buyouts based on age are neither compassionate nor good business. How you treat your senior employees is a reflection your core. It's a negative message to all who work there or might consider working there. It is also short-sighted and not practical. Losing so much institutional knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is retaining younger people who simply don't have the skills to grow into a job. Why ditch a well-performing 55-year-old in favor of saving a 30-year-old's job who isn't cutting it? Just makes no sense even if there is a $20-$30k difference in salary.
9:30 I'm 56. I'm not sure what your issue is with the offer. All you have to do is say "no thanks!" It's a blessing to some. What's the problem?
Here's the problem with your line of thinking. A large portion of those being offered buyouts are senior managers who edit no copy and produce no copy. They aren't getting it online, either. Call away and Kramer's vision is digital. They can't ramp up that staff w/o cutting out high salaries of those who do little for the product. Buyouts are sure kinder and gentler than layoffs. If you don't want to take the buyout, find a way to make yourselves useful, develop a new skill set or leave.Yes, I am taking the buyout.
The good news in your comment is that some of the savings from the buyouts will be devoted to hiring staff into new positions.
Amazing how sick minds somehow twist an entirely voluntary opportunity for early retirement into something sinister.
Cinci Enquirer started getting its paper printed yesterday up in Columbus, Ohio, by the Dispatch (let go 97 Enquirer printers in doing so). Here are some reviews of new paper's size (sort of tabloid, but not quite, with lots of one-story section fronts and BIG graphics).http://www.local12.com/news/local/story/Readers-React-to-Change-in-Enquirers-Format/vhVlGHarp0iVn7z2mDj7mw.cspxThere were complaints about late delivery. Enquirer customer service was so busy it kept callers on hold for more than 30 minutes this morning.
If Buchanan couldn’t get Monday’s paper delivered on-time despite sending her last page to Columbus HOURS ahead of schedule, then what will she attempt to get this Sunday’s edition delivered on-time...last page out by 10 a.m. Saturday?
Continues Channel 12 report: "Despite the smaller size, today's Enquirer contains as much advertising as last week's larger format paper." NEW SINGLE-STORY FRONT PAGE, HOW IT LOOKS, AT ...http://westchesterbuzz.com/2013/03/11/publisher-new-cincinnati-enquirer-unfolds-monday/
Zero comments on West Chester Buzz, five or six on Buchanan’s Enquirer piece and roughly the same on Local 12’s and others – a majority negative, suggest going to tabloid size was a big yawn at best for Greater Cincinnatian’s who’ve long ago been conditioned to expect less from the Enquirer, not more.Try as Buchanan must, but smaller size, “larger” photos and more color won’t mask the Enquirer’s shrinking newshole as it’s the latter of which that matters most to consumers, something their shrinking numbers has been signaling for some time now.
the move of Enquirer to Columbus was not Buchanan's decision. it was Austin Ryan on the GPS side, because he didn't want to invest any money in the old Enquirer presses.
Nice try 11:11, but Buchanan more than once expressed wanting out of the printing business easily a few years before GPS was even a twinkle in anyone’s eyes.Shutting, consolidating plants under her control prior to Western's serves as easy proof.
you are correct Ryan started the Columbus deal well before GPS, and Buchanan had to sign off for it as did all of corporate, Austin also was the one who bought the used european press for Shreveport that doesn't work very well. he also was the one who wanted to take over all the USAT printing and get Kurkhart out.
Ryan’s all political hat, no cattle.
What wasn't discussed in Cincinnati's new format was the incredible lack of content. Six local stories? We'll come back in six months and see how many more stories Carolyn Wasburn's "150 journalists" are churning out.
I wanna' be a cow-boy!
Does Gannett actively pursue commercial printing jobs to bring in revenue? The Providence Journal does and that non-Gannett daily has seen its printing revenue grow. Hasn't fully replaced advertising revenue, yet it helps keep Rhode Island's largest daily going.
It varies site by site. I know that Montgomery has long had a very active commercial print group, more so before loosing smaller sheet fed press. It does now have a nearly full press schedule on its broadsheet press including another non-Gannett daily and advance runs for that daily's sister pub.
Needless to say, the commercial printing biz is shrinking even faster than the newspaper biz.
re: New Cinci Enquirer. There's a nice roundup analysis, lots of examples, of page-by-page designs athttp://apple.copydesk.org/2013/03/11/cincinnati-enquirer-relaunches-with-new-format-design/
Des Moines is in shambles. Kimm Miller leaving will be the downfall of the advertising department. Three directors when Mark Wurzer arrived, now all three of them are gone plus Marketing VP and GCS Director.Someday soon there won't be anyone left to hire.....Des Moines isn't that big, and as we saw from trying to find the most recent director, nobody wants to move there either!
Giove it to Banikarim. Only she alone can fix Des Moines and reverse the downfall. That girl is on fire!
Absolutely baby....on fy-ah!
I hope we hear more about the Des Moines situation.It is rare to hear anything from that site. I thought it was because that is Laura's precious baby and it was the cream of the crop.
Shreveport is a product of Laura Hollingsworth. That girl is on Fire!
Laura was busy getting the new guy in at Iowa City. There's no election this year so all DMR has to do is take care of their bike race. Maybe we can afford Lance Armstrong as a headliner!
QUOTE So far you have nothing on this major breaking news event we have be hearing ramp up for months. What's up with that? UNQUOTETotally agree. The Cincy format change has been in works for months if not years. Could not Jim have figure out a way to get a copy? Have someone scan a copy? Get local reaction? Something?Instead we are left with employees, many angry, belittling the effort. What does it look like? What does it feel like? Is this future of Gannett community newspapers?That's what I expect from the Blog, not endless rehashes of the stock, the stock, the stock, which shows Jim to be straitjacketed as a business reporter with no feel for actual products, actual workplaces or the fabric of America, not to mention his readership here.More is expected from something called the Gannett Blog.
There’s likely been more commentary on this blog about the Enquirer’s format change than there’s been in the far larger community it serves, as evidenced by so few comments on the Enquirer’s own site, local TV station’s and others to date.And, let’s not overlook how most of the comments have been negative on those sites, yet you want to attack those who share similar views here as angry employees? Frankly, your rant has done little more than provide a comedic break, thanks.
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I have always relied on readers to supply links to stories that are worth my readers' attention. This includes yesterday's critique by Charles Apple. I won't pretend something isn't newsworthy by not posting it just to save face. Responding to other criticism:It's not feasible for me to travel to Cincinnati from San Francisco to gather reader reactions to the Enquirer's new format. And I don't have money to hire local freelancers. Charles Apple has much more expertise on design than I do, so deferring to his judgement just makes sense. Also, Charles has access to advance pages, and permission to use them, that I do not have. (Few Gannett employees dare cooperating with me because of understandable fears of being disciplined.)In the end, my readers are always more interested in each others' comments than in mine. Years of traffic measures prove that again and again. Finally, as always, this is very much a part-time venture for me. I have other demands in my time.
12:39 So far this year, I have posted only six items devoted solely to daily changes in Gannett's stock. Most of those concerned shares reaching new highs.What's more, counting even the most casual references to GCI's stock price, I've posted 88 items out of more than 900 total posts over the past year.I don't think this qualifies as endless discussions of the ultimate measure of the company's success.In any case,I've been frequently criticized for not posting enough about "positive" changes in the stock.Bottom line: I'll never please everyone simultaneously.
The irony here is fantastic. This post is probably from an employee of a company that has basically blown off journalism. That would be fine, but that same company still expects the readers to actually pay for this crap that is totally worthless. Jim basically does this as a labor of love and the reporting that he does is better than anything I have read in the local Gannett rag in many years. That OP has probably never sent Jim a dime and he/she has the presence to post that.All I can say is unf***ing believable.
The blog is boring today. Where are all those fired ex marketing people?Nothing is on fire today, including the stock.
Oh, I beg to differ:"She's just a girl, and she's on fireHotter than a fantasy, lonely like a highwayShe's living in a world, and it's on fireFeeling the catastrophe, but she knows she can fly away "
Check out Ron Reason's guide to the Cincinnati Enquirer, with special emphasis on the glorious 12-page section devoted (to who else?) pics of staff.http://ronreason.com/designwithreason/2013/03/11/the-redesigned-cincinnati-enquirer-readers-guide-first-pages/
Hey, 12:39. Cut down on the caffeine. You are working way too hard. The blog is what it is and it is still free. Unlike my local Gannett paper that charges $24 a month for "exclusive" AP copy. The Enquirer design is interesting stuff to read for those of us who live near major metros who have real investigative content. Form of substance or as accountants like to say ... putting lipstick on the pig.
Sports Business Journal's piece on USAT SMG a year+ in: http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2013/03/11/Media/USA-Today.aspx(link valid only for subscribers, so copied in whole here)A year in, USA Today group hitting its marksBy Terry Lefton, Staff WriterPublished March 11, 2013In a little more than a year, USA Today Sports Media Group says it’s achieving the reach, relevance and ad dollars envisioned at startup in late 2011.Through acquisition of sites like The Big Lead, and with accelerated traffic from last summer’s Olympic Games, USA Today Sports reached a new high in online traffic and has maintained momentum. In February 2012, USA Today and associated sites moved into the top five of comScore rankings for sports sites for the first time, hitting No. 4 with 24.2 million unique visitors. The group hasn’t dropped out of the top five since. Before the aggregation, it ranked outside the top 10, with a little over half of that traffic.“Overall digital traffic is up 120 percent year over year,” said USA Today Sports Media Group President Tom Beusse. “Clearly a fair amount of that was through acquisition, but we’ve also relaunched and grown traffic on USATodaysports.com by 100 percent. More importantly, we’ve shown that the USA Today Sports brand can be leveraged as marketing assets, which was our goal from the outset.” He went on to add, with a laugh, “As for revenues, they have increased by a significant number and if that weren’t true, I wouldn’t be here.’’Advertising and marketing alliances with large properties, including the PGA Tour, NASCAR, Churchill Downs and a pending three-year deal with the UFC, have helped build out content and drive advertising revenue. League and property relations, and custom promotions and events, now drive more than a third of the revenue for the Sports Media Group.A prime example is the relationship with NASCAR, now extended to a three-year deal from its one-year test run, under which Mobil 1 will be presenting sponsor of preview coverage of each NASCAR race every Friday in USA Today Sports. In another case, Anheuser-Busch is sponsoring a multiplatform “Road to the Kentucky Derby’’ series, created under the Churchill Downs partnership.“We never had league relationships on the business side here, so they have been real door openers for us and made our brand relevant from a sports business standpoint,” said Merrill Squires, senior vice president and head of sports marketing and partnerships at USA Today Sports Media Group.Another charge for the group was to create new properties from existing assets. Toward that end, the celebrated, if aging, USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter was tweaked to make it digital and consumer-facing, with a vote of 1,000 online panelists. That change attracted Chrysler as an advertiser. USA Today is now looking at expanding the Ad Meter to other big events, and at some possible on-site experiential extensions.Gatorade’s sponsorship of USA Today’s High School Sports Super 25 is another recent example.In its second year, Beusse says the focus will be on continuing to meld Gannett’s local and national media properties. In addition, they are looking at further integration of video into digital content, where there has already been content marketing assignments underwritten by Under Armour and DirecTV. Finally, he pointed to a continued push against the growing legions of displaced fans, where “we have the local credibility and national reach to service that group that can’t get enough content.”
Would have been nice if Sports Business Journal asked / delved more deeply into numbers. For example, "revenues...increased by a significant number.." - like what/how, exactly? I'd also ask if that Mobil or Anheuser deal came from the respective league's efforts, or through the USAT SMG sales efforts.A good example of the hubris of the group is that quote from Merrill Squires. "...never had league relationships on the business side here" is simply incorrect. McIntyre/Skelton had relationships built under Advertising for more than 10 years, and all those "new" relationships the article mentions had their genesis under their tenure, particularly the PGA TOUR. Anyone in the newsroom or the Ad Sales group can tell you that, but seeing as how there's likely no one left anymore who cares or remembers...these new guys can see life as they want.The local angle is what Beusse and co. have always banked on as the big unique asset for the group, I'm guessing the continued focus indicates that this is still a struggle to make relevant for leagues.
You beat me to it 8:37. I was going to post pretty much the same thing. Some probing questions by the reporter might have been helpful...even revealing. How much of that revenue would have occurred with the traditional ad sales staff at USAT. I say 90% or more.And Squires comment is just an outright lie. Before SMG and it's 150 employees USAT succeeded with advertisers and league relationships with two people. So, whatever he's smoking, he needs to put it down.
What a ridiculous article. It reads like a press release. SBJ must be in business with USAT SPORTS at some level to try to pass off this puffery as actual reporting.....Here's some questions that hack trade magazine didn't ask our fearless leader, laughing in the face of danger while he lays off people and destroys careers. Namely:1) What happened to Joe Posnanski and Sports on Earth? Ol Joe was the biggest hire for USAT SPORTS. They fired a lot of good people to pay his salary and build a whole web site, Sports on Earth, around him. Joe took their blood money, wrote his pathetic Paterno book on their dime, then left them high and dry for NBC Sports. SEO is an expensive flop. What about that Tom?2) What has USA TODAY actually broken since the new geniuses took over. We get a lot of cheap headlines with sex, pot and "photo bombs" and cheerleader photogalleries. Plus Chris Chase pontificating on Chris Berman. But is there a story they can claim they broke? How can you not ask that question?
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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