Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April 22-28 | Your News & Comments: Part 1

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60 comments:

  1. Hands down, The New York Times has the best running account of the dragnet underway in Boston for the lone surviving marathon bomber.

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  3. I went to the USA Today site to check out the Boston manhunt coverage and I have no idea what the hell to look at. Haven't been to this site much lately. Is this what it looks like everyday? A mish-mash of crap organized in a way where there apparently is no news judgment or prioritizing or stories.

    I don't have time to scroll through all those little squares trying to decide what is important and what isn't. That used to be the job of editors, but I guess USA Today doesn't subscribe to that theory anymore and just plasters a bunch of stuff on its home page like juiced up blog.

    I also don't need the same old pics and video that have been splashed all over TV for 24 hours. I rather read new and informative stories than look at tired eye candy.

    Hey, USAT, you're a news organization with roots in print. Try to have your website reflect that, otherwise I will just stick with the NYT.

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    1. This is my ongoing beef with the site design launched in September. I can see more headlines at a glance on a more traditional newspaper site -- The New York Times is an excellent example -- than I can on USAT's.

      This more "visual" approach was supposed to be an improvement. But it has fallen far short.

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    2. I agree, Jim, and that's why I subscribe to the NY Times at less than half what my local Gannett rag now costs, and I won't go to USAT even tho it is free. Aggregate sites like Google and cable pages are also well ahead of anything Gannett. And they wonder why they are losing readers.

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  4. The job of prioritizing has shifted to Twitter (the nation's new editor in chief).

    Whether true or baloney, tweets send readers to stories and videos across the web. Homefronts are so 2008.

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  5. Al is dead. Once again your "sources" let you down

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  6. For those who thing digital will save the news industry, here is a sobering accounting. Find your local Gannett paper here - if you can.

    http://auditedmedia.com/news/blog/data-dive-a-closer-look-at-digital-editions-for-us-newspapers.aspx

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    1. It's funny that USAT, the "nations newspaper," is just 10% of the subscription-based NY Times in digital, and well behind a lot of local sites. Time for a redesign or some new program of passion topics, real people, real news, minorities, emphasis on videos or something - anything but a commitment to news coverage.

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    2. USAT is dead in the water. Most managers have been let go or "transplanted". The paper is now sleeping with our competition. Every morning USAT jumps out of bed and goes for a ride with what use to be our competition. The GM's have been given over to Marketing, Circulation and/or Editorial. The DSM base has almost disappeared. I wonder who will be doing the sales audits, integrity audits and the good old raw, raw school audits? Who's verifying returns and sales. The only ones to make out in this deal are both Gannett (cut positions) and the compition delivering the product (placement, accurate return count and sales). USAT sure isn't top shelf that's for sure. I could go on but why?

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  7. Now Al is as dead as his dream. In the streets of Gannett-Land, the masses are chanting "WE GOT HIM"

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  8. Yes, I agree, not a big fan of the confusing, new mish-mash site design. Ironically, Al's design of USA Today's cover in '82 resembled the home pages of internet sites to come!

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    1. Pick me! Pick me! Please!!!

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  10. Wow everyone must be holding their breath until tomorrow's financials are released.

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    1. Yes,everyone is hoping it will be them chosen for layoffs.

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    2. BS! You all talk a good game. USAT has a great offer in the table right now and all the big talkers can't run away from it fast enough. You all love to complain but down deep you know you can't get a job someplace else.

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    3. News flash to 8:34: There is no offer "in the table" for the hundreds of us NOT at USAT who would be eligible and absolutely love to receive that deal. And no, I don't want/need another job anyplace else in this industry.

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    4. The last buyout offers excluded usa today so stop whining everyone.

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  11. Jim have you seen NY Times redesign prototype? A mess like all other newspaper sites. I hope they dump it.

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    1. Over the weekend I had a terrible time with it. Very slow loading, timeouts, pages not found. . . . Today it's back to the old format.

      I hope that means it's back to the drawing board.

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    2. Q1 numbers are out:
      http://finance.yahoo.com/news/gannett-co-inc-reports-57-122400037.html
      44¢/share, beats by 9¢, and $1.24B in revs, right on the estimate.

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    3. I'm glad revenue is on the estimate and per-share is up, but I don't see any significant revenue stream increase. Results still propped up by the "all access" circulation price increases at most properties. I'm concerned that will flatten, based on the dearth of online subscribers in my market. Print advertising still down, though not as much as in previous quarters. Bottom line also reflects savings from "continued workforce and real estate optimization"--i.e., consolidations, layoffs and property sales/closures. Digital up, but by how much, really? That's an honest question for the financial analysts out there. Working for Gannett has certainly taught me to pay attention to the numbers.

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    4. Layoffs have helped bottom line but as I have been saying all along it is hurting the revenue number from print which still accounts for 70 percent of revenue. They out sourced jobs to save and raised prices to try to make up for the cancellations due to poor customer service.

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  12. The Worst Jobs of 2013

    Working as a newspaper reporter was a dream job for Rochelle Gilken, but that changed as the years passed and the industry shifted gears. "The pay left a lot to be desired, and the stress - oh boy! I have two kids, and I have to say that I couldn't balance home and work and be happy due to the stress," says Gilken, who spent six years as a crime reporter for the Palm Beach Post.

    Of course, low pay and high stress are part of a reporter's job description, but other changes led to Gilken's decision to change industries. "I had aspirations to get bigger and better newspaper jobs, but the opportunity to climb the ladder disappeared as newspapers cut back, which was very discouraging," says Gilken. "I always wanted to travel to cover the big stories, like the Olympics, but the money to allow for that just wasn't there and wasn't coming back," she says.


    http://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/worst-jobs-2013

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  13. "Al Neuharth and the pursuit of the mediocre"

    http://www.poynter.org/how-tos/newsgathering-storytelling/writing-tools/211173/al-neuharth-and-the-pursuit-of-the-mediocre/

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  14. First quarter earning are up and beat the Street's estimates. Good news all the way around. Way to go everyone!!!!

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    1. They failed to meet growth expectations stock is down.

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  15. http://www.dnj.com/article/20130423/NEWS01/304230038/MTSU-selects-former-USA-Today-Editor-Ken-Paulson-Mass-Communication-Dean

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    1. Not surprising, given Freedom Forum's financial straits. Paulson was getting paid nearly $500,000, with benefits.

      Interesting to note that Middle Tennessee is a public university, so his annual pay should eventually be public.

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    2. Can't wait until he throws one of his silly temper tantrums upon finding out how hard it is to fire tenured professors. Hope they all know what a egotistical jerk of a boss they're getting. He'll delegate and coast for five or so years when he can get Medicare.

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  16. Revenues are not meeting growth expectations due to the layoffs and Gannetts callous disregard for it's print customers and customer service. Stock is down.

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  17. http://www.hillmanfoundation.org/2013-hillman-prize-web-journalism

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  18. Street didn't feel so good about it. There is no way that Gannett hits 300,000 digital only by the end of the year, is there?

    From Seeking Alpha:

    Gracia C. Martore - Chief Executive Officer, President, Director, Member of Executive Committee and Member of Transformation Committee
    I think we were in the 40s when we talked about that in the last year. So we expect to be in the 250,000 to 300,000 range by the end of 2013 into early 2014. There's going to be a big ramp-up. I mean, we've been working on it. First quarter is never a significant quarter, Bob, on starts and the like.

    Robert J. Dickey - President of U.S. Community Publishing Division
    I mean, just like anything, people come out of the holidays, and so consumers -- plus on top of all the changes that were happening in the customers, definitely, we saw a slowdown in some of the sales channel. But we're happy to report that we've seen that turn back around the first few weeks of April. So that is the goal that we're shooting for, absolutely.

    Gracia C. Martore - Chief Executive Officer, President, Director, Member of Executive Committee and Member of Transformation Committee
    And we're feeling good about it.

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  19. Don't Gannett execs always sound uninformed on these calls? I thought it was just a Dubow thing, but this cast of characters are not much better.

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    1. Sounded to me that the analyst were skeptical of the plan Martore has implemented going forward. Martore and crew had to work hard to try and put a good spin on how well it has worked.

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  20. I think Teflon Tony is feeling pretty good.
    After all he had a hissy fit when the stock was at 1.97/share.

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  21. Just checked out the new 'For the Win' blog/site of USAT Sports...and I don't get it. I mean, I get that it is a new site meant to be a player in social media...but I don't see how or get why it exists. Shouldn't resources be put toward reinforcing USAT Sports main site as a player in social media? Someone needs to explain to me how this site will serve a reader purpose not served already by Deadspin, for example? And what of Sports in Earth? USAT Sports now has the main site, SOE, and now FTW...not to mention Big Lead sites. On one hand, aggregating audience across all for ad buys, but on the other hand - creating more internal competition for eyeballs. Maybe this is just a vanity project for a bunch of sports dudes excited to try something with the blessing of Gannett and Gracia. But that could be said for the whole endeavor anyway. Looking forward to hearing about that $300m in 2015.

    http://ftw.usatoday.com/

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    1. Agreed. I kind of like the design, and the content is OK. But it's by and large the same content USA TODAY Sports has been doing under Dave Morgan, just with a new wrapper.

      Perhaps USA TODAY is going to simply become a portal for all USAT SMG content, including Sports on Earth, The Big Lead, etc? If not, at some point all these outlets will be competing for the same eyeballs against brands - ie; Deadpspin - with serious head starts.

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  22. The new 'For the Win' web site shows what a joke USA TODAY Sports has become.

    In their eternal wisdom, Gannett brougt in smug, self-satified new managers such as Beusse, Morgan, 'Pez,' etc., who have never accomplished squat.

    Yet they have the nerve look down their noses with contempt at the staff and the product they inherited.

    So what do they do? Trying to win some "cred" in the frat-boy world of bloggers, they went out and hired a bunch of fading web names who were the cool kids in Internet High School -- 5 years ago.

    Of course, Beusse and Morgan couldn't ask these self-proclaimed stars to work on anything as plebian and uncool as USA TODAY Sports. So they had to create whole new sites for them to share their creative genius. Hence the failing Sports on Earth and now "For the Win," whatever the hell that means.

    Well, guess what? All of them are failing. SOE is not in Grantland's league. Bill Simmons doesn't give it a second thought. For the Win was launched the other day -- with zero impact. Nobody cared.

    ESPN, SI, NYT and Wall Street Journal are laughing at these clowns. Everytime our gullible leaders at Gannett begin to get wise to this shell game, they launch another web site.

    The message has also been sent loud and clear: anybody who's still working on the USA SPORTS print/web edition is now a second-class citizen. They're simply there to generate the bulk of the revenue, while the new guys get preferential treatment. All the people fired or pushed out will be the leftovers, not the new kids on the block.

    I've never seen a work environement so poisonous. And a management team that hates and fears their own employees as much this group does.

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    1. This is why Gannett never makes the Most Admired Corporations or Best Companies to Work For lists.

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    2. Aside from some good journalism, the real respect of USA Today Sports had always been in its role of the national sports print daily, a position that NYT, WSJ, SI, ESPN couldn't touch. Readers and sports folk alike looked to USA Today to be the voice of what's going on across the country. With the struggles of newspapers and subsequent audience decline, obviously relying on that position was challenging to the bottom revenue line. And, the new way of thinking is to focus on solidifying the digital assets. The inherent problem is, that position of respect and recognition never translated to USAT.com for Sports. Sure, there's been a sizeable audience but the position of being the recognized digital voice for sports long passed USAT by, and by ESPN, SI, Yahoo and others. No one really went to USAT.com for its leadership in sports reporting, like they might have with the paper.
      So now, Sports is playing catch-up. And catch-all. Like Grantland? USAT offers SOE. Like Deadspin? USAT offers now FTW.
      Are you an ad buyer and like large scale? USAT can throw in Big Lead. Like High Scool news? There's HSS.net. Action sports, BNQT.
      Need localization, there's all of Gannett. In the end, I don't know what USA Today Sports means anymore. It's a large powerhouse by virtue of it's audience size (I guess) when including all those pieces. But, does that size matter? Where is the point of differentiation? The big internal sales proposition has been USAT being able to localize better than others cause of access to Gannett, and vice versa that Gannett local can truly grassroots nationalize USAT content. For all the bluster, I just don't think that matters all that much. Except for the national-local angle, all those individual pieces are being done better elsewhere and for longer. I just don't see USA Today being respected as a must-read for its unique position anymore.

      The old school Sports team must be rolling over in their graves with regard to what's happened to the content these days. But those guys are long gone, and anyone left needs to drink koolaid fast if not already. Oh well. To the winners go the spoils!

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    3. Yup, indeed. This is what Gannett got in hiring Beusse. It took him only 9 months to screw up Westwood One Radio. He broke his record with USA TODAY.

      http://www.adweek.com/news/television/updated-beusse-out-westwood-one-sherwood-upped-president-110073

      This guy can run his mouth all he wants about what he apparently "witnessed" in Boston a week ago, but he'll still be a poor excuse for a senior execute that Gannett will regret hiring.

      I actually think Beusse and Banikarim must be related.

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    4. Add Kramer to the list. I suppose after dumbing down the company with a stooge like Dubow at the top and a sucession of goofballs running Usa Today into the ground, Gracia's only move after so many years of corporate in-breeding was to think outside the box. The whole lot have just stunk up the Crystal Palace even further.

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  23. Gannett's last best shot at future prosperity is local community news. That's its historic franchise.

    But instead of pouring resources into that franchise, it's instead cutting back -- while piping millions in bigger dividends to shareholders. That's not investing for success; it's just a slow-mo liquidation.

    And the push back that Corporate got from Wall Street was a rebuke of even that strategy.

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    1. It's all about the Butterfly Jimbo. It's all about the Butterfly. You and yoru cronies will hate it but resources will be directed at local, local. Get your pencils sharpened because I can hear the cry babies diatribes now!

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    2. Back in my day we had local, local, local. I guess the tighter, nimbler Gannett only has two locals within reach.

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    3. Nobody ever made money publishing "local community news". That was never the franchise for Gannett or any other local newspaper. The franchise was a near-monopoly on local retail and classified advertising. And that's gone with the wind.

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  24. I agree with Jim Hopkins ("local community news") —however, with the stress in that term being news; not the fuzzy bunny local fluff with which Gannett's yes-men editors have stuffed its brand so often. I recall the big push for "local" identity only to see it become so much smoke up the reader's ass: true, some real news of course (and some of it brilliant and very good; and some it failing Journalism 101 standards), but mostly? PR stories. That's Gannett's definition of "local community news."

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  25. I just learned about "For the Win" yesterday and I work for the damn company! What's the strategy here? Where do we want the reader to go for sports....other than our competitors that is.

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    1. If you don't work for Sports, then Beusse and co. don't give a blip about filling you in. (Unless you're Gracia)

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  26. Ad services layoffs are happening today.

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    1. Bunch of artists and clerks in Des Moines lost their positions, anything from any other sites?

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    2. Six in Cincy.

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  27. Pretty soon it will just be - USA Today - Shreveport - or insert your local city - all from the same newsroom and outsourced sales and accounting staff - watch & see...

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    1. You might be right.

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  28. To 5:21-you could not be more correct. Since USAT gave way to delivery and management by other Gannett and non-Gannett properties; No one seems to care. The only ones who really care and notice are those that were either let go, forced out, or so derailed by pure bully's. It is this group of ex-employees that truly care. Audits, empty racks, delivery issues NO ONE CARES!!!!!!!!!!!

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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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