An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
The proverbial fat lady ain't sung yet.
Unfortunately I think you are right, but for me it is just a gut feeling.Could you elaborate please...?
In this thread, a reader asked:Does anyone know if this is it, or will there be more this week? Did the papers that made their revenue projections not have layoffs?And I responded:No, there are more to come. I'm just not sure when.
Many, many of the newspapers missing from my list are all in the East Group, which is based in Rochester, N.Y., under Group President Michael Kane.
I seriously doubt that all his newspapers were able to meet their cost-cutting targets solely through other means. That's why I'm convinced there are more to come.
28 shifts in the Press room in Phoenix.
Jim, you are too casually dismissing the greatness that is Michael Kane. He is perfectly capable of being the only group president to avoid cuts by making bottomline goals. He is a genius, a giant, a man among men, a messiah, a budda, a yoda, a god.
And Kane sits at the helm of the WORST performing paper in his kingdom, er...East Group.
Can't wait for all my money,severance and everything is over so I can write him a long letter.
He used to be a really nice guy. Guess Gannett took him into their Zombie training program.
Two ad managers axed in Montgomery.
Thank you; I've now added those to the list.
Will the GIADC see any cuts is what I'm wondering
Probably not they're building ads and making money.
then why would advertising positions be cut in some areas?
It not only Gannett, here's another good size paper going down the tubes:The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer underwent a massive round of layoffs last week as reporters, editors, photographers and others sat by their phones waiting to hear their fate. Employees were instructed last Tuesday night to go home and await phone calls between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Wednesday, according to a memo obtained by Jim Romenesko. If they were to keep their job they would need to show up for their regularly scheduled shift, and if not then they were told to come in to meet with a human resources representative, according to the memo. As tweets and reports started piling in, the number of layoffs rose to around 50, slashing the newsroom by one-third. Plain Dealer parent Advance Publications announced earlier this spring that the company would be reorganized and that home delivery would be cut to three days a week. The first round of layoffs started in June with staff in the marketing, finance, information technology, prepress and building services departments. Advance has also cut back home-delivery days for the (New Orleans) Times-Picayune and The (Portland) Oregonian, mirroring the strategy the publisher first began rolling out in 2011 at its Booth Newspapers unit in Michigan.
Given the recent sales of the Post and the Globe, how many Gannett papers could actually function if they were sold to a new owner given the pagination hubs, the several papers printed off-site and various other functions handled off-site?
They could be sold as groups of 8 or 10 papers, such as Wisconsin or Ohio or East. Prices would be down, but there are interested buyers for some properties, and they would probably have more success than Gannett, since they know the communities and the industry, and know they way to prosper is to grow, not cut. And you could be there would be a lot fewer executives milking the income.
Don't know how much of this is true, but rumor mill has it that by January The Greenville News may be printed in Gastonia, N.C. This paper is owned by Halifax Media, who bought NYT last year. They also own Greenville's neighbor paper Spartanburg Hearald Journal. Greenville also prints the Asheville Citizen Times since they shut down their production facility a while back. Smells like something's brewing here.
Actually, Halifax Media bought the Florida and Deep South dailies that used to be owned by the New York Times Co.
Is tension building in Fort Myers, FL?http://www.news-press.com/article/20130806/NEWS01/308060027/Will-NAACP-s-tactics-get-traction-http://www.news-press.com/article/20130804/NEWS01/130804012/Lee-County-NAACP-seeks-mediation-with-Sheriff-Scotthttp://www.news-press.com/article/20130805/NEWS01/130805018/Hertz-executive-responds-criticisms-from-Lee-County-NAACP-president
@4:15, you raise a good point that's come up on this blog from time to time. I agree, I'm not sure who would or could take on an individual newspaper that's had many of its core operations outsourced. Then the only option would be for someone to essentially buy all of Gannett's newspaper holdings, and that seems unlikely. If Gannett can't make them work, who else could?I think the logical endgame is the spinoff. Gannett dumps the newspapers into a new entity, pats it on the head and waves goodbye. The managers of the print business then are left with the task of making it work. They'd have as good a shot as anyone, but the challenge obviously would be immense.But I don't know where USAT fits in this scenario. Until recently I'd have said Gannett would want to hang onto its flagship; now I'm not so sure.
Gannett wants that local presence. Who knows. Once print is dead it may be profitable. Print WILL Die everywhere not just at Gannett.
"The managers of the print business then are left with the task of making it work. They'd have as good a shot as anyone ..."Are you serious? These are the managers that led us into this pit.Gannett has to start moving hard and fast on the publishers and executive editors who are either playing out their careers or just too frozen to act.
This article is a few days old, but I was struck as to how perfectly it describes the corporate culture of Gannett: "They regard the human beings they work with — the human beings who create the value that pays their salaries — as 'costs' to be reduced to create 'maximized earnings.' " Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/business-and-the-economy-2013-7#ixzz2bBvaTjqf
Not that I'm not looking but I'm going to keep doing the best I can and when they no longer want me or I find better opportunity, you won't have to worry about the door hitting me in a certain part of my anatomy on my way out.
“A local owner by definition is more invested in the community than any out-of-state corporate chain can be." -- Dan Kennedy, journalism professor, Northeastern University, on John Henry's purchase of the Boston Globe. Jeff Bezos' purchase of the Washington Post doesn't fit into this shard of wisdom, but, generally speaking, it is quite true. Gannett's ownership grip on far-flung newspapers, including Britain, is much like the Roman Empire's ill-fated dominion over Britain, Germany and the Middle East. A chain based in Washington isn't emotionally or intellectually invested in Louisville or Montgomery or Nashville or Palm Springs, no matter how much their soldier publishers and executive editors pretend to be. Gannett's is a worn-out business model. Its rivals have sold at the top of the market, spun off its newspapers into stand-alone companies, and sold newspapers while they are still viable. Gannett seems to think that a slow down-spiral into oblivion is the best path for its newspapers. As a public company with fiduciary obligations to its owners (the shareholders), Gannett's directors and management should hire an investment banker to present a list of options and, as part of that, lists of potential buyers for each of its newspapers. The time has come. Buying newspapers have become quite the fad among billionaires. Gannett should play into this fad.
There is nothing to sell each newspaper is part of a combined operation there is nothing there but the title!
The sale price would reflect that. Some papers still have printing plants, others outsource it. Buyers would have to rebuild back office operations and essentially reconstruct websites from scratch.
Since the material is copywritten, I wonder if Gannett got approval from NBC, ABC and WorldWide Pants, Inc. for its various websites to use those chopped together highlights from the late night shows. Wouldn't it be hilarious if GCI got its backside dragged into court over that?
I hate to spoil your wishful daydreaming, but reusing talk show joke material isn't just done by USA TODAY's editorial page. Others also do it under the "fair use" precedent. This explanation is culled from the U.S. Copyright Office. "Reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research ..." So, you'll have to hope for some other "hilarious" misdeed to happen to get Gannett dragged into court. Sorry.
My question is not "why would you sell it" but "why would you buy it ?"
Your question should be directed to Warren Buffett, John Henry and Jeff Bezos.
Prices are so low. Ten years ago Howard Publications sold all 19 of their publications (ranging in size from 8,000 to 90,000) to Lee Enterprises for $664 million. In the last few days the Washington Post sold for only $250 million and the Boston Globe for only $70 million. Good time to be a buyer, not a seller.
Ten years ago Gannett stopped buying newspapers and let its competitors go on crazy buying sprees.
You get what you pay for. Not such a good time to be either a buyer or seller, much less a broker.
Anyone noticed about the new employee at Gannett Benefits, Alex? Alex is a computer. No more people to talk to. However in the literature it denotes Alex is a man. Yet the picture of Alex is a woman. I guess when you get rid of humans in human resource they can be whatever gender you want it to be.
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Gannett has doomed itself by maintaining Old Media structures and mentalities that won't evolve fast enough to survive. Its outmoded leadership still doesn't understand that New Media isn't just about new technology. The Cincinnati editor's amateurish tweet is a prime example. You can teach some of these Old Gannett relics to use Twitter or update a blog, but they don't "get" that they can't still control the narrative or put out the same old bullshit without getting called on it. Most of all they don't grasp the importance of credibility in a world where they've lost their information monopoly. Gannett and its local leaders were painfully slow to realize this is a race for survival. The company is sticking with too many tired horses that never had to run one, and can't.
And you're a wonderful worker who will save the company! Thanks.
What they "get" is that they have an audience of one, or two or three: Martore, Dickey and then their group boss.
Dawns on me that Wilmington might be able to avoid cuts because Griffin and his salary are gone for now. That's a $180k L6 savings, at least. Ellen is probably on corporate's books, under some sort of crisis-rescuer budget line. Her daily hotel, meals, constant travel and salary likely aren't booked to the News Journal. Griffin's failure might actually be saving jobs for the Wilmington crew.
Don't bet on it. Ellen ain't there to keep the chair warm.
And she can cry on cue as she reads the names of the people she just cut.
Sounds like you have experience working for this woman. Give Wilmington some idea of the type of person and or publisher she is
That's a good point -- Ellen could whack away with no guilt. Still, Kane and Lemire are close enough to the Wilmington airship to personally decide who needs to breathe in some fatal helium doses. Wonder why the delay?
She has not come out of retirement to report to a regional president. She was sent from the top and will do what was asked of her. Otherwise she "s a nice lady.
So, what do you think she has been asked to do?Straighten out the mess that Griffin created or to get rid of people or both? Why in the world would you come out of retirement to just lay people off. I find that hard to believe. She must have a bigger agenda. If she is a good person, I would think she would tell corporate to go screw themselves and let them lay off their own people.
She must of gotten a terrible retirement package to leave Florida to come to Delaware. I hope they are gave her a ton of money to do this. Sorry, I'm not that loyal. Her and Mike Kane must be good friends. Can't imagine her doing this out of the goodness of her heart.
James Fallows writes this about the Washington Post sale in Atlantic: “Let us hope that this is what the sale signifies: The beginning of a phase in which this Gilded Age’s major beneficiaries reinvest in the infrastructure of our public intelligence.” This is quite a slap at Gannett and other bottom-feeder operators of American newspapers. Instead of taking the profits of its papers and reinvesting them in staff, information-gathering and website infrastructure, Gannett funnels the profits into a bloated, superfluous corporate structure, excessive executive compensation and payouts to shareholders. It remains to be seen what Buffett, Henry and Bezos will do with their newspapers, but it is clear that newspapers have little chance of survival in the hands of publicly traded corporations with a single-track focus on profits.
You can now count one (or is it just the first) elimination from usat.
Hmmmm. Very interesting.
Are these straight RIFs -- no severance and unemployment only? Any service time supplements or is it just, "You're not needed any more, thanks for your service and please leave quickly and without a fuss."
Most are getting transitional pay. You get one week of transitional pay for every year of service, up to 26 weeks. With transitional pay, you must apply for unemployment each week and then Gannett makes up the difference between your unemployment benefits and your former salary. If you made $600 a week and unemployment pays $250, Gannett pays you $350.
For reasons that went unexplained, Corporate didn't want to treat TPP as severance when it was first introduced in 2009. This is from a New York Times story back then:Robin Pence, a Gannett spokeswoman, said the 1,400 people laid off this month should not think of the program as severance. “The purpose of this is to supplement your unemployment while you’re getting a job,” she said. “It’s a transitional pay, not severance.”
Transitional Pay Program is the most cynical thing the company ever implemented.
When they eliminated my department, we had never heard of the transitional pay program. Not surprising, given Gannett's lack of communication with the unwashed dregs. Hearing nothing different at the time of the change or even afterward, we expected the severance pay outlined in our employee manual (which by the way, was never revised to reflect any change). Never received any notice of a TPP program. As usual, just utter lack of respect from Gannett, incredibly unprofessional. One would think it a huge elephant in the room, but site management (apparently versed on the switcheroo) didn't pipe up about it until about a week before our department was shut down. One got the impression that after that meeting, the suits left for the lavatories to wash their hands after breathing the same air as us.
Same here in Louisiana.....
While y'all are doing shout-outs and worrying about the Washington Post, here's a Gannett item with a disturbing focus: The Iowa City Press-Citizen will stop covering University of Iowa sports and outsource that coverage to the Des Moines Register. This makes the Press-Citizen the only traditional daily in a Big Ten city to not cover the local Big Ten school.Just as tellingly, the move comes as the Iowa football program starts practice for the coming season.
Has that been confirmed yet. I just checked, and it seems like maybe the Press-Citizen says it isn't true.I saw that Jim Romenesko sought comment from the Des Moines Register; I'm not sure whether he got it, though.
I should add this:Even if this doesn't pan out, the consolidation of newspapers and coverage is coming. Smaller papers will effectively become zoned editions of larger metro papers.Or a group of smaller papers will be consolidated into a single super paper, with each individual site responsible for a few local stories. In effect, those smaller papers will become bureaus.Think Ohio, Louisiana, Wisconsin, New Jersey and Central New York.This goes hand-in-hand with Project Butterfly and the new Global News Desk both based at USAT.
I've suspected that in Louisiana for a while. Do you have any details, Jim?
8:53 Not specifically about Louisiana.But plans for this massive consolidation have been clear for several years now. The entire "strategic plan" Gannett has been pursuing has been a huge farce.All that's been going on, and all that will go on, is a slow milking of whatever profits are left in the U.S. community news sites.I originally wrote about the slow dismemberment of Gannett's papers in January 2009, then updated that post in June of that year. Long-time readers will recall it as the "flying gas can" post.But well before that, a very astute reader predicted all this. Way, way back in June 2008, when Bob Dickey shocked the community newspapers with the ousters of two powerful female publishers, Anonymous@8:21 p.m. wrote:"Brace yourself for a future where local news is big collection of whatever the web sites can scour up for free, with a little sprinkling of 'investigative' reporting as a fig leaf. Most of the customers are no longer willing to pay for more. No amount of hand-wringing or name-calling is going to change that."I've never forgotten that comment. And now you can see why.
There is no print product in Ann Arbor to cover Michigan sports. The Ann Arbor News shut down its presses 4 years ago.
"The duty of the paper is to the readers, not the owners." -- Jeff Bezos
@Jim at 7:26 p.m., of course that is the plan. A USAT main news section and smaller contributions from the totally understaffed sites. The kink is digital -- if you want feet on the street covering inconsequential stuff, making videos, tweeting, posting pretty pictures to Pinterest and occasionally writing -- you gotta have feet.
We object to the ableist language in the preceding post. One must be able to provide news coverage where needed. One need not have feet.
Two things are at play regarding the D&C: It's bad form to have layoffs the same week you're slapping around a Canadian company for booting employees at B + L and, perhaps more importantly, layoffs this week would screw up PGA coverage. Bloodbath TK.
Plus it freed up your day to make these witty observations so it's win-win for everyone.
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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