Friday, September 27, 2013

Louisiana | Memo hints at creating regional dailies

This morning, the president of the five-newspaper Louisiana group offered the latest sign Corporate may be leaning toward creating single regional newspapers in place of individual ones serving specific markets.

Terzotis
In a memo, Judi Terzotis announced she'd hired Cindy McCurry-Ross from Corporate's News Department for the new position of regional editor.

"Cindy will work directly with the editors at each site to strengthen the news operations in the individual markets as well as build out a regional news network for the state," Terzotis wrote. (Full memo text, below.)

Costs should be substantially lower in a regional approach, where current newsrooms could be treated more like slimmed-down community-based news bureaus with fewer layers of highly paid editors and executive editors. 

Fewer reporters, too. For example, a reporter could be encouraged to write back-to-school features that touch on all five Louisiana markets rather than just one. Overnight, one reporter is doing the work of five. Bye-bye, four features writers. 

McCurry-Ross
In less dramatic fashion, this has already started under regional editors at three Central New York newspapers, another six in New Jersey, and 10 small dailies in Ohio. There, however, individual papers are still published under their historic flags. Other areas ripe for regionalizing are the 10 Wisconsin papers.

Gannett's most high-profile and longest-running regional is The Journal News in Westchester, N.Y. That experiment has been one of the company's messiest, however.

Westchester ranked No. 10 in weekday circulation losses among the company's 81 community dailies between 2005-2012. Sales fell 46% during the period, to barely 72,000 from 133,000.

Text of Terzotis memo
Good Morning,

I’m thrilled to announce the appointment of Cindy McCurry-Ross to Gannett Louisiana regional editor. Cindy will work directly with the editors at each site to strengthen the news operations in the individual markets as well as build out a regional news network for the state.

Cindy comes to us with a wealth of experience. For the past two years she has been on the corporate news staff working with Kate Marymont on key projects across USCP. Prior to her corporate stint, she was the assistant managing editor and senior managing editor in Fort Meyers. She’s a seasoned journalist that understands audiences and cares deeply about improving the communities we serve.

Cindy reports directly to me and will be based in Lafayette.

Please extend a warm Louisiana welcome to her! Please share this announcement with your staffs.

Judi

Judi Terzotis
President and publisher, The Times, The Daily Advertiser, The Daily World

21 comments:

  1. It's Fort Myers not Fort Meyers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *rolls eyes* in Terzotis' direction.

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  2. Same deal in Wisconsin, Jim. If you check your blog, you reported on it Sept. 14, 2011.

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  3. Being sent from Fort Meyers to Lafayette was hardly on Cindy's wish list, I'm certain.

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    Replies
    1. Read more closely...she went from FM to corporate (Tyson) and now to Louisiana.

      Delete
  4. Cindy is bright, open to new ideas, and a good judge of people. She'll do a great job shoring up Louisiana.

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  5. Any hint of such a reorg in the works in Indiana?

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    Replies
    1. Any area where Gannett owns several newspapers that are relatively close to each other would be ripe for regionalizing. What are the relative distances between the four Indiana papers?

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    2. Indy can print a state edition, all 4 papers are less than 90 miles from the Stars Production facility. As I told you months ago Jim, it will happen soon, Not long after The Star starts printing USA Today inside it paper.
      HP

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  6. I see this as the beginning of the end for Louisiana.

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    Replies
    1. Are you kidding me? The beginning of the end in Louisiana was about 2007...that's when the newsroom cuts went past the bone. Then in 2008, the lovely Leslie Hurst graced the publisher's office in Lafayette. While Ted Power had held it together by a string, she didn't know/didn't care that it required serious dexterity to keep it together — and it all went to hell in a handbasket.

      Delete
  7. Hopefully Alan English won't let this happen to Shreveport. Maybe he will have some power since he is the GM now.

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  8. Lafayette is just the captain's quarters of a sinking ship.

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  9. They've already moved in this direction in NJ with the previous layouts which gutting the reporting and photo staffs at the C-N, DR and HNT, which were slashed to single digits. The instruction given to APP reporters writing enterprise was to include comments and/or reference to the other papers circulation area. So a regional education article would contain reference or quotes from someone in each papers area so the dumb reader would say "wow, they still cover local stuff."
    The readers, of course, are much smarter than upper management ever gives them credit for and the idea has been backed away from.
    Still, no one who works at a GNJ paper would be surprised to see "NJ Today" replace the APP, HNT, CN, DR and CP, since they are shadows of their former selves.

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  10. layouts should read layoffs. can't afford contacts under the crummy Gannett vision plan

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  11. Corporate does not realize how geographically and culturally diverse Louisiana is. Could easily be considered three states: North Louisiana, South Louisiana/Acadiana, and New Orleans. This will be a massive failure.

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  12. whatever happened to local local? Joke-el schmokel. They must be smokin' something.

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  13. You couldn't be more right, 11:06. The southern half of Louisiana doesn't even recognize the Shreveport area as even being part of their state. Gannett wouldn't know that and doesn't care, but shame on Judi for not doing her homework.

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    Replies
    1. A friend who grew up in Lake Charles made the same observation.

      I fear Corporate thinks Terzotis' previous tour of Tennessee is a one-size-fits-all-of-the-South background that will help her in Louisiana.

      Delete
  14. Do they have a regional Ad Director yet?

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  15. I hope they just give up, sell to the Advocate and get out. They're not doing anything for the state but reconstituting Gannett stories, and using reporters who just insert mistakes, not facts. But hey, at least those reporters get video. And badly at that. Keep polishing that turd.

    ReplyDelete

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