An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
Some of you may be interested in a comment I just posted on an earlier thread. It's a brief summary of the newspaper industry's business strategy and why it hasn't worked.
You should have made that an entry, not just a comment. It's a very good synopsis of how we got where we are.
Actually, it's more a chronicle of alleged tactical missteps, with no real explanation or analysis of the supposed "business strategy" behind them, much less an explanation of what a successful strategy supposedly would look like.(BTW, if anyone has the correct answer to that particular riddle, you can bet they ain't gonna give it away free for nuthin'.)
Army Times reported last week on a West Point history professor who was sacked, allegedly for sexual harassment. The article contained a clear reference to the "U.S. Army Military Academy". West Point is officially known as the United States Military Academy.More proof Gannett is rewarding the CEO and her cronies while getting rid of copy editors who would catch obvious howlers.
Headlines in today's Indianapolis Star also might have beloved copy desk chief Roxanne Morgan rolling over in her grave. Huge B1 lead head renders the editorial judgment "Quality schools leading the way." And on A5, story headlined "Colleges offer new options for autism" turns out not to refer to classes offered on the subject but to students who have autism.
Thank G-d we have you monitoring the situation!Were those examples worth anyone's time here?
Those are good and important examples. Here's the thing: Big mistakes (saying someone's guilty of murder; reporting a company lost millions when they made millions) happen infrequently. Readers certainly notice them, but only on the relatively rare occasions when they occur.The sort of errors 2:25 mentioned now happen all the time across almost all papers and broadcasts. Readers and viewers see those all the time -- and their cumulative effect seriously erode our credibility.
Sort of like when Jim reports Gannett execs like Dubow will get a certain amount as a payout, when the chance they will get that amount is almost zero. He knows it's wrong, but reports it anyway. Actually, that's way worse than making a mistake.
Regarding Dubow's final exit package, as always I deal in hard numbers using documents filed with securities regulators. Here they are:Corporate estimated that Dubow, 57 years old at the time, would get at least $31,829,480 in disability and retirement benefits after he resigned for medical reasons in October 2011.That's according to pages 51-52 of the proxy report to shareholders filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission the following March.The figure doesn't include the value of other benefits, including health insurance for him and his family until he turns 65, followed by Medicare supplemental insurance for him for the rest of his life. It also doesn't include the value of life insurance premiums paid for the rest of his life. Finally, it doesn't include the value of the following:* legal and financial planning assistance for three years* use of the Corporate jet for three years* home office equipment provided by the company* help with his home computer for three years* secretarial help and access to company facilities for three years* the opportunity to buy his company carAnyone with serious doubts about what Corporate told the SEC would be advised to file a complaint with the company or with the SEC. Misstatements, whether accidental or intentional, could constitute violations of civil or criminal law.But I seriously doubt anyone would do that -- especially his defenders.
11:30 p.m. is typical of a small core of posters here who just like to disagree and criticize. They offer no useful information. Sad.
Jim's explanation -- useless. He exaggerated the amount of the payout -- end of story.8:07, I would be astonished if you had offered useful information at any point.
You know, 11:48, asserting something doesn't make it so. End of story.
9:05, you're right. There is plenty of evidence, though. No one knows exactly what the stock price will be when Dubow and his heirs cash in, but the chance of him getting the amount Jim reported is nil.I know you want to ignore that and make weak denials like the one you posted. But there is plenty of evidence on my side and none on yours. Good luck with your approach at any place other than this blog. You'll need it.
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10:45, I am right. And you've done nothing to bolster your case, unless you think bluster qualifies as evidence.You know no more of what I want than you do about creating and presenting an argument. (Or, for that matter, what a denial is.) Good luck with convincing anyone of anything. You'll need it.
8:47, what are you right about? You haven't made an argument, nor have you presented any evidence.My evidence, now stated again, is that Dubow has no chance of collecting the settlement amount that Jim (and some others) reported. It's based on a stock price that will never hold up, short of a miracle.I already said this. You chose to ignore it. You can keep ignoring it, but it's silly to then claim that you have somehow proved something by doing so.
11:39 Oy, vey.It's fair to argue about the future value of Dubow's disability benefits and Gannett's stock. But your argument would be considerably more convincing if you cited some actual numbers. Let me explain, once more using the proxy report.The proxy says only $7 million of the nearly $32 million payout is stock-based -- options and restricted stock units. Meanwhile, the disability benefit was worth $6 million on the date Dubow quit. That value is based principally on one unknown: How long Dubow lives after he quit. (He was 57 the day he announced his retirement.) The remaining $19 million or so is straight-out cash.The question, then, is whether the $7 million in stock will ever really be worth that amount.Considering first only the options, they're exercisable in no more than four years: Oct. 6, 2015, according to the proxy. That's based on the date Dubow retired: Oct. 6, 2011.Even using the longest time frame, it's a near certainty he (or his estate) will be around to exercise them -- again, if they have any value.It's true many of the 2.8 million options granted to him over the years are already worthless because they've already expired, or carry too-lofty exercise prices. The highest are $87.33 a share; stockholders everywhere should be so lucky as to ever see that price again.But of those outstanding options, 1.2 million haven't expired, and still have exercise prices well under Gannett's current stock price. In other words, they still have value. Here's the list:* 500,000 at $3.75* 480,000 at $15* 235,000 at $16.23Gannett's stock closed at $25.74 yesterday. For those options to be worthless, GCI would need to fall to $16.23 or lower.You say Gannett's stock will never hold up, short of a miracle. And you could be right; if the company's revenue and profits take a sharp turn south, all the rest his options will be worthless.But looking at the other part of his stock compensation, the RSUs, they would only become worthless if Gannett's stock plunged all the way to $0. That's because they don't have an exercise price. All public companies face the same dilemma when it comes to assigning a value to stock-based compensation that won't be handed over to an executive until some time in the future. But they must do so under federal securities regulations.Indeed, you could extend your argument about what Dubow's payout will be worth to the disability benefit portion. It's $6 million value was assigned on the date he retired, in 2011 dollars, but it will be paid out over his lifetime. His final check 20 or 30 years from now won't be worth as much as the first check because of inflation.But here's the bottom line: Corporate says Dubow will get nearly $32 million based on all the stock-related assumptions outlined in the proxy. And that's the figure I've reported.Now, can you cite any hard figures or other company documents to support your very different conclusion?
Jim, sources much more reliable than you have used numbers to say he won't collect that amount. The choice between them or you and the clingers here is an easy one.Also, the inflation issue you mention is another one that you ignored. Taxes are another big issue.If you are going to lump all the potatoes together in order to say: "See? I might be right," then two can play at that game.The bottom line, again, is that the number you reported is not reality.
It's impossible to believe those sources exist when you don't list them. Broad-brush statements that don't include specific details aren't credible.
7:07 -- The bottom line is, as far as anyone knows, you pull your numbers out of the same place you pick fleas from your neighbors. Jim cites credible sources. You just bluster and whine.
7:07 "But-but-but what about taxes? --A-a-and inflation? See? He's not getting what Jim says!" Of course, no one reports taxes as compensation because there's no way to know what tax rate Dubow pays. (Knowing what a skeevy guy he is, it's probably a lower rate than yours. But I digress.) Nor is there any way to know what inflation will be. Really. You're embarrassing.
The only people who aren't getting this are Jim and the clingers. We went through a list of sources the first time this discussion came up. I guess we'll do it again, but Jim and the clingers won't get it this time, either, so it will be a big waste of time. Here goes ...In the meantime, 10:18, thanks for making my point. Jim cites several areas where we don't know the value. The tax and inflation example is in the same category. You're only embarrassing yourself by being willfully ignorant.
http://www.b-roll.net/forum/archive/index.php/t-20975.htmlCameradog at that site explains the whole thing. Of course, there are people there who don't bother to try to read or understand the post, so they respond in the same fashion as the ignorant people here.Bottom line yet again: Jim is wrong. The proof is explained. Not going to cut and paste the entire block here. If you still disagree, then you are simply too dumb to understand how this works. Admit it and move on. But don't keep claiming there is no proof or that other people don't get it. YOU don't get it.
Jim @ 7:31: You are simply too dumb, ignorant, and stubborn to look at the other sources. This was all covered months ago when the package was announced.Don't extend your idiocy to others. Get smarter or start admitting these mistakes.
10:11 and 10:18: Your mothers called. They regret not embracing the pro-choice lifestyle.
Jim, in your twisted, illogical 5:11 argument, you make several references to claims that the stock options would be worthless. Please point out where there was ever an argument that the options would be worthless. You won't find one.Try to stick to the points being made. You make yourself sound like even more of a fool when you start making up things. It also erodes at your credibility, which is already very low.
You can tell when Jim is fishing for points. He resorts to weasel words and tactics, like responding to arguments that were never made.
11:16 -- Wow. You're citing some chimp on an internet discussion board about photography. Hey, maybe he's a relative. But look at what the NYT says about the compensation package: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/24/business/media/why-not-occupy-newsrooms.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0NYT isn't good enough? Try Footnoted, probably the most authoritative source on federal filings in general and compensation in general. http://www.footnoted.com/at-gannett-easing-the-way-for-dubow/You? You have some guy on a discussion board. And weighty phrases like "end of story." In fact, your only argument is "something might happen that Dubow doesn't get $37.1 million." Of course something could happy. It's a big wide world. The guy could get hit by a comet. But it's a deeply stupid argument and one that you, to your deep, deep discredit, cling to. Geez. Pretty soon your neighbors won't even let you pick fleas from them. End of story.
Now now lets not fight. Whats done is doneYou can't change the past.
In a meeting last week, I've been told that an EE basically threw in the towel on improving the printed product. "The paper is so 80's," he said. "Web, tweet, Facebook, blah, blah, bah." Last time I checked wasn't print responsible for about 70-80% of USCP revenues? (Although his comment may explain why big advertisers have been leaving that local product in droves.)Have your IC leaders written off the core audience too?
Print advertising and circulation is about 80% of U.S. Community Publishing's total revenue, according to the latest figures I've seen. But that was in early 2012. It could be closer to 25% now. The rest is digital, the company says.Across all of Gannett, newspapers accounted for about 65% of total $5.4 billion in 2012. In 2009, when the company first started breaking out digital, newspapers were 73% of $5.5 billion total.Going back 10 years, it was 81% of total annual revenue -- close to the industry's norm.
I think the reason most GCI papers are starting to get closer to the new threshold of 30% of revenue in digital is due to the fact of eroding print, not increasing digital dollars significantly. Lose enough print and percentages work in your favor.
Recently I was very proud of a headline and design that I worked out with the Design Studio. I thought it was a winning moment for our newspaper. I was dumb enough to think the boss might be appreciative and finally got the nerve to ask what he thought (yes, I may have been hoping for a compliment). His response: When you manage to to a home run online, then come talk to me.
10:25, that's really sad.
7:56, was that at the Indianapolis Star or elsewhere?
Gannett upper management is making it a self fulfilling prophesy. The EE at our site told the staffers left after the last blood letting that the print product will have fewer pages. Fewer pages means less news hole. Smaller news hole means less news. What sells the paper? Local news. Fewer readers means less ads. See a pattern? Now hwere is my 7 figure pay check and bonus?
What we've seen is that some Gannett papers have cut newshole while increasing the proportion of that space that goes to wire news. So they have both less room AND less local news (possibly because they don't have much local staffing left). But whatever the reason, they're just bringing the end of the print product nearer. I assume that will be the desired result.
Just posted on other string.. If wishing for layoff, you are part of the problem. How can we get anything done with the negative and lip service. So, my boss is missing that you are just mailing it in.. I hope and pray the stupidity here doesn't equal employees. If so, it just proves their own point as they undercut any attempt to try and make a difference. That's sad. I hope my boss uncovers that you are trying to tear down what he is trying to do.
Gannett employees should all be either searching their butts off for new employmentor hoping and praying for a layoff, then you will have 99 weeks of Obama unemployment paychecks.The fact that you still work your ass off Gannett means that you must condone their heartless business style. Yeah you will all say that every corporation watches the bottom line and does what it takesto make a profit....I agree,that is the way our wonderful capitalism system works.Gannett did not lay off your co-worker for that reason. Gannett is a very profitable corporation.
Wrong...the employment market has not bounced back and the media job market is slim with offerings and saturated with applicants. Your premise that working for Gannett mean the employee condones the company's management is erroneous. I have been looking for other jobs and there isn't much out there. Stop blaming good hard working people and saying it is their fault for the idiotic, callous decisions of the dumbasses in the crystal tower. It's like blaming the boiler room crew of the Titanic for hitting the iceberg.
I don't think anyone is blaming workers. I think the overwhelming criticism on this blog is directed right where it belongs -- top management at Gannett. What most people are saying is that working for Gannett has major risks for the average Joe or Jane, and that most people would do well by looking for work elsewhere and not get too comfortable at Gannett if they can avoid it.While the job market has been tough for over five years, if you use that as an excuse for not looking for work elsewhere, then you probably will end up in a worse situation down the road.There are very few happy endings at Gannett. Doesn't matter if you've been with the company five years or 25 years. Odds are if you don't leave on your own terms, you're going to be forced out or collapse from stress created by Gannett's working environments.We all feel for the hard-working people at Gannett (not that everyone works hard). We also feel for those who trusted the company and were betrayed and lied to in the end. Gannett used the recession to get rid of good employees who either had a few too many gray hairs or just weren't the teacher's pet types. When the going got tough and small companies stood by their workers by cutting costs elsewhere, Gannett chose a different path. It protected its army of executives and threw the most vulnerable employees overboard. Some real bad karma created in the last five years.
Oh, 2:59. You must be new here. You are wrong in so many ways.10:06 blames the workers all the time. You can set your watch by his Monday morning appearances these days. He actually believes that people who work for the company, by definition, support everything the company does.You're also wrong about people here blaming only top management. People here blame all of management. They fail to see how short-sighted that is. In their world, only a horizontal structure would exist, with no oversight.That is a fool's paradise. Only people who want to be paid low wages for their whole lives would support it. Generally people need to be in a supervisory role to get a big pay bump, and that means a managerial role.Let us know when that karma kicks in. I'm sure that and your strong beliefs will trump ability, knowledge, awareness, etc.
You would agree this orgnizatiin has too many manager, no?
Thanks for making my point, 5:53. Bravo!
It's 2013, soon to be 2014, and you still have clueless people on here blaming Gannett management for the collapse of the newspaper business. Amazing.
4:16, Jim manages to rally them. It's amazing how one person can bring out the cluelessness in so many.
Getting the names of institutions wrong is a big deal,Anonymous 3:44 PM. If a paper can't get the name correct of an important place like West Point, it makes you wonder how many names of average readers who are quoted in stories are actually correctly spelled. It's all about taking pride in your work and putting out the best product everyday. Readers notice such blunders. Over time, these mistakes destroy credibility and make the paper/TV station a joke in the community. Unfortunately, Gannett has destroyed all quality control.
At Gannett things like quality control are considered a luxury they won't pay for. Even when Print was making record profits this company was cheap. They only like to spend money on losing start ups.
Here's where some of the saved dollars generated through layoffs went:http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/209188/gannett-taps-madison-ave-research-vet-vogel.html#axzz2f4KMouNZ
Not really. Gannett invests much less in research than it traditionally has done.
I thought Banikarim already had a research director? Or is this a new position?
I thought this sounded familiar. Vogel is replacing Emma Gilding, who lasted just nine months.
Welcome to the return of Corporate's Quote-A-Matic Machine.What Banikarim said in August 2012 about Gilding:“Emma has a deep understanding of consumer behavior and market trends. We are thrilled to bring her onboard. Her expertise and thought leadership will be instrumental in further evolving our businesses and helping our advertisers reach their goals.” What Banikarim said today about Gilding's just-named replacement Vogel:“We are excited Judy is joining us and bringing her proven track record and extensive research experience to Gannett. Her insight into consumers and media trends will be instrumental as we innovate and grow our businesses, as well as those of our clients.”
Whatever this company needs, creative press releases are way down the list.
It's a small thing...but another thing. Baseball games for the day today all have starting times from the Central time zone, not the eastern.Of course the sports editor would blame it on someone else but doesn't anybody check this stuff anymore?Where would this info come from anyway?
Design Studios will begin forcing local sites to take new wire pages in sports and news within months. I'm sure the same amount of production staff won't be "needed" when it gets up and running.
Huh? What, exactly, are "new wire pages?" Do you mean additional pages?Based on what you have written, I can only speculate as to what you mean. Also, there is the usual problem of no source, so we are just supposed to believe what you say. Who told you this?
4:01 is writing without knowing what's going on. http://gannettblog.blogspot.com/2013/09/butterfly-project-reportedly-close-to.html#comment-formThe writer is most likely referring to this.
All they have to do is listen to a police scanner online and post a three line story about an accident or fire. That is what MNCO is doing. Hardly any real in-depth reporting.
That's happening at my site, too. We seem to focus on "weird crime of the day" instead of news. It's all about the clicks, baby.
I give her a year, too.
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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