Thursday, October 09, 2008

Thursday | Oct. 9 | Got news, or a question?

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  1. Hi, there! I've just signed on; what's new?

  2. not much going on today Jim...welcome back to SF

  3. Re: Overtime, here's the scheme:
    People in our newsroom are routinely over-budgeted for the amount of time they have to do those jobs. Of course, you can do a crappy job, cut every corner, and blow off the details, and do 40 hours, but who wants to have their name on garbage?
    If I point out that to do a bunch of tasks will take more than 8 hours, I'm told OT is NOT approved, period. So, I can either work a couple hours over on my own, to make the journalism I produce top-notch, or I can schlep it together and go home on time.
    Sadly, some of my good colleagues have capitulated and chosen the latter. I can't blame them, but I don't see how producing crummier newspapers will lead to job security and more readership.

  4. Posted in an earlier thread:

    "Sometimes the overtime is not pre-approved, but the work still needs to get done. Each crew's workload and timing is dependent upon another department getting their information in on time."

    Everyone has to get over this kind of thinking. You are paid for 40 hours (give or take) and not allowed overtime. The work gets to you in a timely manner or it doesn't get done. Period. Delays are not your problem. If getting the paper out on time is such an issue, the company needs to pony up with OT, comp time, more personnel, or less work. Whatever time I work gets put on my time-sheet, NO EXCEPTIONS. If you don't work your 40 hours (+/-) you put that on your time-sheet, right? Do you think Gannett would pay you for hours not worked? Then why give them extra? If you get called on the floor for it, take it higher. If you lose your job because of it, go legal. But don't just sit there and take it!

    The company is not your friend. Your boss is not your friend. Where I am, we used to consider ourselves family. That has changed. I realize it. You need to, too.

  5. "...I don't see how producing crummier newspapers will lead to job security and more readership."

    Are you kidding? Gannett has rigged the game to produce crummier newspapers. It is a given. Get on with your life and stop giving Gannett more of your life than Gannett is willing to pay you for.

  6. Overtime is for losers. Just go get a story and you'll succeed far more.

  7. I don't consider myself wise, and so have no wisdom to dispense. But there are a couple of things I've learned from 30 years in the workforce both in and out of journalism. One thing I've learned is that the underlying rules of the employment game in general have changed utterly. No one in the HR Department (Gannett's or anyone elses) will tell you this, but it is so.

    The biggest change? Once upon a time, companies bought employees. Today, they rent them. And the words "buy" and "rent" have very different implications for you. You've only to consider the differences between, say, the ways a home owner cares for his property vs. a renter to know what I mean.

  8. Re: 11:20
    In a perfect world, I would agree with you 100%. But take it higher? Get real. Higher IS the problem!
    There was a day when, if workers had a complaint (ie., hostile work environment), they could go to someone in HR, who acted on behalf of the employee. Before that department was recently eliminated, HR had been flipped 180 degrees: it was acting on behalf of the company.

    And when I'm terminated are you going to pay my bills, or even hire me? While you're solution is honorable, it is not practical in this economic environment.

    And, sadly for the worker bees, the Gannett managers know that.

    BTW, great point above re: Buy vs. Rent. How true.

  9. Is there a way to get advance warning, any way, on layoffs in news departments at Gannett newspapers, so we can see it coming and prepare for it before it happens to us?

  10. No way, then people would be leaving their jobs early. We need people to get the old paper out. We will let you know when we let you know. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow.

  11. 12:31
    Advance warning.
    1. Board of directors meeting. Any sweeping management plan has to be put to the board of directors for review and approval.
    2. Unusual corporate moves. Why did GCI take that $1.2 billion loan at this time? Interest rates are going down, so it would have been cheaper to take it this week rather than last week. There are no big purchases in sight (I do not believe the Daytona story). Perhaps they need the cash to plus up the old pension plan, which has suffered in the stock market collapse, and pay for severance payments.
    3. Revenues continue to decline. These are reported monthly, and they are hardly sanguine. Corporate has revenue goals, and when they are not met, they will trim expenses to try and adjust to the changing environment. Payroll costs are an expense.
    4. This is fair warning. There will be layoffs in the next three months. I suspect, but do not know, that they will come at USAT and they will be significant. The community papers took the big hit in the last round. It is the turn of Detroit and USAT this time.

  12. @11:20 here.
    Well, then, @11:36, just sit there and take it. As long as you're willing, Gannett will dish it out. In this economic environment, you have NO security anyway. Yes, HR is not on your side (see my final point.) But there are other options. And, no, no one is going to pay your bills, but you. You will have those anyway. But just because times are tough is no reason to roll over and give up. I like my boss, for the most part, but I DO NOT hesitate to get in his face when I think he is wrong, even if I know he is only saying what he has been told to say. If his boss (or the publisher) asks me a question, they better be willing to get an ear full, 'cause I'm going to answer as honestly as I can.

    If you don't respect yourself, who will respect you? If you're not willing to stand up for yourself, who will stand up for you? It won't be Gannett or any other corporation you work for.


    I am watching this live stream and learning what is on the menu at the fair.

    This is interesting but boring at the same time.

  14. The fair menu?
    Well, they've scooped the networks on that one, haven't they?

  15. What does a bankruptcy of General Motors mean for GCI? It will cover the dealers, garages and everyone connected with the industry. It will also devastate Detroit and its readers. It is happening. Take a look at GM's stock today, which slumped to 1930 levels. We are really being screwed.

  16. 1:37 PM -- That's known as local, local, local news.


  17. S&P just downgraded GM, and it looks like another huge 400 loss on the Dow. We are now 18 days from the Dow being driven down to zero. GCI is toast. I bet corporate knew that when they replaced the pension with stock.

  18. 1:01 you have zero idea how business works. Its not about whose turn it is for lay's about who had less profit, whose running their businesses better.
    The community papers are in far worse position than USAT, I would imagine.
    The complete drain of classified ad revenue did not hit USAT at the same rate as the other papers.
    Get real and stop being in kindergarten and wondering "whose turn it is". if your paper is in bad shape financially, it will continue to trim.

    By the way, the economic factors were already bad they are dismal for every company in the US.
    Get your head out of the sand

  19. Market is tanking again. How long before more GCI layoffs?

  20. "Get real and stop being in kindergarten and wondering "whose turn it is". if your paper is in bad shape financially, it will continue to trim" is what 3:47 said.

    I work for a TV station owned by GCI...we have always been profitable and in the black. So why is there so much downsizing, little overtime and layoffs here? It truly doesn't where you work. We are all wait for the axe.

  21. 3:47 Play your divide and conquer games if you want, but the truth is that USAT is not economically viable without the community newspapers which publish a majority of the USAT editions, and bury the huge production costs in their production budgets. So no figure it out for yourself: no community papers, no USAT.
    The truth is USAT cannot make it on its own. THe community newspapers cannot take any more cuts while USAT sits fat and happy, and spending money like drunken sailors. This recession is bringing home the basic problem of USAT -- it may be the leading paper in the country, but it is not paying for producing those newspapers and its "profits" are illusionary.

  22. The republicans put you in this mess make sure you vote for them again!!! Thank You I approve this message!

  23. A partisan, do-nothing Congress put us in this mess!! Vote independent!!

  24. I'm voting independent too...they both scare the hell out of me!

  25. Obama has never had a job...never, ever run a business, never made executive decisions, never hired and fired people. balanced a budget, nothing. his wife wears the pants in the family.

    He is smart and a great politician but its very very scary to put an inexperienced executive in the White House.

    McCaan, if he dies, we are left with Palin. Our country is in a mess and these are the two best people we can find to run it???

    Politics as usual. How did we get to this point?

  26. How did we get to this point?

    Watch this and you'll see.

    It's 2 hours, but well worth the watch.

  27. Many blogs and message boards have a "no politics" rule which prevents discussions from veering into endless "talking points" from the left and the right.

    This blog is about the Gannett Company and the stresses it and its employees are facing.

    Sure, politics is part of it all, but I don't come here to read the usual Obama vs. McCain stuff I can see on TV or read almost everywhere.

    I suggest Jim institute a simple "no politics" rule and hope everyone would try to stick to it.

    Otherwise, this will become just like every other "comment" stream on the Web. Let's try to stick to the topic, which is the Gannett Company.

  28. I agree. Much as I want this to be an open forum, implicit in that is that everything relates to Gannett.

    So, please: On any topic, including politics, please keep your comments sharply focused on Gannett. Thanks!

  29. All I can say is buy stock now. This is the opportunity of a life time to make a lot of money with hardly anything at all. Stocks are so low that $1000 investment could triple or more in days once the market rebounds. And it will.

  30. Glad someone has some money to risk, because buying GCI now is like pouring dollar bills down the toilet. The stock market looks six months out, and sees a hell of a recession coming. I am not sure GCI is strong enough to survive, especially now it has taken on $1.2 b in new debt. That puts GCI on the same level as MNI, and you see what happened to MNI stock.

  31. Does anyone know how much space at GCI McLean is being leased out, or what percentage of Emerald City is vacant?

  32. Agree totally with you, Jim, for bloggers to keep politics/the election out of this blog. THANKS!

  33. anyword on how the finance consoldation is going... the layoffs from this will not be enough.

  34. P10 is looking UGLY, very ugly. Then idea of cutting expensesm to become profitable was a joke and now we are paying for the revenue generating people and programs we cut. Our readers are not stupid.. we have cut the news staff to a pointn that we are giving them a pile of garbage, they see iot and are canceling thier subscriptions. I have to laugh at the people that try to deny we are giving up on print.
    More layoffs and consolidations are coming.
    I really used to love working for this company. Debow has ruined it.

  35. Thanks for stopping by, Craig.

    DAMMIT, I always wanted to chime in with that bit of extreme wit and now I did at the wrong time. Jeez.


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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