An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
This is Part 2 of today's Real Time Comments open forum. For Part 1, please go here.
any nj news? advertising director of HNT/CN has sent out a staff meeting to all of the sales staff. This should be interesting.
Any word from the Indy Star pressroom yet?
The AD was pushed out the door in Cherry Hill. Good start but there are still too many no talent/no work individuals there.
Gannett has apparently spent a lot of time thinking about how to keep the pending layoffs as quiet as possible. And this is a media company? They expect various agencies, businesses and celebrities to divulge everything they know as soon as they know it about all sorts of sensitive info, but when it comes to their own inner-workings and important news, they retreat into an old Soviet Union way of releasing info. Spinning. Denying. Trickling. Just so damn annoying to be a part of this unethical chain.This is just one of the many problems with this company and its leading newspaper, USA Today!No wonder no one likes the press anymore. Who can trust the media when they play games like this with their internal affairs, often at the expense of their own employees?
The wait is the worst. I wish they'd just do it already. No one got much work done today. It's all secretive talks and glances. Everyone's afraid to say anything. This just sucks.
12:52 post by Rick Kahn was nice and I don't remember anybody other than Jim actually exposing their name. Might be nice in the closing days of the blog to see posts like Rick's.
Looks like page design for Hattiesburg will be moving to Jackson. The designers have a meeting at 4 on Thursday with the general manager and managing editor. A few people from the Clarion-Ledger were supposed to be there but are no longer attending the meeting.
Word is they will not announce anything until the blog shuts down.
Even I -- the world's biggest egomaniac, critics say! -- don't believe that. Why not wait until the Internets shuts down, too! Besides, there's this little matter of . . . Gannettoid.com! Hah!
Plus! Martore's gotta deliver heads to Wall Street on July 15 -- a week from Wednesday. She's boxed in.
Great deal of silence and paranoid looks today, but no specific news from the CN/HNT in NJ, but it was a shock to hear that the Courier Post advertising director "resigned"! That's something like we are expecting here!In today's weekly column, the managing editor has an interesting paragraph. It states: "I was ready to hear criticisms about changes in the newspapers and the different features we have taken out, massaged or added." MASSAGED????? Just kill us now and stop the agony. Even what is actually printed is embarrassing!
Looks like one leader or director of IT in louisville is gone. I dont know his name or I would tell you all. I also dont know any others in louisville.
7:23 pm: Sounds like corporate memo-talk creeping into the paper.
That's ridiculous to think they're holding talk on the closing of this blog. Hello, there's another one already started. Sure, it's not user-friendly, but guess where everyone will be when this one closes. And when that one closes, someone else will start another one.
Does anyone have any word on Fort Myers layoffs? Predictions? Please reply
I suspect this round of layoffs (as per Gannett to meet financial statements) does not work well within the structures of most if not all papers. Kind of like being told to get rid of one of your tires. There's not much of a back-up plan to veering off the road in a flaming inferno. The best plan may be procrastinating with the exception of Randy Lovely, but it took him by surprise.The timing of the closing of this blog is perfect. Jim did a wonderful job giving us a place to vent and learn about what's happening to the company we worked so hard for and our friends still there. And while his sources may not always have had the exact layoff number correct, Jim's blog always broke the news long before corporate made announcements and frequently with insiders helping. Long before Gannett should be worried about a blog, they should be worried about existing management's discontent.
The real shocker about the ouster of the Cherry Hill Courier post ad director is that it finally happened after so long. Everyone has been wondering why this hasn't happened long ago. Apparently either the publisher or Gannett had enough of her incompetence and bad numbers. There are plenty more of this AD's hires that need to go ASAP especially in the mid-management slots.
Rumour is SJ in Salem will have 10 layoffs.
I can practically hear the crickets chirping in at The Des Moines Register -- and I'm a long, long way from Iowa. That's a big place. Anyone from that paper hear anything?
JimYou aren't hearing much yet because the ones who are in the know aren't telling because they have been told they would be fired if they told. So we will all have to wait until the 8th or 9th, maybe before, as the layoffs start coming in.
Im hearing that the warehouse manager that is highly paid is being considered for immediate layoff at the APP newspaper due to many lower paid employees that can do job as well for less pay and benefits according to gd and jp
Jim,Good luck after you stop the blog. You have helped thousands of Gannett Employees by letting them know what was going on with layoffs and big decisions. Thanks from a retired Gannett Employee.
Rumor has it that the AD of the CN/HNT is about to follow CP's AD and do a Sarah Palin. Too bad they had to be trend-followers instead of trend-setters.
I meant to mention this yesterday. It's as though our managers and VIPs are saying“There's a pink elephant in the room, but we don't see it”. It also reminds me ofthe children's book “The emperior has new clothes”, where the emperior iswalking around naked and no one tells him.Very sad indeed the lack of communication in this company. And they wonderwhy their current business model is failing.
any word on the layoffs at the tennessean? names, departments?
8:02 p.m. Hmmm. Time for yours truly to make some phone calls -- Web-style.
We were told Corporate is holding the strings on this one, that they have to go by the guidelines set out in the Dickey memo, by the 9th. We were also told they were not planning to release this information until the 9th, but the cat was let out of the bag when NYT got a hold of the story. THANKS JIM! Without you, we would be the proverbial mushrooms. We are still treated like redheaded stepchildren, tho.
Saw the EE making the walk across the bridge to the big mans office. Have a feeling its happening at the APP soon
The tally at the top of the page didn't change all day - does that mean no one got laid off today or when does the count down begin?
The C-L has already consolidated circ/prod, and IT/finance...they have to be looking editorial. The only other thing they could do is move out some of the nepotism, but Whitaker is not that heartless. He is a yes-man, and they are practically relatives! When will the H-A have all operations run out of Jackson? That's where they'll get the Mississippi quota
Incompetence in Cherry Hill wasn't even the word...The AD was like a side show..at some 2nd rate circus. The next act to follow: Perhaps brushing up on her soul food cusine so she can entertain her friend across the river.
I say Vote for Sam APP regional Ad Director!!! New Jersey Group!
9:02Now that's what I call multi-talent!
I've never blogged before so please be patient.....thank you Jim...I've been only reading for weeks but had to get in here to tell you thanks. This blog saved my sanity. Does anyone know anything about The Newsleader in Staunton, VA. All I've heard is the end of the week to end this torture...I need sleep. Thanks again Jim!
That screwball has been cooking that food for sometime now. How sad!
Hey Jim,(everyone sing along now)You've been so kind and generousI don't know why you keep on givingFor your kindness I'm in debt to youFor your selflessness--my admirationFor everything you've doneYou know I'm bound--I'm bound to thank you for itLalalalalala...Hey, heyYou've been so kind and generousI don't know why you keep on givingFor your kindness I'm in debt to youAnd I never could have gone this far without youFor everything you've doneYou know I'm bound--I'm bound to thank you for itLalalalalala...Oh I want to thank you for so many giftsYou gave me love and tenderness I want to thank youI want to thank you for your generosity, The love, and the honesty that you gave to meI want to thank you, show my gratitude, My love and my respect for youI want to thank youOh, I want to thank you, thank you,Thank you, thank you,Thank you, thank youThank you, thank you,Thank you, thank you,Thank you, thank you,Thank you, thank you,Thank you..I want to thank you, thank you, Thank you, thank you, Thank you, thank you,Thank you, thank you...
Anyone think Reno publisher's wife will be one of those sacrificed this round?
Skippy what a JOKE!
AD director at the CN/HNT may pull a Sarah Palin. The whole advertising staff will be meeting tomorrow morning.The title of this meeting is named,"Third Quarter Sales".This invite was sent on Friday by the Ad director. Jim can you open up a NJ Confidential forum? Things are going to get interesting in the NJ group!
For what it's worth, our editor said he will receive the list of newsroom cuts from someone -- I'm guessing someone at the regional headquarters -- on Tuesday evening and begin informing those who willl be laid off first thing Wednesday. Is that what other shops are hearing?
Our EE told us Thursday was the day. I wish today had been Thursday.
I know many in the Community division papers detest us, many of us at USAT are worried that the other shoe is going to drop here. The fact that we "escaped" Palmgate Dickey's pogroms does little to ease these fears. Of course there's plenty of dead weight to trim. But the fear is reporters and other rank and filers will be the ones facing termination once Mr. Hunke gets accustomed to his new surroundings.
9:51: Isn't it odd that your editor isn't deciding who gets cut, or is she merely waiting for total numbers and then will make the decision?
From the publisher of the Journal & Courier in Lafayette, Ind.Dear Employees: By now you should have received and read the attached letter from our newspaper division president with details of workforce reductions across the newspaper division of Gannett. Although our newspaper is performing better than many in the company, we too will be reducing our workforce. We have done everything we can to cut non-payroll areas and the scope of the reduction is relatively small, about 3% of our workforce. However, even one reduction is one more than we would like to see. We plan to complete the communication to impacted employees on Thursday July 9th. After the reductions are communicated to impacted employees we will inform all employees that they are done. It is my hope and expectation that this reduction is the last across the board reduction for 2009. I appreciate the effort all of you continue to put in while you deal with the uncertainty presented by these reductions. Please let me know if you have any questions. Gary SuismanPresident and Publisher
9:51, your editor is lying. They won't know until after work on Tuesday about something this important on Wednesday? What they're saying is leave me alone, you'll find out Wednesday.
9:51don't suppose you'd share where you're from?Wednesday seems so much better than Thursday... even just for the beginning of the end...
That just-posted memo from Suisman looks genuine. Note the July 9 notification date.
In the final days of this blog, Gannett has been exposed as a weak company. Managed by leaders with such limited direction and conviction by senior staff that they were influenced by an external blog. The largest company in its industry was redirected by outside influences with a management team that was either ill informed or went against corporate direction. The elimination of jobs may make the Q2 report look better but Wall Street is smart enough to read through reports and look to management. When corporate executives overseeing a company of 40,000+ employees can't keep a plan on track and execute properly it shows problems beyond those cause by a blog.Well done Jim and everybody who's taken time to read and participate!
10:30, I'd like to say you have nothing to worry about. But you do. Too many well entrenched editors and former editors are drawing top salaries that will require your departure to make up for excess payrolls. Main jobs: covering their butts, looking busy, going to meetings, raising questions about coverage they've read or seen elsewhere, huddling with other editors, going to more meetings; staying late to look like their working. At the end of the day, one must wonder how they survive. But they will. They will.
The word I hear is Wednesday as well and 'the list' still isn't available to people (re: Directors/Managers) who have to carry it out. Even as important as something like this.Man... Gannett is great at communicating.
At least he had the balls to tell his employees unlike Curtis Riddle.Jim said... That just-posted memo from Suisman looks genuine. Note the July 9 notification date.
Phoenix rumor numbers are ranging from 50-180.
Hey Jim:I think you should pretend to to an analyst from some boutique firm and call in to ask Gracia some pointed questions 7/15. That would be a riot!!!!
At least Suisman shows some decency. The publisher at Cherry Hill should be so decent
A reader sent me the following in an e-mail. which appears to have been sent to employees of Gannett's 10-paper Newspaper Network of Central Ohio. It's signed by Linda Greiwe, publisher of the Newartk Advocate in Newark, Ohio, and president of the NNCO division.July 6, 2009 NNCO employees, I am excited today to announce an initiative to improve the quality and quantity of local content we’re able to deliver to our readers on all publication platforms today and into the future. We’re embarking on a project to consolidate leadership of our Information Centers under one editor to better foster the sharing of content, including work from a new NNCO enterprise reporting team, and provide local sites with complete support for print and online production work. This means all print pages will be built at larger copy desks in Newark and Mansfield, where online content also will be managed. A key aspect of this plan is the formation of an enterprise and data reporting team of two people based in Newark. Their job is to write in-depth daily and project stories on issues that impact as many NNCO markets as possible. Their efforts, in concert with local sites, will enable us to produce more hard-hitting news key to attracting and keeping readers, especially Boomers. Our current structure does not allow us to produce such stories without unusual efforts, let alone share them easily. And we know strong “watchdog” journalism is critical to our future in this new media world. This improvement plan is not part of the Gannett workforce reductions announced last week. But its scope is quite large and ambitious and cannot be done without the regrettable elimination of some Information Center jobs. Most of these positions are being repurposed in online, copy editing and content generation efforts at the group and local level. This project was being planned long before the recent news. Human Resources will meet with impacted employees in the next few days. Here are a few examples of why we’re convinced this approach will work for our readers. • A good one-market story can be expanded into multiple markets. (i.e. Newark heroin deaths up sharply; other sites can localize; State budget impact on local public schools and charter schools can be written once and shared.) • Gives smallest sites a far better opportunity to offer readers key content. It’s tough for 2 or 3 reporters to fill more than 20 front page slots a week, let alone inside pages. • Expanded weekend staffing will include monitoring story comment abuse reports for all sites and posting of weekend breaking news. • End practice of two sites covering one high school game. Now, one reporter will write versions for both sites while another covers an extra game. • Despite its importance, web operations are consuming too much time at smaller sites. Centralized experts can more efficiently meet our needs and ensure our sites meet best practices.
Regarding the NNCO: Man, that's a train wreck in the making.
"We’re embarking on a project to consolidate leadership of our Information Centers under one editor to better foster the sharing of content..."Wow, what garbage in Ohio!And what editor among THAT bunch is capable of overseeing 10 newspapers or so? Most have shown themselves incapable of running their own newsrooms.Gannett will just pick the best butt-kisser of the bunch and give that person the job.
That doesn't surprise me at all. I don't work for Gannett, but I interviewed with an NNCO paper at one point and did some research on them beforehand. Turns out several of their smaller papers, like Bucyrus and Port Clinton, really exist in name only: almost all of the work is simply done at bigger bureaus in Mansfield and Fremont, respectively. They've been shifting towards this for quite some time, so it was only inevitable before they expanded it to the entire NNCO family.
Wow, daily enterprise that will save save the Ohio group. that's a lot to expect from two people in Newark.What if one of them takes a sick day?
Wow Nice memo to the Ohio people.Incredible spin. Pass the DramamineCondolences to those that will be unconsolidated.
I like Linda Greiwe's ideas as per Jim 11:25. As described by linda- • A good one-market story can be expanded into multiple markets. (i.e. Newark heroin deaths up sharply; other sites can localize; State budget impact on local public schools and charter schools can be written once and shared.)In the new system, you'd simply expand the story into multiple markets as Phoenix heroin deaths..., Reno Herion Deaths... The state budget story can be any state, who cares!It's great, two writers writing key stories for 80 papers and all you do is input your town. Plus, they can repurpose the stories, layoff twice as many people and get twice the "local" coverage. It's brilliant. Perhaps they can apply to online at torpedo all that's left.
Folks, you really have to get over to Gannettoid.com. Jim recommends this. The few who have said "it's too hard to navigate'' must have trouble flushing their toilets. Puullleesee! Make it easy for us all and post there. (No offense to Jim in any way, and a sincere thanks for his efforts)
Hey APP! Here's a clue when the layoffs are going to happen...DF in ADS comes in about an hour or two before her normal shift starts! This way she can grab the victims as they walk in the door. She pretends to be upset about doing it, but she absolutely loves it! Hell, she would clean toilets there as long as she can retire from there.
RE: The NNCO memo. I used to work at one of those papers, and readers hated -- HATED -- when one paper would run another paper's story. Even with our attempts to localize, readers would say, "If I wanted to read about their town, I'd buy that other paper." This is central and southeastern Ohio we're talking about. People in these communities have roots, they normally don't care about (and sometimes resent) neighboring communities, and I can't imagine that stories created by a central team out of Newark are going to please readers across all markets. People in the NNCO communities are already served by newspapers that are shells of their former selves. Everything's been centralized to cut costs -- printing presses, copy desks, newsgatherers. This goes back to the pre-Gannett Thompson days.And what can you do? It's a poor area, for sure. You can't run a thriving advertising-supported business in a market that's not thriving.But this initiative strikes me as something cooked up by people who don't understand the community. Taking their example, the story about heroin deaths in Newark being localized for other markets -- let me tell ya, that's not going to fly in Chillicothe or Coshocton.People in these towns know their neighbors, their neighbors' kids, and their neighbors' kids' grandparents. They want to read two things: When somebody they know did something good, and when somebody they know fucked up and went to jail. (Especially the second one, but they'll never admit it.)I concede that the two examples involving web content are probably a good idea, especially if it gives papers a staffer to monitor web comments. But the other example -- about providing "key content" at smaller sites ... that's just more non-local stories! Exactly what readers will resent and reject.But maybe the new Newark-based reporting team will come up with a good enterprise piece. And maybe it will win a Best of Gannett award. And maybe the NNCO executive who dramed up the whole idea will get a President's Ring. And then everybody involved can say "That's what I won from my old company, Gannett, right before it folded."
Wednesday night phone calls to homes will be the notification process.
Publisher and Controller both on vacation in Reno this week. Does that mean anything or say anything?
Nice to see that Gannett has decided it can make its smaller papers "better" by making them more generic and getting rid of the local flavor. First local, local, now this. Our leadership -- if you can call it that -- has ADD.
"It is my hope and expectation that this reduction is the last across the board reduction for 2009."Yet more proof that we have idiots in most key leadership roles in Gannett. Really, Gary. Why would that be your expectation? Because the economy is looking so good? Because the housing market is on the upswing? Because advertisers are suddenly flocking to us? Because we finally figured out how to make money on the Web. Mark my words, Gary. We will see serious reductions through either layoffs or attrition even after the economy turns around. The current business model is done. When this comes to pass, can I have your job? It will then be clear that I know more about the industry than you.You're either a liar or completely lost. Good luck.
9:28 -- Get real. Gannett protects its gravy trainers.
Any editor or publisher who makes his employees wait until Thursday to get the layoff news doesn't even deserve to be leading a third grade lunch line. Talk about spineless.
In Reno, publisher is returning for the layoffs, which take place Thursday. This has been confirmed by high-ranking manager. Still don't know how many people are out of there.
It's 10:21 a.m. and I just woke up. Well, my body is verticle, anyway. Having coffee, and a ciggie. (OM-fucking-G: Don't tell Sparky. He would skin me alive if he knew I'd been smoking cigarettes.) He doesn't read the blog except when I point him to a particular post. And he never reads the comments. Once, I told him that you guys had clicked on a link to his little Sparky bio like 800 times. Pause. "Don't these people have something better to do?" he replied. "Like getting tomorrow's paper out?"Heh. Sparky once worked on Cincinnati's copydesk. Some things never change. OK. One more smoke, then I quit. He's arriving tomorrow. Look busy, everyone!
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