Thursday, May 20, 2010

Full text of Robertson memo to staff

I wanted to personally send out a note this morning to announce that Gannett has asked me to take on a new role leading a start-up venture called GannettLocal. As many of you know, I have been splitting my time for several months between Burlington and Phoenix where this start-up is located. GannettLocal is a new business model focused on working with small and medium sized business to provide them a high-touch marketing consultation and a suite of multiplatform solutions (search engine marketing, email, digital display, website, and geo-targeted print/flyers) delivered by a team of dedicated experts over the phone.

Over the next month or so, I will be transitioning over to this new role, trying to sell my house and a publisher search will be conducted.

It is with a heavy heart that I send out this message and have to begin confronting the reality of leaving The Burlington Free Press and the state of Vermont. Before I moved here I spoke with Jennifer Carroll, former executive editor of the Free Press, and she told me of the joy her family experienced living here. How connected they felt to the community. I enthusiastically told her that I wanted my family to feel that way about where we lived. And she could not have been more right. Vermont has touched my family in so many positives ways. From the day we moved here it has felt like a big hug from the community. How great is it that no matter what store you are at, walking down church street, attending a show at the Flynn or up a mountain skiing that you will see someone you know. That warm and friendly face of a friend, no matter how distant, that says hello. A human connection in a world that every day seems to be moving to a digital relationship that feels a bit cold. Sure Vermont has beautiful landscape, mountains, lake champlain and so on but for me the soul of Vermont, the pride of why you push your shoulders back and hold your head high when someone asks you where you live, is because of the incredible people who live in Vermont. It is those Vermonters (flatlanders included) that make this the most incredible place in the US. It is the pleasure of working with everyone at the Burlington Free Press that has made my time hear an unforgetable experience.

My 2 1/2 years living here has changed me in ways that I never thought were possible. Vermont has made such an impact on me personally, sparking my entrepreneurial spirit, teaching me how to care for the planet, supporting local food producers, learning to love a great bottle of wine. But what continues to stand out for me are the people in Vermont that I have had the pleasure of sharing these experiences with. I arrived here in October 2007 with a goal of making an impact, a big contribution to the Burlington community and as I am preparing to leave I realize that it is I who have been changed, who has been impacted by Vermont. I have so many fond memories of moments where I learned something new, met an interesting person who shared their insight with me and gave me a wider perspective, worked with a group of employees who were open to change and trying a new way to solve a problem or create a new connection with our readers, etc. So it is I who will miss all of you for the energy you gave me. My proudest moment at the Burlington Free Press happens on a daily basis when I see the PRIDE that employees have in working here. It is that PRIDE that I want everyone to promise me that we will continue to grow. That we will work toward making more changes to increase the PRIDE we have in the organization we work for, all of us committing to a life long journey of learning and curiosity, the products we produce that reflect the local community’s many voices and the results we provide to our local advertisers.

The only reason I feel that I can leave at this time is because of the energetic, passionate, committed team we have here at the Free Press. I am just one member on the team. And someone new will get a great job leading the Burlington Free Press. But what I know is that the Burlington Free Press is built on the foundation of all of it’s employees just not one or a few. The sum of the parts is what gives us soul. The coordination of so many moving parts everyday pushing toward one goal of connecting with our community.

I plan to reach out to many of you to send you a personal note or stop by your desk to say thanks.

Thanks for letting this flatlander get to be part of the Vermont magic even if it was for a short time. It has forever changed me for the good and I am grateful.



  1. Funny, this note says very little about what he is going to do at GannettLocal. It doesn't show his passion for his new role. In fact, one would say that he spent more time stroking the VTeers with is mushy goodbye.

    Brad...grow the fuck up. Say goodbye and go produce something! Because not only are you a flatlander, you are a flatleaver leaving a newspaper that is FLATLINING.

    Trust me Brad, many of us here are more than happy to see you leave!

  2. The post at 5:53am is the perfect example why newspaper people are so negative at their core. A guy writes a note to his employees thanking them and all you can do is be a prick about it? Who needs to grow up?


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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