Sunday, January 30, 2011

Week Jan. 24-30 | Your News & Comments: Part 5

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  1. For Part 4 of this comment thread, please go here.

  2. Jim, having video embedded on the front page really slows down the page load in blogger - not to say it's not worthwhile to have video, but perhaps moving those posts off sooner rather than later could be an option?

    Last week's two video piece with Dubow and the cartoon took forever to bring up, and if we're just jumping in to catch the latest discussion, every second counts.

    Feel free to delete this.

  3. Is everyone enjoying their last peaceful Friday
    before the 2010 financial reports come.
    We know that soon after that report, and the very low profit margin that it will show
    has to mean expense side cuts.It has too,
    revenue increases are very unlikely as everything has been tried and failed.
    The trend continues to peak downward no matter
    who spins the numbers to appear differently.
    When this happens,layoffs happen.
    Not to be the predictor of doom,but if your Plan B is not ready,it should be.And you should
    muster the courage to use it.

  4. Wow. Demand Media comes out of the gate worth $1.5 billion, or more than 40 percent of the $3.6 billion market value for all of Gannett. Think of Demand as being worth the equivalent of USA Today, The Arizona Republic, several other big dailies and CareerBuilder. Demand could well be worth more than all of Gannett's digital properties combined, including the newspaper websites. Do you think Gannett can ever transition itself into a digital company? Put me down as a skeptic - I doubt that the top executives have the vision or talent.

  5. USAToday using Demand Media actually gave it a boost of credibility – while damaging USAT further. You are being led by DUMMIES. It wasn't always that way. Gannett was a smart company with smart leaders. That will never happen again.

    Also, what's with all the "jump now" advice. Just stupid. If you find a job now, jump. If you don't, look every minute on their time. Then, once they lay you off, soak up every penny of that blasted "transition pay" and use it to fund your search and get you through as you prepare to go into foreclosure.

    - Living that nightmare and just dropping by

  6. Noted: The Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, S.D., has now adopted the new template for its website. Read the editor's note on the changes.

  7. Sorry you're hitting rough going 11:04. Your caution is correct: You can't quit without a job. For starters, it impacts your eligibility for unemployment/cobra, and not in a good way.

    But, yes, spend every moment you have looking for your next job and/or building your own thing so it will be there when they boot you.

  8. Has anyone seen Jason Tafler? He has not shown up at our offices in Conshy sine the beginning of December 2010!!!

    Doesn't anyone think this is weird? Is he still on our payroll? Does Gannett even know what is going here at PointRoll? This place is falling apart! Seriously, this management team only cares about themselves. So immature!

  9. 3:06p...Are you kidding me. It looks like ShopLocal is taking over pointroll. Jason Tafler has been the worst leader I have ever worked under. No one gives a shit about pointroll. Resumes are flying out the door. All the management team is talking about is their boondoggle to Mexico next week.

    Jason should just admit that he has been thrown out of pointroll for his poor performance.

  10. In the current round of protests in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, it's fascinating once more to see grassroots demonstrators using Facebook, Twitter and conventional blogs to level the playing field with more powerful people.

  11. Gannett does not care about anyone who works for them. Use all time you can on the company clock to find a way out and screw gannett any way you can because they will screw you and toss you aside like garbage as soon as they can.

  12. Thanks Chris for that insightful comment.

  13. I am amazed at how Gannett operates each day. I have been in meetings where the Gannett executives were praising the Point roll team. They were singing the praises of what ha been called "the greatest acquisition of all time".

    Today, the same people on the same executive team are now trashing the Point roll leaders openly in meetings. They are busy complaining that Point roll is full of arrogant, over paid "30 somethings".

    Now, I am not a big fan of Point roll because I just don't understand their real value, but I am surprised that Gannett can turn it's back on these people so fast. One day they love them and the next day they are ready to toss them out.

    Just shocking. This is another reason why Gracia Martore and Craig Dubow should be tossed.

  14. More quiet layoffs happening. 9 total in Indy today.

  15. Re: Jim's 4 p.m....It is indeed interesting! Most of the protestors I saw seemed to be young people in their teens through late 20s.

    Texting, Twittering, etc. is like breathing to them!

    My son, a graduate student, finds a Blackberry necessary to stay in the loop academically and socially. No one, he said, invites people to a party by calling them on the phone. It just doesn't happen anymore.

    I hope the newspaper industry can catch up to the present before it's too late!

  16. 9:43

    In which departments were the layoffs?

  17. 9:44, where have you been, it is already way too late. It is over. The sand is slipping through the glass as evidenced by the circulation drops. As things continue to deteriorate, there will be more "quiet" layoffs. Unfortunately, the morons keep their jobs for now while the real people keep getting the axe. Incompetence reigns at gannett.

  18. 11:45
    Circulation(5), Marketing(1), Newsroom(1), Advertising(2)

  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  20. 11:45... TWO IN ADVERTISING?????

    Either you're kidding or HELL JUST FROZE OVER!

    There is more WAISTED PAYROLL in our advertising department than ever!!!!! YET THERE IS NO FIRINGS!!!! It's UNBELIEVABLE and NO other dept. would put up with the lack of production!!

  21. I don't know if folks will be watching this blog this week or not,I expect not so much.
    The impending doom that approaches from next week's financials is very stressfull.
    We know that many things will change and most are once again saying......
    Oh please,don't let it be me, please layoff my
    best friend and co-worker,just don't take me.
    Please ,please I will work harder and longer,
    just give me one more chance to prove that I can still be a loyal Gannett ,work til it kills me employee !!!!
    Sounds familiar doesn't it ??? The past is repeating itself again and again. That is Gannett life.
    On the other hand, I will guess,that there are a huge number saying ....
    Please let it be me...please ,please I am ready
    to get my unemployment and start a job search !
    Please,get it over with already ,I can't stand it anymore.Please let my name be on the layoff
    list ,I pray it is my turn to get rid of this sickening stress ,it's killing me !!!
    Ah ,It's a Wonderful Life in Gannettland !
    Damn them all.

  22. Does anyone know who Vikram Sharma is? He is claimed to be the new Chief Digital Officer for Gannett. He claims that he is now taking over Gannett online operations along with Shop local and Point roll.

  23. 11:55

    How many have been let go in the newsroom so far?

  24. The DR got hit hard, the C-N very little (surprise, surprise). I'm hoping FS is allowed a farewell column.

  25. As a former reporter with Tribune, KRI and Gannett and as a devoted newspaper reader, I can't believe how Gannett executives pay no homage to the quality of their products. Smart companies and smart executives know that their products have to be unique (that is, not a clonable commodity), indispensable and superior to competitors. Gannett papers simply don't deliver content that readers treasure and seek out, contrary to the Times, Post, Wall St. Journal, Politico, The Hill,, Gawker, HuffPost and on and on, all of which break a lot of news and are therefore incessantly linked to, bookmarked, tweeted, digged and shared. By focusing on the mundane, Gannett papers have left themselves vulnerable to the likes of Patch, MinnPost, Politico and HuffPost local sites and solo operator bloggers. I used to give Gannett papers the benefit of the doubt that they were a important stop in my daily Web rounds for strategic information, primarily for political and business news, but since Gannett seems more interested in telling people about fun things going on and running photos of drunk girls, I seldom stop by its sites anymore. I wish they would sell their sites to someone who will dig harder for news.

  26. Vikram Sharma would be a 100X better than Jason Tafler, Sandy Dondici or Rob Gatto at running Pointroll, ShopLocal and Gannett. Jason Tafler is the Mubarak of Pointroll. At least Vikram listens and is respectful of his employees. Jason, Sandy and Rob all lack the leadership skills that Vikram possesses.

  27. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  28. You proud of that, 1:07?

  29. Incredible the repetition of the 'tongs' comments, which are likely from one mentally-challenged individual.

    It's the kind of comment you'd hear from a 13-year-old. Sadly, the person works with us...somewhere. A world of different voices indeed.

    Hopefully when Jim returns he'll delete them.

  30. What struck me about the Egypt protests was how the government shut down the Internet, Twitter, etc. I didn't think it would be that easy, and some people were able to get Internet connections only via older generation telephone modems. Anyone with cable and interested in this should watch al Jazerra, which has been far more pointed on what is happening here than the U.S. networks. They shut down al Jazerra broadcasts, too.

  31. I've actually been surprised that except for a yes, different point of view, the actual coverage and journalism I've seen on the English-laguage al Jazeera isn't very different from any cable station.

    No particular access or interviews, same kind of reporters looking out the same kind of balconies CNN is. I especially don't see much street reporting from al Jazeera. Odd.

  32. Al Jazerra is much more pointed. I saw a TV presenter today last out against America's corporate TV, contending GE-owned NBC reflected the military-industrial state and its coverage was just shouting. They do have street interviews, and in English, which is not that difficult in Cairo, and I think they are more atuned to the politics in Egypt because of their background. I didn't see the Saudis rallying to Mubarek's side on American networks, but I found it on al Jazerra. Having been to the Arab world several times, I find this coverage of street demonstrations very ususual. The Arab media normally swoons over its leadership and doesn't cover dissent.

  33. The tongs comments come straight from corporate, from someone who reports high up. I know who he is.

  34. 9:35 - Not surprising at all. Do tell.

  35. Someone posted here about how USA Today was still lavishing funding on foreign news. So how come USA Today is using wire copy from Cairo? This has been going on now for 3 days, sufficient time to move in resources.

  36. Technogy in whole is moving at lightspeed right now. With gannett beig the size it iz. It is impossible to think that they would have the ability to keep up with the times. If you think about how much corporate red tape there is, in every facet of the business. Creating a position, developing new position, getting lawer mumbo jumbo to cover your ass for new position. Training staff across the country. The world is a different place compared to even 3 years ago. Think of the simple startups that grew leaps and bounds in 2010...groupon,twitter,foursquare.etc... Gannet execs know they just showed up with a knife to a gunfight. And they are bleeding it dry painfully slow and for as long as they can. Gannett being the size it is lacks the capacity to ever be relevant in realtime...

  37. Ongo, ripple6, cosi, GannettLocal, planet discover, QuadrantOne, Careerbuilder...and the list goes on. Great job Jack and Gracia. You two have earned the stupid acquisition awards!


  38. Less thasn 24 hours until the report is made public.Tomorrow should be a real fun day at Gannett camps across the country.
    Just one step closer to the unemployment check
    and the "I'm outta here" sign on my back ..
    There should be a poll taken on this site so that Jim's readers could share how they feel.
    I am so glad that I am being laid off.The stress
    of Gannett and the waiting and not knowing is finally over and I can get on with life at last.
    The hell with Gannett ..finally it's over.
    I hope Gannett leaders can finally make some good decisions and once again and get it back to the thriving corporation it once was.I love Gannett and want stay until retiremnet.Please,
    please don't lay me off.

    I think the resulting numbers would very interesting.
    Oh well relax for now,there's always tomorrow
    to have a stress stroke.

  39. Man In Black1/30/2011 11:27 AM

    Remember Friday is Wear Black in support of our fallen colleagues in NJ. Who's in support of the people who've been let go in the cruelest fashion in NJ? Make a "fashion statement."

  40. Right you are 1:26 a.m....Gannett is like the old GM. By the time it gets to the marketplace the competition has been there and back.

    The best thing that could happen would be leave editorial and day-to-day management at the local level.

    I understand that the news execs need to do "something" to justify their positions, but these people are so far removed from reality it's ridiculous.

    Dickey, Marymount, etc., do us all a favor and retire when you've finished with your Design Center "transformation."

    I know you're simply looking to save money and quality has been off your agenda for years. But please, you can't keep slicing up the community newspapers and expect a revenue turnaround.

    And Dickey and Marymount, just in case you don't know it the lack of quality is evident on the Web sites as well.

  41. "The best thing that could happen would be leave editorial and day-to-day management at the local level(12:10 PM)." As in, the original Gannett business model before the circus of Dickey, Marymount, et. al., arrived.

  42. I recently started getting the WSJ delivered because I qualified for free delivery with mileage points.

    I have to say: It's clear there are two distinct models in play here with respect to GCI and Murdock. While USAT and other GCI newspapers continue offer less and less and get dumber by the day, the WSJ is packed with more. Just finished the Saturday edition and it's absolutely just a pleasure to read. More tremendous reporting. More incredibly intelligent writing. Topics that are just plain ol' interesting as heck. Design that's inviting and clever. You can feel the enthusiasm and craftsmanship and attention to detail with every turn of the page. You really feel like this is a grown-up newspaper created by smart people for smart people.

    USAT remains, well, otherwise.

    The WSJ has always had better writing, of course. It's written by highly skilled journalists who don't need to write using the ever-bland, lifeless and often hackneyed 'voice' (if you can call if a voice) of USAT.

    But the Murdock version of the WSJ has added so many terrific layers of non-business news content now, that it really can take USAT on in the areas that USAT used to have to itself.

    Looking forward to my continued subscription ....

  43. Man in Black, do you have a count of newsroom employees eliminated at each of the 3 papers? I'm curious about many newsroom employees got cut, and how many remain, at the CN, THNT and APP.

  44. I've said it before, the key to Gannett's turnaround is going to be with content, not more cuts for cost savings. Content sucks. Local newspapers don't even own their local market anymore. Newsrooms are populated by young, inexperienced editors who are incapable of teaching and training even younger, less experienced reporters. Reporting is a lost art. Finding news stories is less important than getting those updates (to what, I don't know) up on the web. The worse the content gets, the fewer subscribers and the few page views there are. Big stories will drive single copy or numbers, but they're short-term spikes. They won't build the revenue. But add content back, hire some real reporters and editors, make the paper (which everyone knows but won't admit is still the real cash cow) relevant again. That's what will trigger a true turnaround.

  45. The counter to all that WSJ love is that despite the good journalism, there's no indication their circulation is doing much better than anyone else's. They do have a built-in online advantage given all the business information they can provide, but I hear no buzz across the nation about the WSJ among readers.

    That's not to minimize Murdoch's bold and even heroic belief in print. God for him!

  46. Re: the WSJ: I live in an apartment complex near the mailboxes where they dump newspapers in the morning for residents. There are now eight residents who are subscribing to the WSJ where there were none two years ago. There is no sign of USA Today, or the NYT.

  47. Gannett should consider looking to bring in top level managers who have 15 years of a career left and a real commitment to journalism. Credibility and customer service pay the bills, and these are qualities clearly eroding in the industry.
    NPR reported on life after a newspaper in a country today, discussing how other information outlets and how the mother of invention (necessity) will solve the problem. If Gannett has any hope of retaining the value of local service, quality (not quantity for quantity sake) has to return.
    Mandates might be : Eliminate typos and errors through thorough training in Excellence centers; Set editorial news plan targeting top community interests for the year with reporters assigned to champion; And have at least one major enterprise each week.
    Gannett news department : Keep it simple. It will still be a tough year.
    Gannett corporate: Know your people on the front lines.

  48. You all seem so calm and relaxed ,giving helpful
    ways to improve products and so forth.
    You might want take the time and spend it tuning
    your resumes instead,because tomorrow is the beginning of doomsweek and no thoughtful suggestions will be listened to as you are escorted out the door.
    Geez ,when will some you finally get it !
    There are no ideas that will be considered,
    no plan will be instigated.Revenue is way down.
    Expenses must be cut! Employees are an expense!
    Layoffs are the easiest way to cut major expenses.

  49. 1. Why do you continue to hire people to fill vacated positions left by those seeking better working conditions, yet continue to lay off employees who have stayed put and remained loyal to the company? Don't you think giving people some sense of a job security is a good idea?

  50. To whoever is writing all that gloomy haiku: Will you please try to get a grip on yourself? You sound like a cross between Cassandra and Eeyore. Talk to somebody. Go out with friends. See a movie. Just stop worrying so much about Gannett. What will be will be. Your concern for your fellow Gannett employees is appreciated, but you need to take care of yourself first and foremost. Brooding about layoffs isn't going to help.


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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