Friday, January 07, 2011

Week of Jan. 3-9 | Your News & Comments: Part 3

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  1. For Part 2 of this comment thread, please go here.

  2. You have no idea how happy I am that they dumped me back in 2008. I'm years ahead of my position within gannett. Poor managment is why they are in this spot. Give up the economy excuses. It is a poorly run company. They do not care about you or me or anyone else. I would like to see the stress related health claims coming out of that place. Get out Gannett seems to be the only media tanking.

  3. Our department is scheduled to be consolidated this spring and everyone is sooooo looking forward to NOT working here!

  4. Furloughed Fury1/05/2011 10:19 PM

    Dear 5:17, please go back to Troll town and sit at the heel of your corporate master. Obey his or hers command until the day they order you to get out. Reflect on your wasted life. Jim is doing something important and appreciated by us all with his life. Too bad you can't say the same.

  5. Would an executive ever say, "I will forgo accepting bonuses until we get this ship in order and get normal operations flowing?" In fact, it makes little sense to accept bonus for performance below expectations which includes setting a budget for the next year that addresses something they hoped they wouldn't have to do. It seems they set the budget with furloughs in mind, otherwise they would allow these to be a property by property decision. Example: I can find the additional cuts to forgo furloughs and possibly even buffer for a rocky year but instead am told we need to do them like everyone else.

  6. "Yes, you read about furloughs here weeks or months ago, but you also read people who were just as sure they wouldn't happen.

    As recently as the last three weeks, I predicted that Jim and his blind supporters would crow that this blog had it right, no matter which way things turned out.

    Jim responded by saying that he did not expect furloughs and would take no credit for announcing them in the event they happened.

    Jim assured the readers that, if furloughs came to pass, he would point out that he missed the ball.

    Maybe I missed it, but where is Jim's admission of failure on this.

    It won't happen. He plays both sides of the fence, claims victory in any event then begs for money like he is a PBS outlet or something."

    That's funny. I said the same thing about a different topic just a few days ago.

    The people who shout down these comments as coming from trolls need to grow up. People here play both sides of the fence and then try to claim they were right when the truth arrives.

  7. Fifty years down the road, this blog's archives will be required reading for researchers studying the demise of the once powerful newspaper industry.
    Jim's building real life* stories full of real voices* that often evoke emotions* that align and connect with the values of blog readers and potential readers*. (* = all Gannett terms, which should qualify Jim for a ring, don't ya think?)
    Sure, the conversation can get a bit salty and insulting sometimes, but that's what attracts the coveted younger readers newspapers died trying to attract. I remember GCI wunderkins belittling then-prosperous newspapers for too much coverage of middle-aged and senior activities. Obedient soldiers quickly followed with a barrage of stupid changes they thought young people wanted. Nothing worse than old people pretending to be something they are not.
    Future scholars will quickly discern that serious journalism didn't fade away because of bad performances by those who actually did the work. The fault lies at the feet of the disconnected bigshots who spend more time in board rooms enriching themselves than they do in newsrooms trying to figure out how to succeed in a competitive marketplace.
    Jim has created a interesting forum and he's starting to meet his revenue goals as his blog gets stronger and stronger. If he stays the course, he might just be there to cover Gannett's demise.
    But what if GCI owned this blog? Jim would be given six months to double the revenue, triple the ad count, do at least six major exclusives a year, lay off one of his two parttime employees, outsource design work to a firm in Borneo and trade in his computer system and software for a system developed by Bob Dickey's nephew at prep school last summer. Weekly revenue updates would be required, with lengthy explanations of pluses and minuses.
    Because he's independent, Jim's able to serve up a daily slice of reality without interference from "corporate helpers."
    Could it be that simple?

  8. You couldn't be more wrong, 12:51. First, let's hope the researchers can sift through all the inaccuracies and rumors here. Jim and his followers won't admit to them.

    "serious journalism didn't fade away because of bad performances by those who actually did the work."

    Wrong. All you need to do is look at older newspapers and then look at today's newspapers.

    The rest of your post is a combination of hyperbole and straw-man arguments. The funny thing is, YOUR post is what the researchers should notice. You and many others have failed consistently to figure out what is going on.

  9. 1:28-

    You are obviously being paid to say that. It demonstrates the talent level at the palace with perfection.

    If your going to practice subterfuge. At least try to be somewhat creative...... It's just become boring.

  10. I'd like to echo what others have said about leaving. I concluded earlier this fall that I had no future at Gannett -- and, more importantly, that my paper had no future -- and left. I got a new job, for more money, at a place where management actually cares about what I think. Imagine that! No, it's not doing the exact same thing that I did for the past quarter century. But if what I want to do is not something for which people will pay, what is the use in doing it? That's the definition of a hobby, not a career.

    The job market is tight, but it's not impenetrable. It may take many months of searching (which you should have started doing long ago). Or a relo. But I was really surprised how many companies are worrying about how to GROW their way back to health, instead of sticking with the deathwatch mentality coming out of McLean. The rest of the world is not like Gannett. Many of you seem to have lost sight of that basic fact.

    Think about it: If your kid wanted to go to a prestigious, expensive school to pursue a career with very little potential for actual employment, would you encourage him without counseling for a back-up plan? Wouldn't you suggest that he at least look at other options? Or at least realize that he's likely to be living on ramen noodles for a long time?

    What's so special about the shitty products that Gannett turns out nowadays that makes working there worth martyring yourself? Sure, there's pride in doing your best under bad circumstances, but let's not delude ourselves into thinking that Gannett's daily output is saving the democracy for the world. In most cases, if the local Gannett station or paper folded tomorrow, the only people who would care would be the newly unemployed.

    Gannett is not going to turn around under the current model because the model is flawed. The company is run by people who understand spreadsheets; not the news business, not journalism, and certainly not the value of building and promoting a product that the market wants and needs. They’re compensated in ways that encourage them to ignore reality. It's a house of cards that, come budget time, only gets built to even more precarious heights. Then, when targets are missed -- because they never were attainable under current conditions and with current resources -- the people who do the grunt work bear the burden of failure, rather than the card-stackers who directed the whole mess.

    If you think you're doing God's work, and are willing to suffer for it, then soldier on, taking the trash that Gracia keeps feeding you. Otherwise, make a plan and move on. Get a new job; sell the GCI stock in your 401(k). You, too, can rejoin the ranks of happy and productive citizens.

    Good luck and God bless everyone in 2011.

  11. 12:51 AM

    "But what if GCI owned this blog? Jim would be given six months to double the revenue, triple the ad count, do at least six major exclusives a year, lay off one of his two parttime employees, outsource design work to a firm in Borneo and trade in his computer system and software for a system developed by Bob Dickey's nephew at prep school last summer. Weekly revenue updates would be required, with lengthy explanations of pluses and minuses."

    This would be funny if it weren't so sad and true.

  12. Jim, Noticed a guy who took a 2M golden parachute from Westwood One (the radio syndicator that has licensed the NBC Radio network news name) has moved to USA Today's Sports Marketing unit. His name is Tom Beusee. What exactly is the USA Today position?

  13. 7:49 AM

    Thank you for an encouraging and realistic posting that everyone should heed.

  14. Jim,

    What's the Phoenix news you teased to in Part 2? The serf's at 200evb are dying to know what new curse awaits them.

  15. Gannett has announced more press consolidations in Central Ohio. More jobs lost. Story also claims delivery times will not be affected. That means deadlines MUST be moved up for print editions. FYI -- Mansfield News Journal is 28,000 circulation daily and will now be printed in Newark, Ohio, which is a good 75 minutes away in good weather.

    Story here:

  16. You missed it, 12:51 am. Jim posted about this at 6:48 pm.
    Take your venom elsewhere. Who cares about apologies?
    Jim has provided a forum for users to provide information anonymously. Caveat emptor. No one should have to apologize for an opinion civilly posted.

  17. Beusse is now in charge of Sports for all of Gannett: "A company press release indicates that Beusse will manage the national sports agenda for USA Today as well as Gannett’s 82 newspapers, 23 television stations, and websites including and"

  18. Those of us who are scrambling to keep the patient alive under confusing directives are acutely aware of "the deathwatch mentality coming out of McLean."

    It doesn't help that the gang at the top are hunkered over like vultures, already picking the body clean.

    There is something singularly un-American about the way they lay off people, order furloughs and work us into exhaustion so they can reward themselves with obscene bonuses.

    I work at USA TODAY. I can only imagine how people are suffering at Gannett's community newspapers, having worked at one myself. It was bad even before the economic collapse.

    But Hunke's bonus alone could have kept four or five people on the USAT payroll. Instead, he tossed them into the ranks of the unemployed -- good people, people we actually needed -- and announced, beaming with totally tone-deaf self-congratulations, that he created, out of thin air, a position for his former secretary called "Director of Employee Engagement."

    Am I the only person who feels like I've walked onto the set of a farce?

    I cannot believe that we, as stockholders, have no recourse. Somebody please start the ball rolling, or tell us where and how to begin.

  19. I find it interesting that our British counterparts are protesting Gannett's policies publicly while here is USA we just get into Internet flame wars with people who are still (STILL!!!!) saying give management a chance or management is doing everything they can. To me the only honorable thing to do as a top-level manager at this point is leak as much inside information as possible to the rank and file.

  20. At this point, I'm just looking for a way out. The salary for the jobs I look at does not matter. If I have to take a pay cut, I'll adjust my budget to adapt or find a second job. Anything to get out. I'm actually hoping for the looming lay-offs to hit me so I can start the full time job of looking for a job. I know that the folks who have been cut have had a hard time. Some are still looking. But I can't imagine it would be any worse than waking up in the middle of the night and dreading coming back to this place. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm willing to take that chance.

  21. The arrogance of these bastards who call themselves leaders.They work great,loyal employees to the bone,take all they can ,drive employees to stress related health problems. Leaders hell, the only leading they do is to lead Gannett employees to edge of the cliff and then say ,JUMP! It is GOOD for the corporation!!!
    And how many do this as the great ,loyal employees that they are !Far too many.How many are still just waiting for this command.
    I know most are just waiting to be laid off,I know of several,who won't get away until the
    promise of the Unemployment Check.
    All the reports of layoffs ,consolidations,cutbacks,are not fictitious.They are real.

  22. Hang in there folks. Chin up 9:57. Job market is getting much better and, even without fulltime work immediately, the contractual market appears booming. At least that's been my observation/experience. While applying for jobs, be sure to apply for 'gigs' as well.

    Hey corp trolls: How can you possibly continue to post pro-GCI/anti-Jim nonsense at this point? Is your moral compass so twisted that you can't see the tremendous value Jim provides as well as the utter and complete lack of any confidence or respect that Gannett employees now feel for leadership? (Ooops. That's "leadership.") Dubow and his croonies/enablers have clearly 'lost the room.' The only decent thing to do is resign and turnover to a Curley-type leader who'd be the only hope of restoring respect and hope and vision and product value within this company.

  23. 12:04, the main answer to your biased question is this: Jim and the lemming trolls get details wrong all the time.

    If you can't figure that out, then you are the one who needs to restore vision -- to yourself.

  24. 12:10
    You must be one of the "Gannett for Life",
    employees. And still believe that there is no other job out there ,so Gannett must keep you
    employed.Follow them to the cliff, and try to act surprised when pushed off.
    Sure not everything here is predicted ,right or wrong,then again there is no logic in Gannettland
    so how can you predict.

  25. Beusse was supposed to start this week, but no one has seen him. Based on that, I think he'll fit in here perfectly.

  26. The corporate trolls will always hate Jim and what he provides on this site. He reveals things they'd prefer we not see. He has shown this company for what it is - a dying carcass with executive jackals tearing at it's flesh until it's dust.

  27. Historical note: Strikes came before unions. Unions came in to help organize worker unrest and actually help resolve. While they worked both sides of the fence to find compromise, all of the industrial actions in the earlier 1900s inspired. When it was clear corporations were maintaining fine profit levels and compromising work conditions, pay, safety and fair practices only to benefit the top, unions - and the federal gov't were forced to step in. If a company is profitable or it's profitability isn't immediately threatened, penalizing the worker to maintain some artificial, high profit number for the sake of Wall Street can rub. Should oinvestors and top management share more directly int he strerss? Many will say the investor has,but top management may/may not be feeling the pinch in proportion. Perception and reality may be hard to distinguish with the reorg taking place.
    That said, union talk alone should protect Jim from corporate subpoenas for information about this blog. The reasons for inspection would have to pass a much higher bar for a judge to grant the company cause to review in any way beyond in camera. Thoughts on either of these points?

  28. So, the tally so far is 1 for (MyBoss) and 1 against (1/05/2011 5:25pm) regarding USA Today furloughs. 5:25 also seemed to attack MyBoss in their post regarding the current furlough troll?

    So....any further info? I'd rather they just announce them NOW so we can brace for it easier....

  29. Hear us Corporate "Leaders" !!!!!
    Announce what is really going on and what is really going to happen as far as layoffs,
    closing, etc.
    For once...
    and let people know before they read about it.

  30. Would like to know if any laid off worker from Ad Production has tried to file a petion for the Trade Act ? If so was your case denied? Gannett seems to deny that are jobs were eliminated due to outsourcing ads to India 2AdPro.

  31. I have been told no furloughs for USA Today in Q1, but Q2 is possible pending ad revenue in Jan/Feb. Based on paper sizes of 28-32 pages this week, I better go ahead and pick a week.

  32. Way beyond time that someone took over USAT sports and coordinated things company-wide. USAT used to do this, but it has fallen badly behind and the paper's sport section shows it with no late game scores, etc. Corporate realizes they have to save this franchise somehow, and Beusse is the man.

  33. Anyone know where The News-Messenger, Fremont, OH, and the News Herald, Port Clinton, OH, will be printed now that Mansfield is turning off its presses?

  34. Did Mansfield do any outside printing to help cover its costs?

  35. Does Mansfield still print USA TODAY?

  36. Anybody got the inside scoop on who's taking over in the Palm Springs newsroom?

    I fear that decision is being made by a man with a grand total of three months of any connection to print journalism, Desert Sun Publisher Mark Winkler. A person who is very much from the business and advertising side, and that's fine except if you need to decide who would make a good EE.

    I don't know how much, if any, role Rick Green, Laura Hollingsworth, or other USCP honchos are playing in the process.

  37. Many have told us blog readers time and again that there are jobs, better jobs out there in the world beyond Gannett, and that we should get out there and get one. I'll claim to be the first in line out of here, but it's not that easy. I live in one of the highest unemployment states in the country, and competition for jobs where I'd like to relocate several states away is fierce. When I have the same skills as 29 other people who applied and also live within spitting distance, they're not going to hire me. A great many of us would be out the door, and we know there is a better workplace than here, but please stop making it sound so easy.

  38. To answer some questions:

    -- Mansfield does not print USAT and has not printed it for years.
    -- The story in the Mansfield paper does not say where Fremont and Port Clinton will be printed. I assume they found a print shop because Newark would be a 2-hour plus drive every day.
    -- Mansfield did a great deal of outside print work. I assume they will seek to move that work to Newark. Good luck with that because Newark print quality has always been poor compared to Mansfield.

  39. i read on a blog somewhere that yahoo was getting 50% of the sales generated...does anyone know if or how true this is?

  40. 50 percent of the revenues. yes. standard fees for their platform.

  41. Are some small sites not being consolidated to the GPC site, the ad production departments? We have heard a rumor that small sites would not be going. Can anyone confirm this? Is the schedule still on or are they off track? Any information would be appreciated.

  42. What about ad design at weeklies? Are they also being consolidated to GPC too? Don't they, in general, make less than they pay GPC designers? Wouldn't make financial sense to force these low wage employees to lose their jobs in order to have GPC design ads at a higher cost. Or is everybody going????

  43. 5:43PM-If this is true and you work in advertising at a small site. Pray and pray often that you don't have to use the GPC. It's a total cluster.

  44. I just want to say us in the big chairs are doing fine don't worry we will not need to borrow from the minions. You are not our concern you took the jobs now do them or leave.

  45. Layoffs oh Layoffs they may come and only from our chairs do we know when Resume Revision days will begin. Some have been saved again and again. How many times before we say yippee we beat Jim. Keep your eyes and ears posted as we in the big chairs will know well before Jim.

  46. There was a shooting after a Mount Vernon boys basketball game tonight around 6. It's now five hours later and the Journal News has no word on the condition of the victim or any details at all in a typo ridden update posted hours after the shooting. Typical but sad especially since a shooting at a game of one of the country's top high school basketball programs is such a huge story on so many levels.

  47. 11:03 - bring back the "glory" days of Henry M. Freeman? NOT! Still, looks like the Journal News has gone from bad to worse with CinDe now in charge.

  48. Pretty sure it's CinDee not CinDe. I mean, if someone's gonna use a childish gimmick to mask their journalistic shortcomings you may as well spell it right.

  49. 11:19 If you're gonna criticize, then YOU should spell it right. You did not.

  50. Trolls are out in full force which has always been an indicator that:
    something MEGA is about to happen!

  51. This is the first admission that I can remember
    where the top brass actually admitted to the
    press that revenues continue to sink.
    Which probably means that overall,revenue is way down.
    Otherwise it would once again be browsed
    over and covered up for investors to not know about.
    It must be very bad !
    Watch out for much more than furloughs,that
    as in the past,is only the beginning.
    Those without planB

  52. Hey everyone, it's Cyndee!!!!!

    As for Mt. Vernon, heck, the Journal News stopped full-time covering Mt. Vernon quite a while ago. Lack of advertising $s from that community, you see.

    Let's get real here. Quality is not a concern and hasn't been for a long, long time.

  53. 10:03 - So true but even if this shooting happened outside the Journal News building, they probably would have still struggled with reporting the story.

    By the way, it's actually CynDee with a capital "D" I believe. As 7:05 pointed out, that's really the only important thing to worry about here. Amazing.

  54. The cap "D," of course!

    Speaking of the Journal News office - a more isolated corp park location is hard to find in the White Plains area - any word on the status of the building's sale/lease?

    With all the cuts and the shutting of the print plant, there are a lot of bucks being wasted in empty space.

    Maybe the Pokie Journal and the Journal News could find a nice mid-way location and share offices!

  55. Yeah, the Journal News was the only newspaper I ever worked at that wasn't downtown. It seemed odd to me, although it probably made sense given that their geographic coverage area was so big and diverse at the time.

    But they may actually have been ahead of the curve. Look at the AJC. I think a lot of newspapers are going to wind up in suburban office parks over the next decade.

  56. From New Jersey: Supposedly supervisors have been told to not allow furloughs to be taken next week (Jan. 10-14) because of an impending announcement re: layoffs.

  57. @11:34, are you saying possible layoffs just in Jersey or across the board?

  58. 11:34 AM: Is it all papers NJ-wide?

  59. 11:34 here -- all I can speak to is NJ. Dunno about anywhere else. And none of it makes sense. They've been hiring here...

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

  61. Looks like the corp trolls are letting their 12-year-old kids post now, judging from 2:41's comments.

  62. Jim, getting any closer to sharing that Phoenix news?

  63. 3:49 I believe you're referring to something that an anonymous commenter posted. I don't have any Phoenix news of my own to share.

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


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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