Thursday, February 24, 2011

USAT | How they'll justify Hunke's seven-figure pay

Second in a series of posts highlighting passages from the annual 10-K report, which Gannett filed yesterday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Many USA Today employees can be forgiven if they don't understand where Publisher Dave Hunke is taking the 28-year-old daily, which is GCI's most visible brand. This is from Corporate's list of things it accomplished last year:

"Reorganized USA Today to transform it from a newspaper brand to a media company focusing on efficient, compelling delivery of news and information across multiple platforms, and aligning all business activities in ways that fulfill the needs of consumers and marketers in unique and progressive ways. Content verticals were launched in the areas of Travel, Your Life, Personal Finance and Diversions to create deep, relevant information presented in a vibrant style in the heritage of the USA Today brand. Early results have shown significant growth in audience in these content areas. The USA Today Sports Media Group was also created and designed to oversee and coordinate business strategy for national sports initiatives across all of Gannett, including USA Today, as well as Gannett’s community of newspaper properties, television stations, and"

Corporate will disclose Hunke's total 2010 pay in the annual shareholders' proxy report, expected next month. In 2009, he got paid $1.9 million, which included a $355,000 cash bonus.


  1. I can't find the verticals for Personal Finance and Diversions, both of which this 10-K says have already been launched. Can someone point us to the correct links?

  2. The 10-K also notes: "The YourLife vertical was launched in November 2010 and generated 2.5 million page views in its first month."

    Does that seem low, given all the promotion Your Life received?

  3. Its not only the number of page views that are suspect. Where are the ad dollars? What has Heather Frank and her crew of high paid managers generated? Why have they gone through two GMs and looking for a third? Why does Frank need a GM for each new vertical?

  4. Your Life is the land of old news. Today's lede item, for example, is a retread piece on how moderate drinking may enhance your health. How many times have we seen that over the years? The people running Your Life seem to have little regard for the readers' intelligence, since they regularly run ancient items like that one. And they don't seem to understand that if you can't engage a reader at the first or second click, you've lost him or her.

  5. These verticals have landed with a huge THUD in the ad community. No one cares.

    And since Personal Finance hasn't launched yet, I doubt we can brag about increased traffic there.

    This transformation has been much ado about nothing.


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