An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
How are you feeling today?
I feel like firing some people today. Well at least, that's what corporate says I have to do!
Why would anyone even consider TS, (teflon tony), as publisherfor Westchester. No one I speak to can figure out why he's the last one standing, and wasn't shown the door ages ago. He's done nothing to increase circulation since he arrived except have an encyclopedia of excuses.Perhaps he can post all the reasons why Westchester has lost more than half of its circulation since he arrived. Unfortunately there is Probably not enough available space for all of the excuses.
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Pointroll has had another 5 people leave last week. Now unto over 41 employees voluntarily quit sine beginning of 2011. Obviously a bad referendum on this new management team and Gannett.
8:00,"Bad referendum" for sure! Sounds more like a complete freefall!!
Jim's blog gets another mention at Forbes: "Paid to Fire! How CEO Compensation is wrong"http://blogs.forbes.com/adamhartung/2011/02/25/paid-to-fire-how-ceo-compensation-is-wrong/
The behavior of the employees at Pointroll has been a complete shock to the top managers at Gannett. Typically, people don't leave en masse like this. At its newspapers, Gannett has relied on employees who were dedicated and would never leave regardless of how they were treated. Gannett knew that there were few games in town for people with these skill sets - writers, printers, etc.But in the new age of business, Gannett has failed to realize that this new breed of employee, especially programmers and other internet specialists, will find other work, and quickly if that person does not feel that she is being treated fairly.Replacing that employee can be expensive, both in pay and in time. The disruption to the business can be felt immediately, and can have an impact on revenues. In the traditional newspaper, this has never been the case.This situation does not fit with the Gannett culture. Gracia can not stop the bleeding at Pointroll, because she feels very strongly that everyone can be replaced and that there will not be any business disruption and certainly no impact to the top or bottom line. Maybe in the newspaper or in TV... but not here.
Very interesting point, 9:13. It makes a lot of sense.
7:38AM--Teflon Tony----Extremely well said. I simply cannot understand why he is still there. The circulation in Westchester is non-existent. I speak with several people still working there and it appears to be a on everyone's mind.The person before him was totally clueless, yet Tony has performed even worse. Corporate really has to review what has transpired since he arrived on the scene. In short--it has not been pretty, and alot of very good people have lost their jobs. Simply put---It is not a way to manage or run a paper---anywhere!!!
I meant to refer to 9:18. I always get 9:13 and 9:18 mixed up.
We hear that Dickey is enjoying the issues in digital because now he's not the one in the cross hairs every day.
If the Gannett culture sez that everyone can be replaced, why doesn't the board replace the CEO and President? Could they do any worse?I agree with 9:18. This digital mess is getting bigger by the day. The lack of leadership is affecting the business.How ironic... incredibly, the problems in digital will be what brings down this current administration... and they know it. Wall St. expects revenues in newspapers to decline. When Q1 numbers show a decline in digital revenue, the sell off is going to be huge. Gannett can execute on cutting expenses... no one is doubting that. But when the cutting culture starts to gut the new revenue engine, the whole house of cards comes down.
9:57 failed to bring up one more glaring issue facing the ranks of those in digital. It's the talent.At Pointroll, you're getting internet personnel who are a few rungs down the ladder in terms of talent. One of two things can happen: you get to PR to learn so that you have some experience to move on to a more dynamic company. Or... you don't go there in the first place because you're too talented.Either way, the net impact is significant. Gannett ends up with a revolving door where the best move on or the weaker stay on until they're ready for something better."PointRoll is a fast paced, high energy organization with explosive growth potential. Our clients are advertisers and agencies including over half of the Fortune 500 companies. The people we invest in and reward must be progressive thinkers and day-to-day doers, rather than those that get pulled along. We are always looking for great talent to join our team, but we don’t settle – we only hire the best! PointRoll operates under the “work hard, play hard” philosophy, and all of our hard work is truly rewarded. "Ripple6 dissolved without a peep. I have to wonder what the fate of PR will be.
Please join Gracia Martore, our division presidents and me on Friday, March 4 at 1 p.m. EST for a 30-minute, companywide videocast. We will preview with you an exciting, new initiative our company will launch next week to help further accelerate our transformation and growth efforts. Employees in McLean are welcome to join us in the auditorium on that day. Later this week, Corporate Communications will provide details for accessing the videocast. I look forward to seeing many of you then. Best regards, CraigAny idea what this is about?
It's easy to blame circulation for everything. No one wants to pay for a paper with nothing in it. No one wants to read a paper that has nothing local. No one wants to read a paper that is all ads and no news. You can't dress that up to sell it. That has nothing to do with circulation. Get a grip it's bad out there but don't cannibalize each other.
One big complaint I have about Gannett's business model, or at least their execution of it, is that they have their objectives reversed - at least from a consumer advocacy point of view (which is paramount in my opinion). I suppose it works alright from an investor point of view (in the short term at least).Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm sure all of you gannettoids (former and current) have experienced this process:When anyone within the organization sets out to create a new product, it seems to me that most always the initial question is: "how can we get more advertising in front of our readers?" To me this is ridiculous, and will be the end of Gannett.As all great, successful companies do (think google), the first question should always be "what does our audience want/need?" or "how can we make this product practical and useful for our customers?" Gannett should not concern themselves with advertising when initially approaching a new product; first make sure you have a great product that your readers WANT to consume. Once you have that, your only obstacle will be trying to accommodate all of the advertisers that want a piece of that pie. Rather than making some half-assed product and spending all of your time trying to sell it to the advertisers who are rightfully skeptical.Just look at sites like Youtube, or facebook. In the beginning the creators of those sites never set out to make money on advertising, they set out to create websites that people would want to use... now look at them. Completely backwards from gannett's style of "innovation" (e.g. momslikeme)
Re: PointRoll and digital. Newspaper companies dipping their toes into digital waters gradually without investing any substantial effort or resources "is turning out to be a slow-motion train wreck." -- http://gigaom.com/2011/02/28/memo-to-newspapers-incremental-change-is-not-helping/
Well said, 12:22. One would think it obvious, but sadly it might as well be rocket science to Gannett. Content drives circulation, not ads, but they've got it completely backwards. Circulation, due to content, then drives ads. And with some few-and-far-between occasional exceptions, Gannett products have no content anymore.
Actually 12:53, advertising is news too. In fact, the “news” advertising brings to consumers is often far more impactful and valuable to them than the AP copy and shrinking number of stories being written today. If you need further proof, go ask circulators what drives Sunday paper sales…hint: coupons. The profits derived from distributing them is also why Gannett launched Sunday Select (Sunday coupons without the news). Too many in newspapers forget, let alone even recognize the important roles advertising plays. And, here’s another, it helps to stimulate local economic growth. The better businesses do, the more jobs they ultimately create.
Let the cutting accelerate. In Gannett's race to the bottom, everybody loses (except shorts like me.)
3:06 pm - I don't think 12:53 was debating if advertising is valuable to consumers - clearly it is - but was instead asking why GCI hasn't tried to innovate around consumer wants and needs instead of advertiser wants and needs.I agree with 12:53, Gannett's failing is that they have lost sight of the fact that their business can not exist without active and engaged CONSUMERS first. Instead, Gannett is constantly trying to chase advertisers when all advertisers really want are consumers. If Gannett focused on creating compelling consumer products first, then they would find a supportive advertiser base along the way.Look at Groupon - this is a compelling consumer product built around delivering advertising, but the CONSUMER came first. Groupon was built around being a great consumer experience and, as a result, has delivered great value to its many local advertisers.For all of its chatter about being "customer-centric" GCI has failed to realize that the only customer that really matters is the consumer. Maybe they can't see this because they operated in monopoly-like businesses for so many years? Whatever the reason, failing to recognize this basic truth is why Gannett is poised to fail in an era where the consumer clearly rules.
3:06 is correct. When Gannett's Little Rock paper lost all advertising from major advertiser Dillard's, it lost more than revenue; it lost readers who could not find information about the department store's sales events.
Advertising is not news. Daily coupons can be downloaded from the internet. Food Circulars are easy to get without buying a newspaper. Retail Stores are email blasting discounts several times a day to their regular customers. I get email blasts all day from the stores I shop in and some I don't.
You need stories, journalism, local content, things people are interested in. Not canned garbage. You get he eyeballs and you get advertisers. It used to be that way before the news corps stopped wanting to pay reporters, editors, etc.
I forgot Facebook. You can follow your favorite retailer on FB and get your link to sales and discounts.
….and local, national and world news can be obtained without newspapers for free anytime of the day too 3:50. Frankly, your attitude plays in to why newspapers struggle. It reminds me of a publisher who expressed an attitude similar to yours with peers a number of years ago. She believed she’d beat their competition by focusing on great news content alone. Her competitor won the local advertisers, others followed...the long-story short is she lost because of what you too deny. Her loss is not unique.Again, ask circulators what the loss of coupons and grocers alone means. Ask your ad management or publisher (if you still have one) how much more difficult it is to sell other advertisers in their absence and why.If you can, sit in on a focus group and ask if they discern any real difference between news about a local fire or news of a sale event in an ad that saves them a lot of money. You’ll be surprised; my editors were.
5:39 -- I think they're both important. You really can't have one without the other. Ads support the paper, but most people read the paper for the news, and hence, eye the ads.
Newspaper Giants Exempt From Ad RecoveryWhile overall ad spending enjoyed a modest recovery in 2010, that did not extend to newspaper publishers, which suffered another round of declines (albeit smaller than previous ones) in the fourth quarter of the year. http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=145678&nid=124197
Obviously clogging up your front page, wrapping your news with a auto wrap, selling ads on page 2, all those tricks doesn't work. If it did the circulation would be up not down. You need great content with some great ads. You might get better ad clients paying more money if the stories were better. I watched the paper go into the tubes. Greedy Top level looking for more ads, more ads, fire the great journalists, sell more crappy ads. Till all you have his crappy ads. Keep turning over the sales staff creates no relationship with the clients. That creates No future.
I know people who buy newspapers for the ads, in spite of the Internet. It is easier to clip out the ads in the newspaper than deal with Internet sites, where you get ads so you can find the ad with the coupons on it. My sister-in-law has absolutely zero interest in the news, but buys the paper and pours over the ads. So don't tell me ads don't sell newspapers.
Look at the surveys, and you see why people buy newspapers. As much as the newsroom might think otherwise, some readers buy their newspapers just to impress the neighbors. Some buy for the coupons. The percentage that get their newspapers for news varies according to the survey, but has driven the academic idea that content really doesn't matter. If you count up the inches in a paper, you might be surprised to learn the average is about 27 percent to locally generated news.
I appreciate the efforts of the HR team in Cincinnati to seem relevant, but posting jobs to Craigslist just feels desperate.http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/mar/2235388900.html
LOL @ DogsLikeMe.com
Advertisements aren't always about selling a consumer a product. Many ads in our community are informational: promoting cancer walks, chili cook-offs, and other social benefits. Support groups, churches, schools, museums--these are regular advertisers in our paper. The newspaper is the only resource in my community that gathers all these happenings in one convenient spot.
Just wonder if all papers have their sales staff rewarded with prizes for selling ads?
Was there any mention on this blog about Detroit's new employee/reader contest called IdeaQuest 2011? If not, go to Crain's Detroit Business and read about it here:http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20110222/STAFFBLOG03/110229959/struggling-detroit-newspapers-unveil-idea-contest-amid-continued-financial-circulation-woes#
Indeed, I posted on that last Tuesday here.
I get more local events, bake sales, parent events meetings, etc., from the local weekly paper. I love the local weekly. It has more information about what's happening in my neighborhood then the Press. I get all my coupons online, print them and no newsprint. Each new generation will be getting their information/coupons online where they get everything else.
I have to make a couple of comments although I never worked for Gannett. However, I did work for a number of years for several competitors to the Des Moines Register.Even though I considered Register reporters as competitors, many became my friends. For the most part those excellent reporters are no longer there.I also considered the Register one of the better managed newspapers of its type in the U.S. Iowans, in general, took pride in their house ad that in big BOLD print congratulated the New York Times - and then went on to explain that at that time the Times was the only paper in the U.S. that could claim more Pulitzer prizes.Then, Gannett took over and all of that is long gone. In the past month I have missed two of four Sunday papers. My workplace has missed delivery of multiple papers. It doesn't even really help to report the problems anymore since on most days the "problem" number is not even answered until after 10 a.m. (What the heck? If you run a morning service you need a morning problem number.)What other paper puts its legislative columnist on furlough during the legislative session? In fact, we are facing some of the same legislative issues as Wisconsin and it seemed like most of the Register's legislative reporters were gone last week.I now get a weekly advertiser than is bigger than my Monday and Tuesday Register combined and my hometown weekly puts the Register to shame for "breaking" news. If I want state-wide breaking news of any import, I now use my web access to go to the Cedar Rapids Gazette or the Omaha World Herald.I've been watching the comments here for a long time and while you can discuss management styles, newsprint costs, labor costs and executive compensation, none of that matters. It all comes down to what are you doing for the customer? If you are doing something for them, they will stick by you.I believe the Gannett leadership needs to learn that.In case anyone thinks I am going after the worker-bees, for the most part I am not although I am sure there are a few out there that should be slapped silly. But it does appear to anyone familiar with the news industry that Gannett doesn't care about the news which is what we customers buy it for. They care only about their bottom line. If they aren't careful, there will be none of us out here to provide them with a bottom line. My subscription is up for renewal the end of March. Right now there is little debate on what I will do.Good luck to you all.
Anonymous said... westchester site after all the dust settle and aftermath. tony simmons still leading canidate for PRESIDENT and PUBLISHER at the Joural Newpapers at the westchester site.
Why do local sites have a "president"..... get rid of the B.S. titles.
UnemployedBloggersLikeMe.comoh, wait ... already taken
Anyone know anything about Judi Dorsey? She is now HR director at The News Journal in Wilmington, Del.
Is My Boss really gone? Was it Fisch?
On February 23, 2011, The Tennessean and Gannett terminated more positions within the company, while the victims of these terminations, including myself, were in the last week(s) of furlough.In my case, this present furlough, cost me hundreds of dollars in lost income over the last four week period, not to mention the income lost in the past three furloughs. My last present day of furlough was to be March 11th, 2011In a January memo from Gannett, all employees were notified that furloughs would, again, be necessary to avoid layoffs and position terminations, but as is the new standard at The Tennessean, things change on a daily basis.In the past, Gannett and The Tennessean have made every effort to disclose this information, to the public when mass furloughs, layoffs and terminations are involved, but in this instance, the company has kept this event quiet. No self reporting that I’ve been able to find.I personally witnessed five employees, in different departments, not including myself, packing up and leaving the building before 10:00 AM CST on the 23rd. I can only assume that locally, and company wide, there were many, many more jobs lost on that day, as on days in the past years.I can confidently submit that the news of these terminations, combined with past events, came as a shock, like none before, to many employees of The Tennessean, both in advertising and reporting. Every employee I spoke with is frightened for their future and aggressively seeking employment elsewhere. In other words, the fear created by the fourth floor (management) of The Tennessean, and the positive spin the third floor (advertising) puts on every negative, is resulting in a tug of war of emotions between all concerned. My dad, a successful Nashville business owner, once told me when I was young, “son, if those around you don’t trust you, you’re doomed to fail unless you listen to them, respect them and find a way to earn their trust.” The Tennessean and Gannett are not doomed to fail anytime soon because they still earn a fortune in profits, these profits earned in large part with sacrifices made from hundreds of employees. I truly believe in our free market system that encourages profits earned by innovation and trust and I’m aware that companies must make hard decisions regarding the survival of the company to protect the company and its employees, however, Gannett and The Tennessean seem to be on collision course with greed. This greed will cost thousands of jobs in the end and nobody wins.
I'm unsure if this is where I can ask a question? I've been on the internet for 2 hours now looking for someone to contact , a number an email anything ,lol & NO luck! Anyways I live in a large apartment complex in michigan & I have lived her 2 years about! We have always received the "yes, your esstential shopper" Sunday paper, (the one in the pink bags) I don't even know if that is one of your papers, but regardless! My issue is I have not received the paper in 3 weeks, before that it was 2 weeks, so basically its like a week on, 3 weeks off, 1 week on, 4 weeks off, ect! Last time I consistanly got it was over 6 months ago! Any suggestions, tips? I've even signed up for opt/in several times!! :( I am a stay at home mom trying to squeeze dollars from pennys with the coupons & in my eyes if I can save that $2 every Sunday, that adds up really fast while feeding my family!! Thank you for any help I would greatly appreciate anything u can offer me! Thx
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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