Saturday, March 05, 2011

Feb. 28-March 6 | Your News & Comments: Part 6

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  1. For Part 5 of this comment thread, please go here.

  2. I do not believe I have noted this previously:

    It appears Gannett received less than $97 million when it sold The Honolulu Advertiser to its cross-town rival in May 2010. I found that figure today in the 10-Q report filed last summer with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

    I do not know other terms of the sale, including whether the buyer assumed any debt, which would have made the deal even more valuable to Gannett.

    I was looking for the sale price today after seeing a story that gave a somewhat higher figure: $106 million.

  3. Has anyone seen the instructions Corporate has given newspapers on placement of the phrase "A Gannett Newspaper" on Page One?

    I'm told the instructions may include guidelines on minimum type size; proximity to the flag, and white space.

    I'd surely love to see that memo, in .pdf or whatever format it's been created.

    As always, I'm at jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot-com]

  4. The corporate website still has the old logo. Nice job rebranding GMC losers!

    Robin Pence's spent over $2.5mm just to figure the tagline! No wonder they didn't do the website, they ran out of money!

  5. @7:06 - In yesterday's call it was stated that the new branding was to be rolled out on Monday. I suspect that on Monday the website will have the change. I think your criticism is a bit premature.

  6. It's supposed to roll out on Monday? I must have missed that during my nap.

  7. Thank you Robin for the clarification...Dime a minute!

  8. Pointroll employees are leaving in droves! Tube mogul, Yahoo, flashtalking and GSI commerce are hiring and it is concerning Gannett that pointroll cannot keep it's employees. Bad news over here. February' revenue numbers severely missed plan and look like 2008 numbers!

  9. 7:33 here. Definitely not Robin. Wish I was Robin, or at least receiving her pay check. Not everyone who doesn't jump on the band wagon to slam every move/word from the company is a troll.

    I can prove I'm not Robin. http://gannett.gci

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  11. jim: i think this rebranding is a wise move on gci's behalf, although it appears aimed at shareholders. it's letting folks know that gci is more than a publishing company. what say you?
    -- a two-time florida contributor

  12. The rebranding is meaningless for shareholders. If they have done their homework, they already know GCI's holdings. My guess is that management is trying to send a message that the company has changed and is catching up with modern trends. It's a statement, but the NYTimes seems to do okay with the old all the news that's fit to print slogan.

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  14. Who else but Gannett would spend so much time, energy and money creating something that does so little.
    I close my eyes and see GCI's brass quibbling over a new logo as its holdings continue to muddle along without clear goals or plans on how to reach those goals. It's like giving a gum drop to someone who's on the verge of starvation.
    Sadly, this logo thing shows how ill-equipped GCI leaders are for the challenge they face. We deserve better from them. So do stockholders.

  15. Well,
    Really great news for all the smaller newspapers
    that have done their best to dis-associate themselves from the Gannett Corporate giant image.
    As one poster said earlier,the small papers have tried very hard to maintain a smalltown and local image.
    If they are now forced to use the Gannett brand and in a prominent place on front page
    that will be hard to disguise.Yes, great idea,
    let the small local advertisers who may not have known the ownership situation be completely informed and pushed into their face.
    There goes more revenue .
    Great time for small ,local start-ups.

  16. There were 100 pages of directions with this bullshit. This is a bunch of crap. It means nothing. Someone who was paid a lot of money came up with this stupid, do nothing idea. What the hell is this idea going to do? Bring in more revenue? NO! Some overpaid corporate drone sat there at a conference table came up with this, and the idiots sitting there with him/her shouted YES!, started jumping up and down like a bunch of chimpanzees, I can see it now. It is the most asinine, wasteful, ridiculous, STUPID, childish, OMG F**KING RETARDED NONSENSE! THE GODDAMN EMPEROR IS F**CKING NAKED YOU TURDS! SOMEBODY HAVE THE BALLS TO TELL THEM! Oh, and they treated this WITH THE HIGHEST IMPORTANCE! STATE SECRETS! SOMEONE MIGHT TELL! THE CIA MIGHT GET WIND OF IT. NATIONAL SECURITY YOU KNOW! THE MIDDLE EAST MIGHT HEAR OF IT! WAIT, JUST THINK HOW THIS COULD AFFECT OIL PRICES, OUR LOCAL NEWSPAPERS TO HAVE A GANNET COMPANY UNDER THEIR OWN LOGO IN SMALL LETTERS! GASP! THE HORROR! So freaking ridiculous. So childish. It makes me want to puke. IT DOESN'T KEEP ME FROM LOSING MY JOB IN THE NEAR FUTURE, NOW DOES IT!
    DISGUSTED in the south.

  17. It would be nice if, every now and then, one of these big pronouncements from the Crystal Palace had something to do with journalism. Maybe even if Kate Marymont, vice president of news, surfaced once in a while.

    You'd think that eventually Dubow, Martore and those other overpaid bozos would realize that all their marketing schemes mean nothing when there is no product left to market. Unless, that is, they consider a few pages of ads with no meaningful editorial content an actual product.

  18. Changing the corporate logo is the second-best CEO ego trip ever. The first, of course, is building a new headquarters building. But the Crystal Palace was already there. What I really want to know is will the new logo appear on top of HQ by Monday? All the internal building signs were taken down Friday, and will presumably have the new logo come Monday.

  19. Jim, we're all glad you're here, but why are you so easy on USA Today? I hate to keep bugging you, but you must have more than one question for John Hillkirk and Susan Weiss. I confess, I probably couldn't think of even one for Rudd Davis, but he's not really in the picture here.

    How about these:

    Why was USA Today a full 20 to 30 minutes behind other national online news services in getting news up about the Tucson shootings? (News heard a lot about this in the days after, and it's the direct result of breakdowns created by the Transformation.)

    Apart from cosmetic redesigns, what do you intend to do with to finally make it a more user-friendly site and rid yourself of the clutter and terrible search features? (This has been a persistent complaint from readers for as long as I can remember.)

    There is a sense that you are ghetto-izing the staff. Why are the newspaper/online teams are withering while resources and new hires are being poured into the verticals?

    Why are you creating two separate entities instead of bringing veteran news staffers into the vertical plan? Is it because many of us reject Hunke's vision of fusing journalism with advertising and you want new staffers who won't raise those ethics issues?

    As editors, where would you tell David Hunke the line is between advertising being inserted into news copy? The Family Fitness challenge that was sponsored by Nintendo Wii involved documenting a family's "exercise" using the Nintendo Wii. If that's not a violation of the reader's trust, then what is?

    What would you tell your publisher is a line he cannot cross in terms of "monetizing" (his word) the news copy, or is everything up for grabs?

    In August, David Hunke lifted the wage freeze --supposedly -- saying he didn't want to lose talent. In that time, you have lost multiple top reporters, photo staff, and editors. Competent replacements (as opposed to a flood of college kid applications) have been difficult to find. Why is USA Today having difficulty staying competitive?

    If the wage freeze has been lifted, who in editorial has been rewarded for their good work and contributions to the report? Anyone?

    You did away with the monthly staff meetings. You did away with the Hainer. You have been widely criticized for not responding to staff concerns and being a non-presence in the larger newsroom. What are you doing to engage with the staff and invite new ideas and innovation?

    After three years of a wage freeze, regular furloughs, regular layoffs, and non-communication from the executive level, morale is at all time lows. Regardless, journalists take pride in their work, and do their best out of a sense of professionalism. How long do you think that will hold-out as more of them express increasing frustration with the editorial neglect, absentee management and financial pain Gannett is inflicting on them?

    For years, USA Today's publisher rested on his laurels because the newspaper's No. 1 circulation was due to free copies of newspapers distributed at hotel rooms. When the economy collapsed, so did business travel. The Wall Street Journal, under Rupert Murdoch's new leadership, became much more aggressive. As a result, USA Today shed hundreds of thousands from its daily circulation. What are five examples of things USA Today is doing now to create want-to-see from readers and make them seek out (as opposed to receive for free) the newspaper?

  20. Today's question: What qualifies Robin Pence to be anything more than a high paid corporate spokesperson? She has no ad or marketing background. According to her linked in bio, she spent the bulk of her career flacking for AES, essentially a power company.

  21. I think its time to bring Charlie Sheen in. He actually makes more sense these days than most of Gannett managers that spoke about the branding campaign Friday. This isn't GE. THis isn't BP. We don't need an image campaign. We need leaders with concrete ideas. We need ad sales staffers that can actually sell ads. We need senior editors who lead and interact, not hide in their offices all day.

  22. 3:22 Thank you. I'm not trying to shirk my responsibilities. Having said that, I'm more interested in the questions you and your colleagues would ask. You have provided an excellent start right here.

    What questions do other USATers have?

  23. -----I think its time to bring Charlie Sheen in.

    Exactly. Forget "within reach." Gannett needs Tiger Blood!

  24. Let's see:

    •News 2000
    •Real life, real news.
    •Moments of life.
    •Local, local.
    •And now, "It's all within reach."

    Weren't all these past efforts huge successes? It's unfortunate that we have grown so cynical about corporate journalism. Try a little positive thinking on your next furlough.

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  26. How about this one: If advertising doesn't turn around, have you considered taking USAT online only? Justaskin'

  27. You know, Gannett is so goal oriented when it comes to budget and revenue streams,and pays so very little attention to the product and the
    journalism and serving the communities you would think they are an investment firm rather
    than publisher.
    Their Mission Statement and true Vision of the
    company should be profit at all costs and failure is not an option.
    Producing as much revenue with the very minimal amount of a workforce is the main OBJECTIVE
    to achieve those successes.
    This being said,and we all know it's very much the reality,why write about journalistic integrity here on this blog as something Gannett cares about ,if they did care wouldn't
    this be the main and true #1 priority in meetings and planning sessions? Instead they come up with trivial logo and branding ideas
    that you would expect from a new start-up publisher still trying everything to get name
    recognition out there.
    Think about it, if you were in charge of a corp
    in dire need of new revenue and an altruistic, new journalistic image ,would the first and very expensive at that, thing you do is create a new freaking LOGO ,damn what a bunch of fools!
    May we all find new employment this year and get the hell away these no nothing leaders

  28. Gannett "brand" strategy is a joke and they blew it. Gannett is a company, not a brand. It's not going to hurt them but it's not going to help either. What would have been bolder, smarter and more helpful is this: Rebrand all Gannett newspapers under the USA TODAY brand i.e. USA TODAY Arizona Republic or Arizona Republic, part of the USA TODAY Network. USA TODAY would provide national and world news for each of the papers, like they are already doing for many. Advertising could sell the USA TODAY network. USA TODAY IS a brand, Gannett is not. Wall St. Journal couldn't do it, NYT couldn't do it, but USA TODAY could...have.

  29. BINGO 12:10pm - well said - BRAVO!!!

  30. Apparently, the GCI brass has nothing better else to do than come up with this crap. Think of all the jobs that could have been saved in lieu of this. Two to three months from now, this won't work, and it won't change the world. What's next, changing the flags and changing the logo in flashing colored lights outside of Crystal Palace? TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY.

  31. If you don't mind, Jim.
    I'd like to make a dedication.
    To the big wienies steering that ship we call Gannett:

    Let THEM eat Cake.

  32. The new branding was rolled out so that it will be the *highlight* of this year's annual meeting.

  33. Is Crystal Palace handing out free travel mugs with the new logo on Monday???

  34. Hey Jim, can you take down @6:30. Doesn't seem right to get people's kids involved. Even harmlessly. Thanks.

  35. I don't know about travel mugs, but I'll take it if they offer it.

    One thing you wouldn't know unless you were in McLean for the meeting Friday: Afterwards, they served these really awesome chocolate cupcakes that had little paper flags with the new logo. They were really, really delicious.

  36. 9:05 I thought of that, too. But it's already in print in a local publication, and he cooperated as you can see from the family picture in the series of pictures with the story.

  37. Found it funny that it was commented on by one of the board that they were sorry that there weren't enough seats and that maybe a lot of folks thought it was a different kind of announcement - is there any other kind of "announcement" up there in McLean ???


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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