Thursday, March 03, 2011

Feb. 28-March 6 | Your News & Comments: Part 4

Can't find the right spot for your comment? Post it here, in this open forum. Real Time Comments: parked here, 24/7. (Earlier editions.)


  1. For Part 3 of this comment thread, please go here.

  2. As a previous posters said:
    Your postings here cannot be tracked by Gannett!
    Stop being afraid that you will be fired.
    Get some ba... and guts and post!
    There is no way to better track Gannett back stabbing than here. Let the stock holders know how bad it is.Let the bonus takers know that they can't make a move without the Gannett surfs
    knowing about it.I am a former employ,but
    my best friend works at a weekly and the layoffs
    are not being reportedhere and certainly not in their own papers. It is worse than the numbers here show,there is no doubt.
    So post what you know! And don't be AFRAID !

  3. Has the Des Moines hub gone live?
    Our weekly looks different,so I am wondering if the previous composers are gone.

  4. A month or so ago on this blog someone posted that the MNCO (small Ohio dailies) presses were being shut down this week in Mansfield and that Mansfield and Bucyrus were to be printed at Newark. Mansfield had printed other MNCO dailies. Curious where the latter, particularly Fremont and Port Clinton, are now being printed. If either gets much smaller, the job probably could be handled by Staples.

  5. Hey 8:54, you are right. Those cash-draining miserable Ohio papers have shrunk in size and certainly circulation.

    Part of the problem is the pitiful excuse for upper management at all the papers there. Remember, Chillicothe is the paper that embarrassed Gannett with its "bitch" full-page ad mistake last year, among its many goofs.

    Most of these papers are 8 pages most days. Very sad

  6. I wonder if Tom Donovan is going to raise everyone's pay at the Journal News to boost their morale?

    Come on Tom, show some leadership, show corporate that you're willing to spread a little Gannett largess.

    Then again, maybe you could go for a diamond in the Prez's ring. Impress corporate by hiring back some of those laid off folks, at half of their previous pay. If you can convince them to get back into the harness you'll have them under your thumb forever!

  7. Here's something we all talk about at USA Today. Who is running this place? Hillkirk only wants to lead a spin class at Healthworks. Is there a more out of touch editor at any major publication? What are his major initiatives, canceling the monthly staff meeting, eliminating the Hainer, which was flawed but at least SOME communication, and sitting mute on all major news decisions and meetings presided over by Hunke? Think about it. When was the last time at one of those meetings where Hillkirk said anything?

    Is his only claim to fame coming up with the euphemism of "The Transformation"? What editor institutes massive change without even talking to his staff. If he says anything to us it is through a rare email, sliding it under the door and scampering away like a prison guard delivering dinner to Hannibal Lecter. It's like he's afraid of us or just ashamed.

    All his team has done is create a lot of redundancies while leaving other gaping holes in the production of the paper and website. His defenders say he's "shy"? What journalist is SHY? Let alone one who rises to a top position at a natinal paper!!! Come on John, wake up!

    Chet Czarniak is in charge? Susan Weiss? What we in News keep asking is Who is actually the power here? It seems to change on a regular basis. Or are they all unconscious at the wheel?

  8. 10:09 - so you have absent leadership in edit? Join the club! It seems to be part of the Gannett management training. He fits right in.

  9. @ 10:09: Judging from Dubow's remarkable ability to say absolutely nothing in 377 words worth of cliche-loaded memo as posted by Jim this week, I'd say no one is in charge and no one wants to be. Why disrupt the gravy train when doing nothing (except destroying products via job eliminations) and collecting fat bonuses seems to be working for the C-suiters?

    What's interesting is that no one seems to be picking up upon the prior prediction, posted many months ago here, that GCI's top money-making print publication was being dismantled and would eventually be tossed to the scrap heap. This prediction appears to be emerging more as reality, given recent internal directives. While many posters on this blog belittle the publication's editorial worth (which is besides the point here), no one could deny its performance as a financial bulldog for the company for many, many years.

    Given the combination of Dubow's utter inarticulation of anything worthwhile in memos like he just delivered and the mind-bogglingly inept management of once highly profitable properties, why aren't shareholders absolutely outraged at this point? Why are he and his enablers constantly allowed to be supported by a do-nothing board of directors who are clearly not working in the best interest of the stock/company, as demonstrated by Jim's excellent research on the stock performance compared to industry peers?

    Jim, who remains as the top investors in this pathetic organization and have they voiced anything at all about the current 'leadership'?

  10. Is it true that Dubow is an android?

  11. Dubow is not an android...He is an empty blue suit,

    Dubow is not an android...He is an ..............................................................

  12. @ 8:54: Mansfield, Marion and Bucyrus will be printed in Newark starting Sunday. Port Clinton and Fremont are being printed outside the company, but I can't recall where. Chillicothe, which was being printed in Newark, now will mostly be printed in Cincinnati.

    Page production stays in Newark and Mansfield until it moves to the Louisville hub sometime next year.

    @9:56: With as thin as MNCO's staffing has become thanks to layoffs over the last few years and with as low as the pay is, I'm not sure how the group can be much of a cash drain.

    But I will agree that 8-page papers are sad.

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

  14. If he says anything to us it is through a rare email, sliding it under the door and scampering away like a prison guard delivering dinner to Hannibal Lecter. It's like he's afraid of us or just ashamed.

    LOL- you had me rolling! Should come to the Crystal Palace in McLean, where this is standard behavior by the ones that are working from offices.

    I like your comparison. Yeah, shy, my behind: Is this now another word for just plain RUDE????? ROFL!

  15. Rude and crude are what Gannett managers are trained to be...No one in this company should have to look far to find a classic example of a rude and crude Gannett president's ring winner.

    Things could be worse, though. Imagine if Bob Collins was still at the helm in New Jersey! There would be no beating around the proverbial bush. The cuts would have doubled if it meant more cash in his corner.

  16. Is it true that "My Boss Said" is no longer with the company? Was it because of his/her postings on this site?

  17. I am having problems with my Gannett Blog filter.

    I tried to set it so that I would see relevant news items about the Gannett Co. -- but filter out any self-pity, character assassination, baseless speculation, envy, self-congratulation, free-floating sarcasm, whining, bitching and moaning.

    This appears not to be working well.

  18. Yikes. Maybe it's time for a vacation.

    I had a dream the other night during which I was talking to Gracia Martore in her office. She was telling me that she disliked most of what I did on this blog, but not everything. Then Robin Pence suddenly came around the corner, and Martore and I quit talking.

    I wonder what a dream analysis would show?

  19. Did you just out Martore as a source?

  20. 9:56 & 11:04 am - I heard that Fremont and Port Clinton were going to be printed in Findlay. Not sure who or what is in Findlay (not a Gannett site), but that's what I heard.
    The press transition was to be effective March 7th. So, MNCO will be adding more numbers to the layoff spreadsheet (but I don't know the final total).
    Sorry I can't be more informative, but the beauty of this site is that we can all take all of these small pieces of information and get the big picture.

  21. Huffington Post Contributors Go on 'Strike'

    By: Tim Kenneally | The Wrap

    Published: March 03, 2011

    The best things in life are free?

    Maybe not so much anymore for Arianna Huffington and the Huffington Post, now that she's got AOL money.

    "Umbrella art publishing company" Visual Art Source (aka ArtScene), which had been contributing content to the Huffington Post gratis since 2010, has now declared a strike on the site and is refusing to furnish the site with further material.

    Moreover, they're calling on other HuffPo contributors who've provided free material to join them in the strike.

  22. Maybe if Gannett management was not the ass-kissing, self-serving bunch it is there would be less venom on this site.

    Too many people have been screwed by Gannett for their to be many smiling faces.

    News about the company; if you've got it, let's see it.

  23. It's hard to take many of the anti-management comments seriously, folks. I am former worker bee of Gannett. Glad to be gone. And, I dislike Gannett's approach to cut people to save profit, even if I understand it. But, for those on here who lump all of management into one big, bad, uncaring pile of crap, it is you who have missed the boat of understanding, reason and logic.

    One poster above said that Gannett trains its managers to be "rude and crude." Give me a break. During my time in Gannett, the managers I had were not a perfect bunch. Some were lazy, one was particularly mean, and all of them held information pertinent to the well-being of employees close the vest. But, a vast majority of them were also good people who treated me and my colleagues well. If Gannett trains its managers to be "rude and crude" than that professional development tool was left out of my site.

    I am not here to say that management is all good. There are some who are not, at every site. But, to lump every one of them into one category is ignorant of reality and human nature. I understand people are hurting right now. I know many feel downgraded, unappreciated and taken advantage of. I know it's hard to watch pay cuts and layoffs come when the upper brass is taking big bonuses (which should be discontinued during these times IMO). But, to an outsider with no dog in the fight, your comments blasting management seem to point out that one of Gannett's ultimate failings was the hiring people who are unable to see fiction from reality, who make blanket statements about large groups of people and who have let bitterness and rage take over logic and reason.

    Your attacks on management are just as "rude and crude" as management's coordinated attacks on Jim.

    This blog is useful in many ways and I enjoy reading it. But, at times it's hard to feel sorry for many of you on here just as it's hard to believe that management is doing a good job ushering a new era to a once proud company.

  24. Jim, dreaming about Martore must've been like having a nightmare!

  25. Will be interesting who has the courage to post an update on Dubow's "townhall" meeting tomorrow.

  26. How about some perspective Jim? What is your take on the editorial leadership at USAT?

  27. Do you have names from Green Bay? What about Appleton?

  28. Jim - if you're going to provide perspective on the editorial leadership at USAT, please also include all senior management. I respect your opinion.

  29. 2:34 - you don't have to train for rude and crude managers. Simply hire's cheaper and they bring their own.

  30. 3:41 and 4:51 It's been three years since I left USAT, so I don't have any recent, direct experience with senior management.

    Having said that, I would very much like to have a candid discussion with the publisher, Dave Hunke; senior editors John Hillkirk and Susan Weiss, plus the new vice president for business development, Rudd Davis. I do not think that will happen, however.

  31. Thanks for the post 2:34 p.m. You took the words right out of my mouth. I am a "worker bee," as you put it, at a Gannett site. It's hard to see so many colleagues who I respect being shown the door, or demoted, or devalued by the nature of this economic downturn and the seemingly heartless ways Gannett is handling it. And, the bonuses that Jim reports on make me very angry. But, there are some very good people in the management ranks at my site whose personalities and demeanor don't fit the one-size-fits-all approach some posters here adopt when describing "management." Like you said, if management is trained to be "crude and rude" or, as 4:52 p.m. stated, they are hired that way, it sure hasn't played out that way at my site.

    With that said, there are definitely bad apples within our site's management structure, but they are the exception rather than the norm.

  32. @6:50: agree. my managers are concerned about staff reductions. they have compassion and want to save as many jobs as possible. Two of the three folks let go from the newsroom last week had it coming. They made statements/decisions that made it easy for the EE to decide whom to let go. Also, mangers understand the added responsibilites of the people left behind. Managers are not the heartless folks many describe on this blog. Sure, some may be, but let's not condemn all.

  33. Anonymous said... Heir Apparent tony simmons ready to take charge as Publisher at westchester site LOOK OUT.

  34. I know it's hard to watch pay cuts and layoffs come when the upper brass is taking big bonuses (which should be discontinued during these times IMO).

    You bet it is: With the money stops the fun. I myself have nothing but disdain for this particular group of people.

    Show me just one initiative these so-called supervisors did? Just one. Instead meetings upon meetings, and then just another meeting. Or mysterious memos that really don't announce anything.

    Or the DIG? Now it has come so far to milk the brains of the worker bees in order to come up with ideas? Reward: $250.00. Is this a joke? Well, the DIG was dismantled really fast, because for once the worker bees saw what this was about: Idea-stealing at warehouse prices. LOL!

    Yes, once upon a time this company was great to work for. There were supervisors that cared and actually had fabulous ideas and knew how to inspire their co-workers. These times it's really hard to swallow that lay-off upon lay-off happen only to see that by the end of the year the upper echolon runs around with bonuses in their pocket (and not because they had an outstanding idea).

    Don't forget the Presidents Ring really took the cake. While we are in saving mode because of the "economy" - these rings are handed out like cookies. (Where are they this year?) Mind you me that a whole group, not just the supervisor made it happen, but a whole group. But then as one supervisor stated him-/herself he/she always organizes a pizza party and a good recommendation on their annual evaluation. Is it any wonder that people are frustrated and angry?????

    Yes, I understand why people are mad at management. I personally have seen lay-offs just to turn around and hire "friends" in a management position - which literally just wiped the so-called "savings" right off the table. This borders on criminal.

    I also understand the current management philosophy: If Craig can do it - we can do it, too. One leads by example - plain and simple. So far I haven't seen much effort, just the same old steering into the same dead end initiatives that don't bring anything.

    Don't worry about the "poor management" - they just ignore the obvious and leave Gannett so much richer. If only it was deserved...........

  35. I haven't seen anything posted regarding this:
    Very interesting indeed.

  36. Hey, it's time for a food fight.


  37. The Geico Gecko3/03/2011 10:18 PM

    Tom Donavan is too busy getting his company purchased BMW waxed to care about morale

  38. The problem is it's most likely not the direct managers / supervisors making the decisions about who gets the boot - it is some annonomous 'suit' (or skirt) at corporate looking at the BIG picture (benefits, et al) and telling your immediate boss - or their boss - who needs to be cut from the payroll.

  39. I just had a weird dream, too. It was the '80s, and I was traveling in the Midwest with the actor Lee Marvin. We were on a leafy college campus and he shoplifted a book for the road. I think I need a vacation, too.

  40. Jeez Jim, if only you had some kind of news publication that was read by everybody in the company ...

    Come on, man, you're copping out on us. Make an assessment. You want to ask questions of Hillkirk, Weiss, and Davis? Ask them!

    What would you want to know if you sat down to talk to them? Let's see the list of questions, and maybe someone somewhere will actually ask them. If they ever get the chance.

  41. I have wonderful managers at my site. I honestly couldn't ask for better supervisors. They have vision, compassion and true concern for their workers. I see the managers you have talked about. Yes, they exist but there truly are people who really do care. They may be blind sided by Gannett, but overall, they really do care about their workers. I guess I am blessed to have the managers and co-workers I have. It could be so much worse.Yes, this could change in a blink of an eye, but reading what others have written I realize I really have a tremendous group to work with. Hats off to all my co-workers! They are the best of the best in Gannett and I attribute my group of co-workers to my VP. He is the best you could ever ask to have. He is positive, motivating and brings in revenue, where other sites don't. I don't think he realizes how important he is to his group, but also to others.

  42. John; You inherited a bad deck of cards. You can no longer stick your head in the sand. You need to make changes in your management team. Actually, just trim about senior managers with no responsibility and large amounts of meddling power. This was supposed to be a leaner, more efficient newroom that could push stories out faster and to the right content vehicles. It just looks like lip service. Do something. Start by getting out in the newsroom and talk to your reporters and mid level editors on a regular basis.

  43. I'll have what 11:44 is having.

  44. Jim; you'll stop fantasizing about Pence when her usless, mult-million dollar Gannett branding plan hatches. Let's just piss the $$$ away.

  45. I want some of that 11:44 magic dust too

  46. Gannett doesn't train managers to be rude and crude, but rather than weed managers with those qualities out, Gannett (as a whole) seems to reward them. The executive editor at my site once congratulated one of his pets at a meeting for behavior that many workplaces would consider unprofessional. And this doesn't seem to be unusual.

    Because corporate management prefers Yes Men and Yes Women over free thinkers, that's the sort of people we have in high ranking positions across the company. When their employees aren't able to meet corporate demands, these managers won't defend their employees. Instead, they lash out at them.

    So ... Gannett may not train its managers to be asses, but it has created an environment where asses flourish. There are many companies that simply wouldn't tolerate the sort of incompetence and unprofessional behavior that Gannett fosters.

  47. 10:47 I'm thinking over your comment.

    11:51's comment appears to be directed at USA Today's John Hillkirk, officially named the paper's top editor in April 2009.

  48. It's hard to take many of the anti-management comments seriously, folks.

    Really? Here's food for thought:

    I swear never to be silent whenever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor - never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor - never the tormented.
    Elie Wiesel

  49. I see Jim mentioned Rudd Davis. With all seriousness - I completely forgot he even works for the company!! How many of the original VPs brought in to "transform" USA TODAY are ever heard from? It's like working for the government and having a no-show job.


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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