An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
Lots of site visits in the West this week. Hiw are they going?
From "the grass isn't always greener on the other side" department:St. Petersburg Times staff gets temporary pay cutThe Associated Press The Associated Press Employees at The St. Petersburg Times will see their pay cut by 5 percent for five months under a new cost-savings plan.In a letter to the staff Thursday, Times CEO and Chairman Paul Tash said the pay cut will be effective Monday. Staffers will be given five additional days off with pay during the five-month period. He said the change will save the paper about $1 million over the next five months.Tash said the ongoing economic downturn make the pay cuts necessary.
Well, actually, it is a bit greener: Their pay cut is only 5 months' duration, and they get an extra five days off WITH PAY. My five days off were at my own expense...
Solution for the St. Pete Times issue: tax non-profits. If Poynter wants to beggar its properties to pay the salaries of execs, then fine. Tax the non-profit at the same rate as business. Ditto Freedom Forum. If they taxed the non-profits at business rates, it would level out the business field and give newspaper companies an incentive to provide employees a pay raise instead of a pay cut. Makes sense if you think about it.
“If 10% is good enough for GOD, then 9% should be good enough for govt”, Herman Cain.Now, that’s not an endorsement of him or his proposed policies but it certainly offers another solution that 9:16 AM missed….streamline tax filings for all and lower for-profit rates to those of non-profits instead. Gannett and far too many other employers spend a great deal of time and money, all of which would be better spent on building their businesses and jobs.
Let's hope that there isn't a subtle message for Gannett employees in this Arizona Republic story telling workers "how to get fired" ("be classy" and other advice): http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/business/articles/2011/09/08/20110908biz-getting-fired-how-to-handle.html
@9:58. That's funny! They really should run an article on how and EMPLOYER should fire an employee in a "classy" way!! They could stand to learn a thing or two.
Two more talented people announced their resignations from the Reno Gazette-Journal's editorial department this week. By my count that's something like six people (all veterans) in the last four months. Since Nevada unemployment rates are the highest in the nation and it's a difficult time for journalists to get a job, that says something about what's going on in Gannett. If management doesn't come up with a plan that involves something other than mass layoffs, there won't be any talented people left if the economy recovers. Then, the company will continue to flounder. Not because the money's not there but because they don't have anyone with the skills to grab it.
Newspaper chain fires copyright troll. Calls it a dumb idea.http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/09/it-was-a-dumb-idea-newspaper-chain-fires-copyright-troll-righthaven.ars
Staff meeting results - well, we laid off too many people to effectively do the "passion topics" properly so we're going to find a way to do more enterprise stories and less standard city council/government stories because we're never going to get back to the staffing levels we had a few years back. Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
USA Today loses another customer: http://www.tbd.com/articles/2011/09/george-washington-university-stops-giving-away-free-newspapers-that-no-one-wants-66256.html
Re: 12:03 PM - Which newspaper's staff was meeting and heard this news?
12:03 I was afraid this would happen. It's extremely difficult to do quality watchdog reporting when you back away from beat reporting. How can you develop inside sources? How do you know what to examine/investigate/enterprise around if you aren't consistently staying on top of, for example, government contracting, public school staffing, or daily police/sheriff reporting?Beat reporting is the roadmap to hard-edged enterprise. Without it, passion topic enterprise will risk being little more that soft features.
good for whoever said that @ 12:03.Time for ME, EE and such to be honest about expectations to staff and readers. You can't be all things to all people - try you're gonna fail. Pick a few areas you can do well, will gain some eyeballs and attack.
Or we end up with big splashy enterprise reports on things 'everybody' already knew about - stuff we would know too, if we paid attention all the time.
Jim, your comment on the importance of beat reporting is one of the most important points ever made here or in any discussion of the journalism business's future. I doubt but hope that top executives read and heed it.
12:03 - that's how you end up with nothing but weather stories. Pointless drivel that tell readers what they already know. Ohh, it's going to be 100 degrees! Write a wearer story. End of summer, ohh, it's gonna be cooler. "Write a weather story." Pointless crap that lets editors think they're doing something because looking like idiots in the eye of the public. Brilliant f'ing Gannett.
A reporter can't just parachute in and do investigative reporting. Investigative reporting is mining a beat, knowing who to talk with and knowing who will help you get the paperwork you need. This doesn't happen without regular contact. If you think some clerk is going to tip an infrequent visitor to City Hall onto something, you are nuts. Careful cultivation of sources is the only way to develop the big stories. You stop cultivating and the stories go away. Simple. The other poster is right. By cutting to the bone, weather and easy-to-get government stories, will become the new passion points.
I agree 2:17. Gannett's short sighted philosophy is "we need to cover the weather because everyone is passionate about it". Bs. How many stories have you seen that infrom everyone it was really hot yesterday and some people found it inconvenient. No shit...we continually offer readers coverage of things we cannot possibly add value to. We need to focus on topics where we can tell readers something that is not common sense, something that they do not already know
Great advice, Jim. Is that why you rely on innuendo, gossip, and rumor here? Because you haven't bothered to cultivate good sources?By the way, are you still running with unsourced information about that "merger"? Either confirm the information or admit it's unconfirmed and then yank it. One or the other. You have no credibility when you straddle the fence.
Weather stories are easy -- and, so, inexpensive -- space fillers. They are typically assigned when there's a shortage of staff-written stories.
@3:26 PM – Do really need someone to explain the difference between what Jim’s blog provides and what newspapers (many have blogs too) do? And BTW, if you’ve frequented Jim’s blog you’d know he has cultivated sources who have provided substantive tips and or weighed in on many issues discussed here. Of course, that runs counter to what you're trying to stir up right. Funny.
Hey Jim: Submitted for your approval - Right now, there's an example of one of the many downsides of a paywall. On Drudge, there's a link to the story about the painting at a Tallahassee museum that allegedly was taken illegally from a Jewish family by the Nazis decades ago. Rather than link to the tallahassee.com paywall story where this broke, Drudge is linking to the (FREE) WTSP-TV's story in Tampa about it. That's probably 30,000 clicks that Gannett (because they own WTSP) can count, but not Tallahassee.
4:01, that's the weakest excuse in the world.So, using your "logic," if he reports something as "news," but there are no named sources, then we should be OK with that because that's the best he can do.But, at the same time, we should welcome all of these "tips," 99.5 percent of which are from the credible source known as Anonymous.Brilliant. I like how you say that not only with 100 percent seriousness, but also with some added snark. Classic cluelessness.
4:23 If you're equating tips and Anonymous comments, then, no, you should not believe everything you read in this blog's threads.I don't believe 4:01 is suggesting that. And I don't believe my readers treat all the comments here as the gospel truth.But just to make sure, I include the following advisory on top of these comment forms:"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."Now, a question for you: Are there any circumstances under which you think it is OK for me to cite sources I don't identify by name? (And a related question: How do you feel about newspapers using anonymous sources?)
4:05 Yes, that would be an example of the downside of paywalls.And if community newspapers often reported news that got national attention, there would be a lot of clicks lost.But isn't this story a rare example of that sort of news?BTW: I can't think of any Gannett paper that should have across-the-board paywalls, as there are in Tallahassee. GCI sites, including USA Today's, simply don't have enough indispensable, exclusive content to expect readers to pay for.That might have been the case 20 years ago. But GCI has strip-mined its newspapers and broadcast sites over that period.If the paywall experiments since July 2010 in Tallahassee; Greenville, S.C., and St. George Utah were producing a net financial benefit, GCI would have extended its experiment to other sites.But it hasn't, which suggests readers aren't buying the idea.
Nice try 4:23 PM, but you obviously know exactly how this blog works, that and if all sources where named they’d ultimately be “shutdown”, hence this blog too. It happened in Cincinnati with Newsache and no doubt, that’s just what some seek here now.Fact is Jim’s blog - despite random/deliberate noise, has a record of being spot on with many issues of material note to which even E&P and other media outlets have recognized too. Moreover, alleging “classic cluelessness” further highlights what you hope to attempt so again, try as you will, but those of us with views from upper ranks have been impressed by how many truths this blog has let out.4:01
The ultimate "Passion Topic" is the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Nearly 2 million in San Diego without power? Stock market going down the tubes again? Wave the flag! Beat the drums! Scare! Scare! Scare everyone! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11!New Jersey newspapers are especially guilty. 9/11 anniversary fluff? Big story and pictures. Towns flooded by Hurricane Irene and now by Tropical Storm Lee? Buried inside. Gov. Christie speaking at a secret right-wing gathering? Don't look for it in any New Jersey newspaper. Gannett papers and my (non-Gannett) paper are equally guilty. If you picked up a copy any day this week you'd think you were reading Pravda circa 1961.
The truth is you've all missed the biggest story out there. So much for deep sources etc. It's right there but you're all too busy sniping ti see it.
oooooh the biggest story out there and I've missed it? Wow, with that kind of lead-in I'm guessing it's the expose on Ashton Kutcher's fraternal twin brother who handles funeral arrangements in Iowa?DAMN YOU YAHOO FOR STEALING THE PULLET SURPRISE RIGHT FROM UNDER OUR NOSES!
All I am hearing is crickets ...Does anyone have any information on the time linefor Wilmington to go to Ashbury Park? Seems no one is talking on this subject or the reason why corporate is visiting all the sites. They must have a strong arm on everyone these days.
10:21: Corporate visits are a series of meet and greets that are 90 percent happy talk and public relations. No one's talking about them because they're just that uninteresting.9:10 (on the subject of the St. Petersburg Times): "Well, actually, it is a bit greener: Their pay cut is only 5 months' duration, and they get an extra five days off WITH PAY. My five days off were at my own expense..."Actually, a five percent pay cut, with four months left in the year, translates to ... about 4.5 days of pay. It's EXACTLY the Gannett plan, just spread out. So how about we do some basic math and call that one a wash, OK?
Jim and 5:23 seem willingly ignorant to this point: You will get some things right if you just throw things at the wall to see if they will stick.But far more often, you will be wrong. And that goes to credibility.You can play your game and cite only the things that eventually were proved somewhat correct. But if you do that and ignore the times when someone made up something and posted it here, knowing there would be no consequences, then you are willing dupes.Even having to point this out indicates major problems on your end.
11:14, you are discovering what has been true here time and again. People here simply do not understand pay and benefits.They are always wrong when they try to figure out the details. Always.You can go through the archives to find the examples. The best one is from the early days of the blog when people were arguing about COBRA. To this day, I think there are people who were dumb enough to go without health insurance rather than electing COBRA, a plan the employer is required to offer in most circumstances. They made the decision because they didn't understand how COBRA worked.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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."
Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.