An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
If A's hire A's and B's hire C's, who does Matore hire?
What the hell is happening in Wilmington? Can someone put together a list of all the people who have left/been run off just in the past few months?
The IT situation is ridiculous. We are a digital company and we don't have any technology expertise? We have no one left who knows how to fix anything, and so you have to call someone who then refers you back to the people who don't know anything. Nothing works. Frustration is rampant. Only a matter of time before the whole thing crashes down.
Ditto at our Florida paper. Absolutely ridicules.
Don't know. But Dickey hired a glorified national sales rep to be a publisher and we've seen how that is working out.
Not you. And who is Matore?
Matore on down hire Cs to Fs. Take a look around. Most of the A's have left the building and if they haven't, I'm sure they're looking.
MB, 6:08 AM.
Only Hunke hires/appoints worse managers. Rudf. Heather. Hillkirk. Motiff. the list is long.
The unfortunate reality is the newspaper industry is in jeopardy and those running it have no expertise in these unchartered waters. While it would be easy to point out that they dropped the ball in converting one of the largest, most loyal readership bases to digital, the fact is, they're extremely limited in the industry as it currently is. Finances have driven layoffs and while layoffs have driven restructuring spun as positive, the quality of the product suffers. How do you have local coverage with less local presence? How can you have quick coverage with fewer people doing more work? You can't, it's just not possible. No current employee has reason to hang their heads because of where they work, everybody needs a job. But every current employee should be looking for a new job as every announcement, direction and indication is management will continue shrinking the work force to meet budgets and at a certain point, wall Street will no longer accept the spin put out as positive without positive results. Adding VP level people hasn't helped other than making management more top heavy, and the recent video from Cannes shows just how limited management is in scope and vision. MB spoke with vision and used impressive words, watch her a second time and keep reminding yourself she's referring to USA TODAY in France! Does anybody know how much money Gannett invested in the sponsorship and travel expense?
IT is terrible everywhere. It's the Gannett way
The Publishing Industry, like the record music industry, has lost control of it product --> News or Information. Listen up Gannett, you might end up like Borders.
11:11, I can't answer your Cannes question, but everything you said is absolutely accurate in my opinion. The greatest asset that Gannett has is the loyal readership that you reference. Without a large customer base, which is comprised of news seekers (digital, broadcast media, or print), the company can't sell advertising, sports games, apps, personal data on customers, or any other product it produces. Unfortunately all I see lately are efforts to shrink the customer base by downgrading the product and making what is left more difficult to access. Warren Buffett and others are smart enough to know that desire for local information is a constant and will not change, regardless of the format in which it is delivered. It will be interesting to watch in the next couple of years what moves he makes in the industry, and how Gannett responds.
Interesting comment yesterday that their is a wage freeze for all GPS employees that are left for the next year. Does that mean that the cuts they have made thus far are not enough? All this company seems to do is by pathetic internet companies and let people go. Is that their only strategy for running a successful business. It's not working.
11:11, outstanding comment. I don't mind some of the rants, but reasoned, measured observations like yours (when they appear) are why I read this blog. Thank you.
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Any word on The Furlough program for the 3rd Q ?
http://www.npr.org/2012/07/06/156311078/fake-bylines-reveal-true-costs-of-local-newsSurprised that Gannett didn't come up with this first!
GPS has indeed frozen raises after I was told I was getting one after 3 years without one. I expect to hear furlough next. At this point, just furlough me so I can get another week of summer vacation.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdWXgwRNxrkAn open letter to GM and MM:Have you watched this?Do you agree that a place in France can serve as an inspiration for creativity?Do you think that these funds are best reserved for the C level employees?Do the most creative ideas come from the top, or somewhere closer to the bottom of the org. chart?This employee doesn't do USA TODAY or Gannett any favors in this video... but maybe that wasn't the point of the exchange with Yahoo.I know we can do better.If you must send people on trips like this, a lower profile might be in order.
There were people who knew how to run this company. They could have taken us into digital. They understood that there was ALREADY a mission: it was the first amendment and serving the reader. Just think of all the money that could be saved not searching for a purpose, just for starters?The Arizona people took over, kicked them out and ruined this company. Evan Ray has often referred to it as a coup. It was nothing less, and he was proud to be part of it. Congrats to him, but the company – - and even our nation - are the worse for it.
The GPS hammer falls on Louisville HD distrubution on Monday. Major reorganization being announced next week. Another glorious layoff...I mean, reorganization.
Interesting article by Chuck Moozakis In News and Technology. It discusses the demise of some of the digital only news platforms. The name of the column is "As We Advance Do We Progress " We all know the answer. Check it out
For those complaining that IT is terrible, be fair. Lack of technical expertise is not the problem. Lack of IT staff is the problem. You can only spread resources so thin before things start to fall apart.
12:40 - That's why I got another job! You can, too.
Rumor is in Phoenix the paywall is being mooted at $20 per month. Where it actually ends up . . . the print casualties are expected to be 25% - 35%If they end up keeping Scottsdale, Tempe, Ahwatukee and central Phoenix while flushing the outer hayseeds (that would be the current Sun/YES distribution) then the plan is a success. Interesting discussion of paywalls here.http://ebyline.biz/2012/07/building-the-great-newspaper-paywall/Also . . . remember the Tucson JOA became ONE paper not too long ago under the contract that allowed a split after a number of unprofitable years. The Detroit JOA can be dissolved in 2015 for the same reason. Great read from Crain's Detroit.http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20120703/STAFFBLOG03/120709979/dont-panic-yet-the-detroit-free-press-isnt-closing-but-a-major
4:33 references GM and MM. I believe those are supposed to be Gracia Martore and board Chairman Marjorie Magner.
I was told one time by a manager/supervisor as things started being reorganized at my paper to "embrace change"...and this was before Obama made it his slogan.I told him change for a reason...a break down for example...is good and needed, but change for the sake of change is inefficient and usually ineffective.The continuous slide our paper, and Gannett for that matter, are enduring, is proving who right? I'm no genius but common sense is common sense.
@3:58 pm- they never furlough you in the summer, it's something that runs counter to the philosophy of doing everything they can to beat the last molecule of morale out of the employee. Al the things we've seen, moving people in to smaller work spaces so they're corralled like animals, forcing people to go through the invasive "health screening" under threat of a rate increase, they're all morale busters. We're in the steerage deck of the Titanic while the crystal place folks are in the lifeboats ordering one more round of bubbly for the ride.
Martore is a much brighter bulb than Dubow, but she knows nothing about journalism. That might be ok from an operational standpoint at most businesses. Trouble is, she also lacks leadership skills. The ham fisted way she rules, coupled with the touchy feely, visionless mantras of her growing stable of management princesses, will prove this company's undoing.
So does Usa Today finally get a real editor for the first time in well over a decade? One can only hope we do, and that he/she take a close look at the incompetents running the operation. The "iconic brand" Martore keeps boasting about publicly (but incessantly complains about privately) needs the equvalent of an enema and elictric shock therapy to set it on the right course. It's time.
The I.T. situation is a complete disgrace. As a former I.T. staffer at a Gannett site I just can't see how anything can get accompolished. We spent more time rebuilding the publisher's kids PCs and buying new tech toys and phones for the OC members so they could keep up with iPhone envy when someone got a newer one than they had. In meantime the poor folks in the distribution centers were using PCs that would take most of their shift to start up. The priorites of this company need to examined very hard. Problem is the ones doing the examining and decision making are the ones without a clue as what the real working staff has to go thru on a daily basis to function.
Is everyone getting job evaluations done in July now? I think they standardized this...not just at our location. As people get reviews done, we should post whether or not we got a raise and how much to get a sense of what is really going on. Our site has been hiring a few new people, and I'm wondering if it is really as bad as some on this blog make it seem. And the bottom line problem with this company right now: The lack of attention to detail. Whether it's mistakes in copy, problems getting stories online, the letter sent to readers announcing a paywall, people frustrated because they can't get anyone on the phone when they WANT to subscribe to paper, etc. These "little things" really matter.
When will Gannett realize what keeps them afloat. Relationships keep them afloat. When a reader feels they know the writer based on his work, or an advertiser believes and trusts his ad rep and most importantly, when our publishers and directors become a part of the community, getting involved with the community personally. People buy, read and trust people they feel they know. Go back to where we came from, instead of dictating to the public as if they are idiots. The consumer is not stupid
10:10, the Purpose Wall takes care of Gracia's operational deficiencies. Get with the winning game plan. It's All Within Reach.
12:45 They won't ever change. They have never really tried that approach except when they were making obscene profits. After the pace slowed their only answer is slash and burn.
Kramer is the man with the plan. He is already implementing winning.
4:35 is correct, but while I've never been in favor if sacrificing print for digital, Phoenix may have a good idea if by accident. The longer Gannett papers wait to hopefully transition readers to online subscriptions, the fewer may be interested. With the dramatic drop in quality writing, editing and circulation, the longer they wait the fewer people will be willing to shell out any cash for the product. A 25-35% drop in circulation will happen any way in the next year or so, why not do it now converting those to paywall subscriptions. Then, of course, is another issue- Keeping the readers and let's face it, between all the adds, lousy writing, editing and late reporting with less and less local reporting, there's still the need to produce a quality product.
Walt Lafferty was terminated yesterday from Springfield.
The standardized process for GPS reviews started this year. Self reviews were done in early Spring, actual reviews completed in late spring. During the review, we were given a percentage amount for a raise, internally it looks like everyone got less than or close to 1%. We were notified 3 weeks ago that the less than 1% had been frozen and now the next chance for a raise is July 1, 2013. 4 years without a raise is the reason I will be bidding adios to Gannett soon.
10:22 said: "So does Usa Today finally get a real editor for the first time in well over a decade?"It's a shame that Kate Marymont has devolved into a corporate hack. There was a time when she was a kick-ass editor with the instincts and skills to lead USA Today. Moving from VP/News to editor of USAT would be a wonderful thing if she hadn't become Korporate Kate. Now it would just be a selfish and hopeless attempt to rehabilitate her reputation. Funny/sad how things turn out sometimes.
IT is bad at our place because for years our IT department simply refused to work w/ the newsroom because the newsroom used Macs and IT didn't want to fool w/ Macs. So we had a great newsroom IT guy who also did a ton of other things but he got fed up w/ all the piling on and took a new job and won't be replaced and now IT has been told it MUST work with the newsroom and it's antiquated computers. This is going to be interesting.
Here's that sports gig you've always wanted:Sports ReporterAbout the JobWill report and write general sports stories for the daily newspaper. Also responsible for providing and editing photos and videos for the website and maintaining a blog focusing on basketball and football recruiting. Will do weekly in-house sports webcast.Send/email Information to: Creig EwingSports EditorThe Courier-Journal525 W. BroadwayLouisville, KY firstname.lastname@example.org
7:25 Lafferty was publisher of Gannett's Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, N.J., before becoming publisher of GateHouse Media's daily in Springfield, Ill.
Would someone define what a “real editor” is?If it’s someone who values newspapers telling the honest truth over stories that clearly don’t - USAT recently calling illegal aliens Americans is but one, then great as this industry has already lost too many readers and advertisers and it really can’t afford to lose too many more because of nakedly dishonest agendas like that story exposed. Sadly, I suspect that doesn’t bother too many here and it should as credibility is key to a newspaper’s success, something too many journalist have seem to have forgotten.
11:49: "...our IT department simply refused to work w/ the newsroom because the newsroom used Macs and IT didn't want to fool w/ Macs."And I thought my site's support was bad — but that was due to lack of staffing, not "refusing" to do their job!To be fair, though, who's in charge of hiring who's only hired PC types in IT in a business that uses Macs as well? Same person who allows staff to "refuse" to essentially do their job, no doubt? That manager sounds typical of the sheltered cliques responsible for so much dysfunction in Gannett.Secondly, in my job if I didn't know a certain aspect which presented itself (and this was characteristic of staffing as well since more and more other facets were dumped on the wretched few), I made it a point as a matter of self-respect to become proficient in it — often coming in some valuable day off like a good Scout to have the time to do so.Who cared if I had a personal life neglected and my health going to hell?Yeah, I was naive in such repeatedly misplaced dedication since they kicked me to the unemployment line as well anyway, but in retrospect I figure that's their problem.
Forced retirement begins this month with my job is moving to Iowa Design Hub. 29 years as a journalist and the last 13 year as a Gannett slave. Good bye. Looking foward to being able to breathe again and enjoy life. This company almost sucked the life out of me. Get out when you can.
Marymont would have been an improvement over Hillkirk, Paulson and jrgensen, but that really isnt saying much. Kramer will hire an outsider, hopefully someone smart enough to detect the bullshitters and asskissers and pretenders who now mislead editorial. The place is so hopeless right now in every department, it is a wonder the product isnt lamer than it is.
7:09 made a good point. At what point have newspapers completely missed the boat regarding the viability of digital? Converting current readership, or the continuing declining readers means the "digital footprint" for newspapers will be substantially smaller than anticipated.
Jim Welch fits the bill as a real editor. And look what happened to him, the geniuses in Sports let him go before someone came to their senses and hired him in News. The place is a sandbox run and inhabited by middle schoolers.
11:31, what unit is this in? There is no frigging way this should happen. Anyone in IT With this attitude should be shitcanned immediately.
Glad to see Bob Collins people doing so well without him. Walt lasted under two years and Skip Hidlay barely lasted a year after uprooting their families and moving them to Illinois and Kansas. Karma is such a wonderful thing. Hopefully old Bobby boy is pushing thru is life savings at tracks and casinos feeling important as he berates dealers at casinos and horse track employees.
You forgot to mention mark frisby, another Collins tyrant.
9:03, With all due respect, 4 years without a raise while in an industry in deep and quick declines working for Gannett begs to raise the question of how a 1%, 2%... raise make the rest worthwhile? everybody at Gannett should be actively looking for a job. Look at the recent top level people who've jumped, that should be a clear message.
The IT issue about refusing to work on Macs is not uncommon, but refusing to work on them may not be totally accurate.Let me explain...At my site we have had 4 dedicated Mac techies since their inception into the newsroom (read graphic design dept.), and none of them ever over lapped in their tenure. In our glory days we were 12 people (staff and management) and the first 3 dedicated Macs techs left on their own terms and the last one got laid off. We now have 5 people left in the department to cover 2 shifts and weekends, and we still have a dedicated Mac person, but that isn't his only job. We simply do not have the resources to be have experts for every single piece of hardware and software, and the result is that our customers suffer.We have but a fraction of the Macs we used to have, and yet they require more attention than our other systems. They are unique and don't play well with others, and that is a fact.Since Gannett is trying to streamline us all, why not take the step to phase out the Macs? There is nothing a Mac can do that a PC can't, albeit some tasks are easier on a Mac, plus a PC is about one third the cost of a Mac. With the move to News Gate there is no reason for those still using a Mac based front end to continue to do so.To sum it up, the IT people may not refuse to work on a Mac, but simply doesn't have the knowledge nor the time to gain that knowledge.BTW, if you are part of the South Group things are going to get worse. The consolidation of IT department into one big department would have been a great idea several years ago, back when we had the staffing to do just that. Doing it now is just another nail in the coffin for those left.
RE our pensions, this is exactly what I've been worried about. And why I'm hoping to get the hell out and take my lump sum BEFORE it happens.http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/09/business/media/newspapers-are-running-out-of-time-to-adapt-to-digital-future.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all
This is how pathetic The Times has gotten. A major newsmaker in his day and father of former governor and recent presidential candidate Buddy Roemer died Saturday and the news story is posted online tonight at 9:38. The last time property transfers was posted online was June 14. A laughable site still after all the push toward digital. There was a time when online updates had to be posted several times every hour or two. But that was when there was a staff. So, so sad. Let me end this post and go to bec so I can get up in the morning, run out to get the pitiful excuse for a Monday paper and read about some car wreck in Lafayette. How nice it would be if they at least ran Shreveport-Bossier news in the newshole that is left. Hell, even leave national/world news to TV so we could keep up with LOCAL news.
Don't count on a pension from Gannett or any publicly-traded media group:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/09/business/media/newspapers-are-running-out-of-time-to-adapt-to-digital-future.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
NYT: GANNETT PENSION FUNDhttp://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/09/business/media/newspapers-are-running-out-of-time-to-adapt-to-digital-future.html?_r=1&hp".. The global pension plan at Gannett, which owns 82 daily papers, is underfunded by $942 million, and McClatchy, which owns 30 dailies, is short $383 million, according to Mr. Simonton, even though both companies have been pouring tens of millions in precious cash into the plans to shore them up. Many United States companies have onerous pension obligations, but the decline in revenue gives newspapers a tougher hill to climb .."
I've used Macs at work since 1994, oftentimes being the most knowledgeable Apple gal because I was the graphic designer who used them. I get that I.T. can't support us because 'cool' is anathema to nerds, but locking us out from fixing our own issues with administrator passwords is just rude. I don't need I.T. - I can tell myself to restart.
@3:49 p.m., yes, there will be several stealth layoffs happening this month as the sites move to the Des Moines hub. I've heard copy desks in Green Bay and Oshkosh will get the axe. Not sure of other Wisconsin sites.
"At what point have newspapers completely missed the boat regarding the viability of digital?"That would be about 25 years ago.
So true @638. The administrator password speed bump is silly. If you don't want us to take care of our gear, let us use our own. Just give us a tech stipend. The way it is now, software has a four-upgrade lag because there aren't enough techs to keep up with all that dinky stuff. No such obstacle with the company iPhones, which makes them more useful. We can configure them and keep them updated in ways that work for us. Should be that way w/ our other computers, too.Digital media can't advance on analog policy.
Does anyone have confirmation of the fate of Atlanta Offset?...They have an all but absent GM leading to zero moral, rumors galore and the person left in the leadership position running it into the ground.Any information would be great.
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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