Thursday, August 16, 2012

Aug. 13-19 | Your News & Comments: Part 4

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  1. Appleton's union died for many reasons - originally covering editorial, sales and composing, several years of weak stewards and even weaker support from CWA resulted in the union caving immediately on any proposal put before them. The local was more concerned with the AT&T jobs across the street than the P-C.

    I appreciated the optional dues - the CWA paper that those dues paid for ran story after story on their support for candidates I didn't believe in. All the money the old-timers sent in, and when negotiations came around, the national couldn't be bothered to help us out.

    Good riddance.


  3. Usa Today's redesign os a disaster. The logo is a joke. The revamping of the website is amateurish. The conversion to the Presto system is an unmitigated disaster. Even the planning fornthe big anniversary bash has taken on a middle school sophistication.

    Yet the thing that bothers everyone the most is the same print first editor mentality that continues to make the product a joke. When are the tired, no account editors be given real jobs or ushered out the door? When are the non performing reporters be forced to produce? When are the so called stars going to do more than a story or two a month? When is some accountabilty for fucking up be implemented?

    When is advertising going to sell some fucking ads? We are going down people. We cant wait much longer to save this ship with the ceew of the Minnow at the helm.

  4. 9:41, it can't be over for Gannett soon enough for me. After many decades of award-winning work, these D-Team clowns spat me out .

    So I have the champagne ready.


  5. 9:41 wins the prize. The relaunch hasn't even taken place and he/she is bashing it. I've seen the website and it is terrific. 180 degrees from what exists today. He/she is correct about one thing, they better start sellign some ads. But the website is fantastic.

    1. 9:41 speaks the truth.

      Have you seen the new 4th grader designed logo?

      Do you have any clue that the structural system designed to support the new look design is not even close to functioning?

      No, you are too impressed with a glossy makeover. it is still about content and competency, neither is addressed with the relaunch. once again, style over substance.

    2. Yes the website is "fantastic." Let's hope you do more than play dress up at the adult table.

  6. So..all sales people are doing world class training. (Which must be completed by November)
    What A Joke!
    They have to go through training, pass a written test, be shadowed by someone that is not local, and then keep track everyday of what customers they visit and for how long,and this will be monitored, how are they going to account for the time that they spend tanning, shopping, watching soap operas, getting their hair cut, pedicures, etc.
    What if the don't pass the written exam, will they really lose their job?
    World can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear!

  7. 10 am When does the new USAT site go live?

  8. ANY of the lamestream USCP rags reporting on the possibility that Obama will replace Biden with Hillary yet?

    I heard a long time ago speculation that they may just swap jobs, but I'm inclined to think that Biden just gets thrown under the bus after his latest crazy (even for him) rants.

  9. I have been in the business for 35 years. The first half was spent in print newsrooms. The last 10 years at digital operations of various sorts, but all provided some sort of news, analysis and promotions for readers/users.

    I had no problem making the transition from print to digital. I guess I was lucky to work for open-minded companies that didn't stereotype older employees like Gannett typically does. I might also note that I worked for USA Today for a few years, about the time they were getting more serious about digital efforts.

    To this day, as I am nearing the home stretch of my career, I would have to say that USA Today was by far the worse place I ever worked in almost every way one would judge a job. The same problems that existed back then appear to be the same problems that exist now. While I am sure much has changed, the core issues seem to be snowballing. So it did not surprise me to read that the latest redesign of USA Today leaves much to be desired.

    Folks, I hate to bash any employer because the way I look at it, all provided a paycheck. However, I can't emphasize enough how bad a place USA Today is to work if you have any sense of fairness, solid work ethics and progressive ideas. USA Today is so filled with in-fighting and behind-the-scenes backstabbing that more than a few careers of some of its best people have ended tragically there.

    I see USA Today as a place where people are more interested in protecting their jobs than doing them. They do this is a variety of ways that have little to do with improving the product or implementing effective changes. The hiring and evaluation procedures are a complete mess even to this day from what I hear. Current managers inherited a leaky a ship and did nothing to plug the holes. Those past managers, I might not, were some of the most paranoid, vindictive and self-serving folks I've ever met. Some bordered on being outright corrupt.

    So USA Today, which actually did have a short run of moving in the right direction under the guidance of some pretty decent leaders and even mid-level managers back in the day, has apparently lost its way, and it's only getting worse. Things like redesigns are the least of its problems.

    If you're an honest, bright and hardworking young or old professional, I would stay clear of working at USA Today for the foreseeable future. What little good is left there isn't worth selling your soul to be a part of.

    1. 11:35, you've just hit the tip of the iceberg. had you stayed, you would see how badly morale has festered with the likes of those still in key management roles and their cast of old and new friends.

  10. We ex-Gannetteers can't wait for the final solution for Gannett...Close the doors for good.
    There will be lots of partying and
    Thanks for the memories,right!Thousands of really good newspaper people layed off and maybe lives ruined just for a few extra percentage points of profit margin.Everyone has to keep that in mind.

  11. Jim, September 13

  12. Now competing with the USPS...

  13. To 10:13

    As a salesperson, I always get a kick out of those who talk about about what a cushy job salespeople have, and yet never try to move into a sales position. Why is that? It would have to be either the job is not as easy as you make it sound, or you don't have the skills necessary to do the job.

    First, I would recommend you try going out and taking advertising dollars for a product that is seen as dying. I do it every day (and do it well as I am a two time President's Club winner).

    Second, do salespeople do some of the things that you mentioned (shopping, hair cuts, etc)? Yes, absolutely!! That is one of the perks to an outside sales job at any company. But, I also work at home on Sunday to get a Monday morning proposal completed. I take calls on Saturday from irate customers because their Saturday ad ran in the wrong section or the registration was off and you can't read their phone number. I go to Chamber networking meetings at 6:30or 7 in the morning. I will go to see a restaurant owner at 7 at night because he works the kitchen and can't see me until the dinner rush is over.

    I enjoy what I do. My point is that every job has it's perks, as well as it's disadvantages. To pick out the perks and use that as a basis to insult a group of professionals, is short- sighted,insulting and ignorant.

  14. So print is dead eh? Single copy is coming in with 5-8 percent returns. Why if everybody is going digital? All of the primary results are online yet people shave 12 plus percent off the return rate. If we still had some circulation people who knew how to do draws S/C would have had more papers to put out.

    Just again proves my point that people would still buy the print paper if it had real news in it...even at the ridiculous high price.


    " .. I see USA Today as a place where people are more interested in protecting their jobs than doing them .."

    C'mon .. what would one expect, with new sheriffs in town?

    Who have no leadership above them? In a very deep hole? With a zillion middle managers? And not much experience, themselves?

    Heck, bring back Big Al for a few days! Couldn't hurt! All hail, the Al-Head!

    From one old-timer to another -- do what you have to do. Because in a job with very few absolutes and very few authentic leaders, you are your best friend. Now and in your next job.

    Know where you are going -- then make it happen. Yesterday, nearly 2 million new faces entered the workforce -- gotta keep moving.





    the election
    USAT's 30th anniversary
    the new GCI CFO
    more micro- and macro-economic troubles ahead
    GCI pension fund (or more accurately, under-fund)
    the holidays

    Should be exciting.

    And no, this is not his mommy.

  17. 11:53 That was the competition that I was referring to in a previous post about the Postal Service considering discounts to compete with Newspapers for the Sunday Morning insert ads. Gannett and other companies no longer have an argument that they would need to layoff employees if they lost this revenue. They already let go most of circulation employees while they were still receiving that revenue.

  18. To conclude Dubow new about the threat from the Postal Service as he had helped defend the threat from the Postal service before by arguing that if they lost that revenue they would have no choice but to let more people go like the single copy drivers and circulation. If he hadn't left many of the layoffs since may not have taken place.

  19. This is no longer a blog. It has become a forum for unhappy people, a place to vent and trash everything, real or imagined, even things that do not yet exist.

    Definition of blog: a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer

    Definition of forum: b : a public meeting place for open discussion c : a medium (as a newspaper or online service) of open discussion or expression of ideas

    Gone are the days when Jim added his own content, comments, personal reflections and opinions, especially in the form of a “personal journal.” Now at best we get to see a few scattered, cut & paste “articles” lifted from other sources. Analysis of current events is non-existent. In fact, many events go unreported other than a comment or two from the forum. Consider this: virtually nothing has been written about the reorganization of top management at GPS including the departure of Sr. VP Brad Jones, the departure of production VP Mark Winans or the promotion of Jerry Hill. Isn’t it a bit ironic that all those things happened and yet were not reported on during the normal, seasonal “summer slowdown” as Jim calls it.

    What does Jim actually do other than monitor comments and defend his position like the leadership he abhors?

    I propose Jim rename this site the Gannett Forum as it ceased to be a blog when Jim closed it several years ago. His inside sources have dried up. His external sources know nothing. I learn nothing here that isn’t readily available in the news. Now it is only a place to shill for donations and hope for clicks to generate advertising revenue.

    Sorry to say that is the sad truth of the matter. Now go ahead and crucify what I said here. It won't change the sad truth. By the way, I am just a Gannett employee that would actually appreciate something other than what is here these days.

    1. You dont like it here, go away or start your own blog. Gannett has serious problems externally. internally, a huge creditability gap with employees who are lied to and suffer through paycuts and reduced benefits while the executive club gets bigger and sillier.

      has anyone heard a peep from Pence's replacement? Kramer (other than anniversary party news)?

      And Jim is supposed to spoon fed you news?

    2. You missed the point. This is a forum - not a blog. It doesn't point to the value of the content. It just defines the platform correctly. Goodness - a bit sensitive today...

  20. Is there a sked for ice cream socials and Purpose Wall expansions?

  21. Thank you Jim. If you work at Lee or McClatchy or even the WaPo or NYT, there is no one who provides a safe forum where people can trade tips. And yes, vent. Time for appreciative folks to send Jim a few bucks.

  22. To @3:06 and 3:08:

    Why don't you respond instead of launching juvenile attacks on @2:46. They make some great points worth considering. It sounds like @2:46 hit a soft spot on your underbelly that mades you uncomfortable.

  23. 2:46 The best-read content on this blog has always been reader comments. Nothing I can write tops that.

  24. Jim, I just sent $10. Keep on the CFO with all the board seats -- that was a good catch,

    Bet the CFO doin' some 'splaining to Wall Street about how she budgets her time. Ditto, the CEO. Kind of amateurish, really. Ol' Allen N. would have done some table-pounding ..

  25. If that is the only content ... it has to be the most read content.

  26. Knock off the criticisms before it even happens. Anything will be better for USA Today's anniversary than silly concerts, ugly page displays and mindless Neuharth panels of has beens put on by Ed Cassidy and his party-on marketing planners. Still trying to live down those embarrassments.

  27. 11:53 AM Not sure I believe anything you wrote...
    There was never a "President's Club" winner -- it was "President's Ring" winner. And those eligible to win the rings in Advertising were Ad Directors and VP of Advertising, not sales reps. So I would sure expect as an Ad Director or VP of Advertising that you went to evening and early morning chamber meetings and such, took phone calls from irate customers on Saturday, and worked on Sunday to prepare for Monday. As VP of Advertising or even as an Ad Director, you get paid BIG bucks and bonuses, so this is what comes with the job. Not all Ad Directors or VP of Adv do as well as you. Glad to hear you are doing all the right things. (Applause). But back to the SALES TEAMS you are defending. While it is nice of you to do so, the joke is on you because the majority could NOT sell anything if their life depended on it. They are glorified ad takers. They spend a lot of time lunching with their pals, shopping, etc. Instead they should be building customer relationships, learning about their own products and their client's, developing client proposals, and actively PARTICIPATING in chamber functions, ad clubs, etc. There is a reason Gannett has started the "World Class" training and the programs -- they need professionals that will actually sell. For the minority of the sales team that this doesn't apply to, thank you very much for your excellent service and professionalism. To the others, shape up or ship out!

  28. We don't need big Al to tell us that things are not great. All he did was have one original idea, and spent the rest of the time blaming people when it didn't pan out the way he had hoped.
    Gary Watson was a newspaper man at the core, and bled ink instead of blood, and he was able to look through budgets and positions to see what was needed and what wasn't, in order to continue the business of producing a newspaper.
    I agree that he wasn't political correct, almost the opposite, but he got the job done.
    Time to start pruning the top and let him do what he does best.
    He was a crusty old coot, and I doubt that has changed much, but a "no excuse" kind of guy, and exactly what we need right now.

  29. @ 6:02. Yes, there was a President's Club, maybe not at all properies, but certainly at several. I, in fact, won it 3 times, and find myself unemployed. Awards with Gannett are rather meaningless.

  30. Was that list of top ten in an earlier blog close to accurate. Seems like it might be.

  31. @6:02

    There absolutely is a President's Club, although it may just be at the larger properties. It is for the top performers (usually you had to make goal pretty much every period for the year).

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  33. My guess would be that no one knows who Mark Winans, Brad Jones or Jerry Hill are. Anyone? (crickets chirping.) Guess their departures and/or promotions really aren't that earth shattering in the whole scheme of things.

    1. 3:26 I know mark winans and worked under him. Good guy that's why he left along with a few others. Good luck to mark and his family.

  34. The weakest letters to the editor start off with definitions, and usually end with the writer either encouraging us to 'think about it' or announce that they're ready for people to disagree with them even though they're right.

    Stronger ones advocate action they've already taken and ask others to join.

    So where's the Gannett Blog/Forum full of puppies and gum drops and smiley faces? Oh, here you go:

  35. Here's some strong action advice: get results from ad sellers at usa today or fire them.

    Eliminate the jobs that do not produce or edit content.

    Put people on positions of strength. Of you are an ineffective leader, move on to something else.

    Hold people accountabable. The "oh well" attitude amounts to little more than ass covering and laziness.

    Find people who have a passion for what they do. Journalism used to be a calling and the best people had a fire in their belly. The only fire I see now is when one of the kiddie corps "news editors" eats too many Red Hots.

  36. I left the company in 2005 for other ventures. While all corporations will have their share of unhappy people, it saddens me to read that the angst I left behind is still so visible.

    Good luck to you who remain with the company though I say get out while you can. Journalism is a great institution but if the work makes you miserable you're better off in PR or sales or even being an office assistant in a stress-free place.

  37. 6:02 name the site where you won and in one department. That will be easy to check out. There was no National President's Club but you may have been at a site that had one. Spill the deets

  38. I have news for all the journalists out there: It's a lot harder to go out and ask someone to spend their money or their company's money with your publication than it is to drive out the a fire, ask the who, what, when, where, and why and then drive back to the paper to write it up.

  39. Sure it's harder. As near as I can tell, most sales people face their biggest obstacle just getting their car out of the lot.

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  42. Mark Winnens and that crew are running the Production side of things for GPS, What I herd was all he likes to do is get new and different reports from the print sites. I guess it gives him something to do

  43. For 2:56, it's hardest to write correctly about how hard it is.

  44. The difference between selling ads now vs. the good only pre Internet, pre recession eras is salespeople actually have to work for a change rather than sitting on theor duff or glad handing to Rotarians.

    content providers have always spent more time pounding the pavement, and the phones to gather information, then had to write it, often under competitive deadline pressure.

    Sorry you lard asses are veing held accountable for a change. we're losing money because of you. So shut your pie holes and do your jobs.


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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