An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
FORMER SHREVEPORT AD EMPLOYEE - run as fast as you can Peter. Bailey is a bad apple for Shreveport (one bad apple destroys the whole bunch). I had the unpleasant experience of letting him ride wih me to advertisers. My advertisers told me if I had to bring Bailey with me do not come. Shreveport is a community where advertisers are friends and family. Bailey comes with the "big man" in charge syndrome and Shreveport is not a community that is ready for that. Zanmiller was the big man in charge but with our advertisers he was one of the boys. Bailey does not kow how to communicate with the common Shreveport people. Advertisers are saying you are not of the Shreveport community and I echo their feelings. Ad dollars will not return under Bailey watch.If Shreveport no longer has Gray who is in charge of the ad department. Hopefully not Bailey because he does not know the employees or the advertisers. If Haacker has the job you can start closing the entire ad department because she does not like people. If Hanisee has the job be afraid because she likes violence. She has favorites and does not play well with all the others.BAILEY + HAACKER + HANISEE = SHREVEPORT CLOSURE
Is there anything more sad at a big event than the tired old "reporters interviewing other reporters" bit? Turns out, there is.An Arizona Republic sports columnist has a running "gag" about trying to get his name into a London tabloid. Here is Saturday's update.August 10: Tabloids, TV offer odd entertainmentOn Aug. 1, I made it a goal for the heck of it to get my name into one of the London tabloids. But short of doing something that would get me fired, this has yet to happen.So in the final days of the Olympics, I'm reduced to begging the Daily Telegraph/Star/Mail/Mirror or the Sun to mention me in one of their columns, especially one that includes some royal family coverage so my wife will be impressed.My best hope seemed to be lucking into becoming the subject of a cabbie quiz that the Mirror conducts in some of the 305 black taxis it sponsors. But between Olympic and public transportation here, there's been no need for cab rides.I am bringing a tab sampling home for our designers to enjoy if nothing else than for the total lack of limitation on headline count.Like the Daily Mail: "Golden girl Jess is in line for a 5m fortune, but she's never happier than when she's walking the dog."Then there's TV, which I've seen some of at odd hours since moving from the dorm into a hotel on the day of the opening ceremony.Mishal Husain gets my vote for favorite BBC announcer. Maybe that can get me into the tabs: "Desert journalist fixated on our Mishal. Keep your scummy hands off!"Pathetic. On the other hand, the same columnist produced AN ENTIRE PAGE of Olympic content Saturday. Except for the (non-Presswire) photo, courtesy of the subject's family.Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/sports/olympics/articles/20120726postcards-from-2012-london-olympics.html#ixzz23FwX2Vj8
Here's what happens when we remove all checks and balances in our digital news operation -- and breathlessly rush to be first:Cincinnati.com -- Update: Reds down Jets in preseason opener. 11:28 p.m.Remember, guys: We're fixing to ask people to pay for this product.
@2:31 . . . of COURSE the Reds beat the Jets. Bailey is a MUCH BETTER picture than Tebow.
SIXTEEN hours after I read on the Drudge Report that Romney had picked Paul Ryan for the Republican VP candidate, still not a peep of it on the local Gannett website athttp://www.tallahassee.com/This is one of a thousand examples of why people are NOT going to pay for this lamestream pap.
I work at a Louisiana paper other than Shreveport. From where I sit, it seems to me as though Shreveport was doing just fine until we all got moved to the Midwest Group under the direction of LH and LG. Hell, Shreveport was known as the "darling" of all the Louisiana papers. I never thought I'd say this, but Hurst had a better handle on managing the Louisiana papers as a whole than these two ladies do. I can't believe what's happened to Shreveport under Griewe and Hollingsworth's watch. But let me guess, since it's all about finger pointing now, Bailey will take the fall and these two will continue to sit pretty while they continue to try to "fix" this mess they've created. From what I'm reading with 8:52's comment, and knowing what I know, it seems to me like they had it pretty good before LH and LG got involved.
Hey it could happen. Intra league, intra sports play. Cinncy is just way ahead of the curb. Score one again for the Schoolmarm!! I smell President's Ring!!
The Shreveport community is very aware of all the negative changes at The Times over the last year. I'm afraid it won't be able to recover. There is a lot of animosity inside and outside of this place.
Nice headline in the Appleton paper today, since changed on web: "Police shoots man downtown." Not officer or police shoot.With no night editor anymore, don't know if that lapse was from the remaining copy editors who now are web posters, or the fine design team in Des Moines.Either way, I hope the Gannettoid responsible never ends up on "Are you Smarter than a fifth grader."
I have been reading about this former Cincinnati editor, Ron Liebau, who passed away last week. On posts here, in the obit that published and on Facebook comments, he certainly earned much respect from his former colleagues. I think Jim mentioned some prominent folks (former Enq. editor Tom Callinan and current Register editor Rick Green) were quoted about Liebau's skills and contributions. They said some glowing words. In reading the obit, I noticed not a word from the current Enquirer management. Nothing from CW or MB. Why is that? Why would the passing of an obvious high-performer earn so little recognition from the current editor and publisher? It's puzzling to me.
Good luck to all my ex co workers still with GANNETT your going to need it!
6:38 I'm doing just fine. Stayed with the company, got a great raise and live my boss!
Cant wait for the Bengals to beat the Mets.
Ron Liebau was indeed highly respected by those who worked with him. He was a pro who helped guide us all into the digital era -- and worked to keep standards high on both platforms. So it was a shock to most of us when he was callously dismissed in one of the rounds of Enquirer layoffs. He was one of many 50-something editors purged from the newsroom. CW and MB's explanations (the positions were eliminated) ring hollow when one sees how many youngsters have since been hired on both online and print copy desks to replace the higher-paid boomers. Sure, the titles might be slightly different, and they can spin it every which way, but you'd have to be naive, stupid or both not to see these layoffs for what they were. One young copy editor (after just one year's experience on the desk) was transferred to the online desk, and is now doing much of what Ron did, at less than half what he made.You do the math.Those of you who have been treated the way Ron was know what that kind of stress can do to a person. And that is why you won't read any glowing quotes from CW or MB about Ron.
6:21, CW or MB were the henchwomen responsible for Mr. Liebau professional demise.
Hey 6:21, Washburn or Buchanan were the ones who kicked him to the curb. He had the immense respect and admiration of his colleagues because he was everything those two are not.
Add to that Jacksonville beating the Giants 32-21. Too bad the REAL score was 32-31! It supposedly came from AP but aren't these things supposed to be proof read?
I still remember the day the day I cancelled my subscription to the local paper. Bob Gabordi wrote an op-ed piece touting the incredible success they were having on the digital front. Page views and "hits" were at at record highs. I thought to myself, this is basically an @ss kissing memo to management that he is also using to fill up space in the actual paper. I decided this was the end of me paying for this sort of trash. I canceled my subscription.I really didn't think much of Bob. I thought he was a terrible listener, he attacked readers, he boasted way too much, and the product's quality plummeted with his arrival. I still check in once in a while. Bob is still there. It doesn't look like he writes much anymore. It doesn't look like people read much there anymore either. I noticed they got rid of the dissent, with the facebook authentication requirement. It looks like a ghost town now. The best "content" they ever had in the past 5 years was written by the readers, but now nothing. I read something he wrote recently and it seemed rather humble actually, so maybe he turned a corner. I always missed the local news though. Sure I kept checking on things once in awhile. The barber shop always had the paper. The running joke with my barber was that I would always count the declining number of locally written articles(excluding sports, fluff, and shills). Then one day the barber shop stopped the subscription. They said no one ever picked the thing up anymore. I recalled that recently the paper was usually perfectly folded when I picked it up at noon.At some point after that I became interested in why whomever owned this paper could allow this editor to bring the whole thing down. I found my way here.I have to apologize to Bob. I thought he was the problem. He isn't. I am sure he is doing the best he can with the resources and direction he is provided. Based upon what I have read here, I don't think Superman could put a good product out under this management. Bob, I sincerely apologize for the numerous tongue lashings I have delivered to your good name at cocktail parties all over the city. This is not a recession, editor, or industry problem. This is just a plain old total management failure. It is all right here. These people are not qualified to do anything except keep it on cruise control, even if they are headed into the ditch. Something good will rise from this mess. It may be that the competition moves in to fill the market vacuum. It may be some other company purchases the old papers and revives them by trying something new. This is not sustainable. One day I will get the opportunity to subscribe to a reborn or new paper and I can't wait for the day.
1:26 AM: LOL. You're going to have to wait a heck of a long time, gramps. You'd be better off dreaming of a comeback for the slide rule.Hate to break it to you, but the fact is that Gannett has outperformed most of the industry just by staying out of bankruptcy court.
I have a lot of respect for Ron Liebau. The reason you didn't see anything from management is because they have nothing to say. They ran a lot of people out of there. Wasburn started dumping staff just four weeks after she wandered into the Enquirer from Iowa. She continued her extermination in June 2011. Yes, they've replaced the institutional knowledge with kids who run headlines like Reds top Jets. But what would Washburn or Buchanan say about Ron? "He was a concientious editor who moved into the digital age and really cared about our news product until we called him on one of the first vacations he had taken with his family in a long time and told him not to bother coming back." You really expect them to be able to comment on that?
7:25 sounds like me before i got laid off!!! watch your back nothing is solid-you don't believe it until it happens to you!
Margaret Buchanan wouldn't even walk down the hall to see a long time retiree off at their retirment party. That's a few years ago's when employee's actually were able to retire before being kicked to the curb. She could care less about an employee or former employee unless they make her chosen close small circle of people she actually likes. She is the least caring person I've ever known or worked with. As far as Washburn, she would probably have to get MB's permission to speak on the subject.
8:24's post is the perfect response to the rambling of 1:26.The old, out-of-touch people who populate this blog need to move forward. Stop looking back.
The journal news was pathetically late to get any coverage of rmney's vp pick onto lohud.
And, emulating Margaret, the Schoolmarm sat in her office last December during a newsroom-wide recognition of three staffers who were "retiring" after being told their jobs were to be eliminated. One of those was a 40-year sports editor. Another had more than 30 years at the Enquirer. The third had 10 years under her belt. As the entire staff gathered in the newsroom to honor these dedicated colleagues with tributes, gifts and food/drink, Carolyn hid in her office mere yards away. She couldn't even come out to thank them for their service. What a slap in the face to those journalists who'd given their all to this company.It's a positively toxic environment.
The Arizona Republic announces its digital strategy. As usual, they do a nice job of threading the needle and making the digital sub case. Really well-run paper. $10 per month digital-only is very reasonable. What ISN'T said, is how much the paper+digital (aka Full Access) cost will be. Guess we'll have to wait for the memo. Or see what the deduction jumps to on payday.http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/20120811arizona-republic-subscription-model-new.html
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Revenue is what matters. Which newspapers in Gannett are performing the best against YOY and/or budget? This information coupled with editorial performance will tell us a little about where the soup is good versus the perceptions this blog creates. Perceptions may be reality, and knowing which are ahead would underline comments or this list might offer counterpoints. We do not need numbers, but we should know which newspapers are the leaders in revenue generation against previous performance.
8:24 and 10:58 Slide rule and gramps? Perfect response? I am at least two decades away from being a grampa. That response contains nothing of substance. It is basically name calling and trying to attack the author. I would characterize both of your replies as bland, low brow, sophomoric, smug, and adding nothing of relevance to the discourse. Perfect for a reply from Gannett management maybe. It reminds me of modern politics, pick a team and just keep saying the same garbage over, and over again. Nobody learns anything, and they just look for someone to reinforce their existing beliefs. I makes them feel superior, but they can't even take the time to check the facts. They certainly would not want to learn anything Thrifty nickel appears to have avoided bankruptcy, you are in good company. You can avoid bankruptcy by cutting the staff to zero and just selling internet ads of AP news. Would that be success to new leaders of the digital new world?Perhaps you could talk about the performance of the paper in question. Maybe you could compare it to other papers in Florida. Let's pick some metrics to compare results. Maybe you could suggest a few. I am thinking about circulation trends, market penetration, and financials. Lets talk about the best performing papers and how Gannett's properties compare to those success stories. Maybe you could contribute something.Some of the wisest and smartest things I ever heard came out of the mouths of Grandpas. You would be wise to listen to them. I can still hear some at times, they are that powerful. The words you two have assembled barely qualify as content and a real debate or logic teacher would probably shake their head.Keep typing though, you are making my point for me.
CINCIMust be losing tons of money, to dump so many people, so fast. And it is only getting worse.Get out, while the getting is still available, y'all.Capts. Gannettoid are obviously way over their heads.Res ipsa. LOL at their dim-ness.
Two articles in today's Arizona Republic outlining new model for newspapers. John Zidich mentioned the great circ numbers for print than explains how the print model is no longer viable. The sound you're hearing is advertisers and their dollars running for the doors. This is the beginning of a direction away from print, suggesting 2 things- Layoffs and readers will now be able to purchase poor reporting, editing and limited coverage on multiple platforms.
Reading all the posts about Enquirer top managers, it puzzles me that Gannett execs don't take any actions. There is clearly something wrong in Cincy. If I were a CEO, I'd sure want to fix it. Toxic managers can destroy a company.
2:47 how do you know it's not a small group of toxic employees?
I hate to break it to you, 8:24, but at the moment "gramps" and his friends are keeping you in your Gannett job, such as it is. When the people who can still think and read in this country finally throw in the towel and move on to support other sources of local information, your employment is done. Show some respect, you impertinent little whippersnapper. Wake up before you, too, are kicked to the curb. Insulting your customers is not a generally recognized pathway to success.
Hey 1:26 am –You were hitting the nail on the head until your last paragraph. Then you hammered your thumb.Bob is the catalyst to the problem. He deserves no apologies. He is roundly despised in that town for the deconstruction of a community product that was pretty solid until Knight-Ridder unloaded it to Gannett for 30 shekels of silver half a dozen years ago.Take it from someone who knows, firsthand.And there are dozens of us.
Thanks, 6:30, for expressing what many us are thinking!
1:47 PM - Here's the only metric you need to know, Gramps: The newspaper industry's top line shrank by more than two-thirds in just 11 years. And it doesn't have a blessed thing to do with any of the things you mention.
The Desert Sun can't be one of the revenue leaders with all the cuts and layoffs they've had lately.
How does the math work on the Az Republic plan? I suspect a dramatic reduction in print would save the paper ink, paper, distribution, returns, shrinkage... This announcement must mean someone's determined when print will end because the current unprofitable model will only get worse as people migrate to digital options.And, as soon as marketing materials hit the shelves promoting the digital option retailers will be very unhappy finding their retail space is promoting a product that won't be sold in their store and in fact could reduce traffic. Newspapers have always promoted their value to retailers as bringing people into the store.
We can sum this up with: No print = no digital = no Gannett. Without the local "paper", no advertiser is going to purchase digital.
$92 million or $40 million?http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/morning_call/2012/08/gannett-to-acquire-blinq-media-for-40m.html?ana=yfcpc
Yes, 6:30pm and 7:39pm, we couldn't agree more about the sad state of affairs at what's left of the Tallahassee newsroom.Signed,One of the dozens
GRAMPS 1Alright, kooky old "Gramps" here again. I finished my prune juice, had a nap, and right now the shuffleboard courts are rained out, so I am back.Thanks for sharing the top line declined by 2/3rds in eleven years part. That is a start. I know that Realtor.com has pulled all the RE business away. I know that CL has basically grabbed the classified business. I know those revenue streams were critical. I know the internet changes the market. I know that you have to compete with all sorts of new competitors. I also know that it looks like you may have lost close to half your circulation in that same time period. All those customers didn't leave because the classifieds disappeared. They all didn't go to your free website for the news. I am sure some did. I am sure a few folks dropped because the ads were fun and now they are sparse. As a matter of fact, I can't recall one person I know saying they dropped the paper because of any of those things. They all say a variation of the same thing. The quality of the paper just continued to decline. They give specifics and details. They say things like "the articles are so short now". They say, "it seems like everything reads like little blurbs off the newswires", , "did the paper just get narrower", "many of the articles sound like a press release." "I think I read an article in the paper this morning that was an ad for another article in the upcoming Sunday paper", "I think I read an article that a company paid for and it was not labeled as an ad anywhere, is that legal?" Each one of those is pretty close to what actual real people have said to me in discussing the local paper over the past few years. I am not doing some market research, we don't advertise in your paper, this is just casual conversation. You can't make this stuff up, those were your customers. I used to see a paper 5 or 6 times a day. The only time I ever see one these days is in a convenience store. They are always covered with bright multicolored graphics, usually some silly stickers, and often you have to turn the thing over before you can read a headline.This has been going on for eleven years and all you have to say is "The newspaper industry's top line shrank by more than two-thirds in just 11 years" That is a pretty sad excuse, along with a dismissive delivery. Nothing positive, no bright spots? Do you always set the bar at the average? What about the tails on that bell curve? How much of that is the internet? How much is the loss of classifieds. You would agree that at least a healthy portion of the plummeting revenues are due to a decline in circulation. It looks like you may have lost close to 50% of your customers in that time period at my local paper. Is everyone losing that many customers? I bet the demographics are horrible too. I would expect you to lose about 50% of your revenues if half of your customers are gone. They are gone because the product has declined in value. If that is your reply, how much do you really know about why those revenues are declining. Have you mapped out track-able metrics on every business that remotely resembles a newspaper? Who is kicking butt, what are they doing right? Where are they doing well. Surely there some areas where Gannett can improve to get back to average, if that is the bar. Maybe you should raise the bar. What strategies have not been tried? Have you gone for the high end, the low end, narrow audiences? What strategies have you even explored? It does not seem like anything of substance has even been explored. You gave it away, then you cut the quality, now you want to charge for it, but there is nothing left to sell people. The local heehaw tv station could add a reporter and half to staff and have a better web product. Certainly you know more about what is really going on with your customers. There has to be something bright to latch onto in the new world of news, print or digital.
GRAMPS 2The market has changed, I agree. You can't seriously think you or this company has fully explored all the options. What about a regional paper; all the real reporting I read at the state level is done by papers in other cities that send their reporters here. Maybe you should fold this thing into one of those. Maybe you could focus on the middle/upper income segment. A one page summary of local news with links to other paper's real reporting would be worth 10 bucks month. Especially, if I could get it on one page and not have to spend 10 minutes poking thorough virtual sections with week old content presented as current. Maybe you should go weekly. Maybe you should give this thing away. Maybe you should split into conservative and liberal papers, every body else seems to be avoiding content that challenges their belief system. Tallahassee has a highly educated population, you can't expect a product that, in my opinion is the worst daily I have read in the state, to actually work with that customer base. Seriously, are you still stuck on those "revenues" that have been declining for 11 years. Continuing to cut expenses YoY is a vicious cycle. You need a growth strategy, that would be something where things are growing. Things like circulation, better demographics, market penetration, total time spent reading your paper, lower customer churn. New digital subscriptions, that were not converted physical paper customers. Things that meant you had captured the attention of new real people spending real money, valuable time, and they had decided to spend their scarce time and hard earned money on your product because it was the best product they could find for the money. It looks like this current strategy is the tried and true race to the bottom, you might as well outsource the reporters to India, let the police department and schools publish their own press releases, put this whole thing on the web and let google sell the ads.
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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