Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sept. 10-16 | Your News & Comments: Part 7

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  1. To 1:55 PM from yesterday:

    Nice rant but Banikarim’s fixation on balls (a Fraudian event...they’re just dots and circles) and her sharing of it harmed Gannett, crossing a line that should at a minimum result in disciplinary action up to and including her departure given the boundaries crossed.

    That’s the point as she and Martore through her silence to date have now publicly condoned sexually charged language and innuendo in Gannett’s workplace, acts other employees have been punished for demonstrating.

    It was dumb and if left unchecked, costly.

    To use language they now obviously like: Matore doesn’t need to have physical balls to go deep on this one, which is to beat Banikarim hard – even blue (…maybe that’s the wrong color, but all get the point), else Gannett stakeholders will get screwed by employees and lawyers already at half-mast who’ve long dreamt of sticking it back to Gannett.

  2. No one cares about Banikarim except the ex marketing staff. Get a life and move on

  3. I am not ex marketing staff and I care. Talk to employees at the Gannett sites (I know, what do they matter?) and you will find that they are very upset, appalled and embarrassed by this email that was sent. At best, the email was unprofessional, juvenile, embarrassing, irresponsible, and the list goes on and on. If there wasn't before, there is now a sense of panic and urgency to get out of this company because this email proved that Corporate does not have this company or its employees in its best interests. If Maryam isn't sent packing on this one, there should be a lawsuit for the unprofessional conduct that puts Gannett's reputation on the line and therefore its employees well being.

  4. @9:51 – For a defender of Gannett’s top marketer your lot demonstrates you have little marketing skills of your own as evidenced by always using the same old defense that it’s a few, ex marketing staffers.

    It’s not.

    You also demonstrate your lack of knowledge of how language like Banikarim endorsed contributes to the creation of hostile work environments, and that’s the larger point here, one that goes completely over yours and others, dare I write heads.

  5. Dear Gracia,

    I am a former USAT employee. I left of my own accord three years ago, and continue to work in the industry. My current employer does business with Gannett, so I do not feel comfortable sending a complaint by postal mail or posting here under my own name. I am confident, however, that this message will reach you via Gannett’s public relations staff.

    Maryam Banikarim's endorsement and retransmission of the ostensibly lighthearted "balls" email is one of the most shocking displays of sexism that I have encountered in my decades in the industry. Imagine that a male employee had sent an email using a different metaphor, likening the new logo to "jugs," "melons," or "tits." What would be the company’s reaction? Swift and certain, I would hope.

    The original memo, while in poor taste, was a communication solely between its author and recipient. In that case, only the recipient was in a position to judge whether the message comprised harassment. Now, however, your CMO's poor judgment opens Gannett to both ridicule in the trade press (which is occurring already) and claims by current employees of a hostile work environment.

    As someone who does business with Gannett, I personally feel uncomfortable knowing that the highest levels of corporate management not only condone but participate in the distribution of such questionable communication. If my current manager had not asked me to put aside my feelings for the sake of our company’s relationship with Gannett, I would be filing a formal complaint with Gannett’s legal staff and the EEOC.

    Based on my time at Gannett, I believe that a rank-and-file employee who had distributed such a memo would find herself terminated with cause. Are Gannett’s corporate officers held to lesser standards than those whom they manage? I hope not.

    Ms. Banikarim should issue a public apology to all whom her actions offended and submit her resignation immediately. Having her continue in her position will raise serious questions about equitable treatment of Gannett employees who deal in sexual innuendo. As a current shareholder, I do not like the risk that possibility poses to my investment.

  6. Of course there are different standards for Gannett execs than for their employees!

    I and about 200 rank-and-file witnessed that fact some time back when an exec sent out an e-mail with a logo that was highly inappropriate to all and offensive to many.

    It was inadvertent and the poor guy was extremely embarrassed, and he immediately apologized openly and sincerely to everyone for not looking at the logo closely. Most folks understood, and knew he was a decent guy.

    Yet that same rank-and-file also knew it was quite evident in our environment that if the tables were turned with this wholly inadvertent gaffe in one of our e-mails -- after all, a mistake? We'd be out the door in 60 seconds flat, if that, no apology necessary.

    So the hubbub over Maryam Banikarim's tacky crudeness seems a little naive in the larger scheme of things -- especially at Gannett.

  7. Blue balls, embarrassing, and immature. Sets this corporation on the playground with a playboy mentality. The logo means nothing.

  8. "Full Access" starts tomorrow in Phoenix. Mark your calendars, tomorrow will be the beginning of a planned elimination of print. The in-paper promos detail all you'll be able to get on-line, full print edition via email... I feel sorry for those in circulation. When retailers realize they're providing valuable space to a product marketing itself as something you can get without leaving home, they too will run from the paper.

  9. Gannett has been in the process of eliminating print. They no longer will offer a printed Newspaper subscription only. That says it all right there. they have downgraded service by contracting single copy out to private distributors that they have little control over. They have raised the price of the Single copy papers while cutting product size and content. They are so wrong if they believe all those that enjoy reading a Newspaper would just as soon read it on a device. advertisers will soon pick up on this if they haven't already. For those that say everybody is doing this I say. So what is Gannett a follower or a leader. People who want online would have ordered online anyways. People who were dropping the paper because they were moving away from it would have anyway. The decrease in circulation would have plateaued at some point and Gannett still would have made a profit. But Gannett leaders are greedy and thoughtless.

  10. It 's true service has been declining since they created GPS, and circulation has followed. Now they are raising prices to try and keep revenue neutral.

  11. 9:51 your efforts to defend a non defendable Banikarim have run dry. This time she hung herself.

  12. The price of a single copy paper in my area has now doubled in just three years while layoffs and buyouts have continued. Not to mention furloughs and wage freezes.

  13. 1:41 what people in circulation? they have out sourced almost the entire circulation department.

  14. @1:41 . . . full access is HERE. Got my digital copy in my morning email. But here's the kicker (and another one to come).

    The geniuses at circ failed to perceive that the computers would read accounts with no money as "deadbeats" and create an auto-stop. And whose accounts have no money? Employees, who pay every two weeks by paycheck deduction. You see where this is going.

    If you know a District Manager in Phoenix, ask them how many complaints they got - on a Sunday - from employees. Don't stand too close when you ask. Keep in mind this is just a few days before end of quarter bonuses are calculated.

    Here's the other kicker of digital + print. NO CREDIT FOR VACATION STOPS. You still have digital access. Just because you don't get print doesn't mean you're not a consumer. The perfect business model, wouldn't you say? Some law firm ought to at least consider a class-action suit on this question.

    Finally, I suppose it's a quibble. Same "old" USA logo on the weekend insert. Yes, I know it's pre-printed. Just like my useless TV Week.

    Did the USA Weekend supplement shrink? Had to look a couple times for it. Found it hiding behind the coupons.

    Think papers aren't for geezers? (Had that conversation with my aunt, who wants nothing to do with digital) Couple of the ads in USA-W:

    1) Can Any Cream Cure Turkey Neck?

    2) Dr. Paul's Piggy Paste (nail fungus)

  15. 3:08 one question, when you go on vacation do you get a vacation stop with your cable company?

  16. 3:08 Now that you admitted to being an employee you have opened yourself up to pathetic childish attacks by co-workers. How dare you complain about the service this company clothes, and feeds you.

  17. 3:08, I myself don't think papers are for geezers as much as now being rebranded for them.

    Sure, I love reading the paper. Well, not USAT... I stopped buying that cartoon around 2005. Kept thinkin' it was a hiccup, maybe it would get back on track.

    And the local Gannett paper? No way in hell. So, physically and online both, now I read overseas papers and for home I read the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.

    Yes, everyone knows the LAT and NYT are not the same animal as they once were (the LAT was the first to fall), but it beats the hell out of reading amateurish writing flying in the face of first-year journalism).

    Once in a while the local paper has really good work, and I don't intend to slam a skeleton staff. But I expect to see a better standard or else stop publishing Gannett's version of People Magazine.

    But that's how they're now being marketed, papers: geezers. If these folks had any clue, they would ramp up both platforms in tandem (geezers have more money) but similar to Gannett's captains lack of journalistic background, never mind ethics, they aren't interested in that either. To them it's just one big ego trip, nothing more.

    Before some presumptive kid leaps with his or her characteristic and frankly embarrassing self-important lack of context, I'm a dinosaur who loves all things digital.

    Early adopter way before my site ever got around to it. Even wrote some proposals and warnings for the higher-ups, but this was back in the early 90s. Mostly got told to mind my own business.

    I thought that contributing constructive suggestions to the paper's relevance was my business since it was my career, my livelihood. But back then I was quite the silly rabbit.

    Now I read the "controversy" between the two camps: paper and digital.

    If Gannett had invested in either, 15 years ago or even five, it would not have seen as many advertisers tossing it into the sea -- even with a recession.

    But that boat sailed, leaving thousands of careers in its wake.

  18. @3:51 . . . you can indeed "suspend" your cable service. No one thinks about it, but you can. Why would you pay if you're not using it?

    Further - similar to having a missed delivery - if your cable or internet goes out, you can ask for a credit. Of course, you have to decide if that's worth your time on the phone.

    My point about the paper is this: Many Gannett papers raised their rates - a lot - to ostensibly upgrade their reporting and give it to you on the net. There must be a metric to determine that extra worth, and how to charge for it.

    Does it not follow that the print component also has a value, and when the subscriber does not use that (very costly) component, the subscriber should get a break?

    Finally, in reference to the missed paper today, I got an e-mail from customer service early in the day stating that I would receive credit for a missed paper. So the value of print - to the company - is known.

  19. Agree with 10:13 am!!! Shame on Maryam for sending it to all employees and shame on Gracia for not handling it quicker.

  20. I wish those "ex marketers" would come back and Banikarim would get her ass kicked out of Gannett and the industry.

  21. Why do Susie Ellwood and Sandra Micek always blame criticism of Maryam Banikarim squarely on the former marketing staff? Do they have any proof of this?

  22. I used to have azcentral as my home page, when going on line it now asks for my subscription info. So now I have KTAR as my home page.

  23. @11:11 . . . I got the same deal this morning. Very irritating.

    Reminds me of a good point a marketing guru made years ago.

    When you go into a supermarket to spend $10 on a six-pack and bag of chips, you can use the "express lane" or self-checkout, and be out in a minute.

    But if you have a cart full of groceries worth $100 - $200, you wait in a long line with other people also spending a lot of money.

    The point being, the "best customers" (measured by dollars spent) have the "worst" checkout experience. Doesn't seem right, does it?


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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