Thursday | Aug. 28 | Got news, or a question?

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32 Responses to “Thursday | Aug. 28 | Got news, or a question?”

  1. Jim Hopkins Says:

    All: To keep things fresh, I’ve just started this new open-comments string. You can always return to earlier editions by clicking on the Real Time Comments label in the blue sidebar, to the right.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Is it safe to still put money into the 401K? I read someone raising a question about the possiblity of losing that money. I don’t have alot of money, but I sure don’t want to lose it.

  3. Jim Hopkins Says:

    @8:29 am: The money that you contribute to your 401(k) from your paycheck is always yours; the company can’t take it away.

    Is it safe? That depends on how you invest your money in the account. Any money invested in, for example, stocks, will be subject to the same ups-and-downs as any other stock investment.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    APP FINALLY to have meetings today with publisher, in wake of layoffs LAST tuesday

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Jim,

    Smaller newspaper. Less, worse content. Increased price. Outsourced (or non-existent) customer service. And now, no re-delivery.

    Most Gannett employees have no control over these changes and policies. We speak up here, but the devolution continues to occur. I guess we can continue to bemoan our industry’s state and wait for everything to hit rock bottom… and hope something good rises from the dust.

    But what role does the customer play in all of this? I know it’s on the borderline of blaming the victim of all this nonsense, but where is the collective outrage?

    Customers, be they reader/subscribers or advertisers, should be up in arms about this stuff, calling and writing publishers and corporate… I’m afraid they’re too complacent and indifferent to do so.

    Not as businessmen, but as servants of our readers, how do we remind people how important local journalism is? How screwed people will be when we’re extinct…

    Would love to know your thoughts… sometimes I just wonder if we’re all barking up the wrong tree. There are days I want to write a letter to the editor under a pseudonym asking readers to get angry about the state of American journalism across the board, not just Gannett… and to stand up and help journalists fight for it because we really can’t do it alone.

    But they’d never publish that letter…

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Word going around in Phoenix is Finance dept is going to get hit by Jan/Feb. Est. 75 employees total. The dept has to drop to 25.
    “Supposedly” a list will go out next month so the employees can start looking for new jobs.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    http://adage.com/mediaworks/article?article_id=130562

    Some companies ARE giving information about online revenue. And it seems some companies ARE enhancing rather than destroying their print products.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    We’re in Clarksville, Tenn., one of Gannett’s smaller properties, but we were told yesterday by our publisher that he’s “retiring,” effective tomorrow. Two days’ notice? Does anyone know if this is part of Gannett’s reorganization? Does anyone know who our new publisher will be?

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Lets be honest Clarksville your pub is retirement age. He’ll never tell what is going on.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    To 10:11
    No one is answer the phone, so the complaints don’t exist.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Clarksville: I wouldn’t expect another publisher — not a Gannett one, anyway.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Some Jackson, MS finance employees have been told that their jobs are being sent to corporate. Maybe the paper will save enough money for the Publisher to redecorate his office again.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    11:45, I’m not sure what you mean. We’ve got to have a publisher, don’t we?

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Me again with the pension problems….

    I still cannot get HR either locally or at corporate to tell me the status of getting my lump sum from them. I have emailed, left phone messages. No response. Not even the dignity of an email response.

    Any advice. If they ignore calls and emails, what good is sending a certified letter. Should I notify federal authorities about this? Should I get an attorney? Anone else have a problem?

    I am losing money having it sit in Gannett’s banks when it should be in my hands making money for me.

    I’m very frustrated by their stonewalling.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    You only need a publisher if you publish.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    12:35, emails and phone calls they can pretend they didn’t receive. Certified letters — return receipt — must be signed for.

    But at this point, reach out to the Labor Department of the state you live in and yes, I’d at least talk to a lawyer.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    http://www.pensionrights.org/contact.php

    http://www.erisa.com/

  18. Anonymous Says:

    One way to spin laying off a mascot.

    http://www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080828/BUSINESS/808280349/1003/BUSINESS

  19. ash Says:

    Jim,

    A question for you and your readers: what is Gannett’s strategy for “MetroMix”? From what little I know, it appears that Gannett newspapers are replacing weekend entertainment sections with MetroMix.

    Is this a new strategy? Is Gannett banking on MetroMix to save the day? Why the change to standardize entertainment sections across the board?

    Inquiring minds, Jim…

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Any news on what came out of the APP meeting?

  21. Anonymous Says:

    I fear this Metromix move is yet another ill-conceived effort to (a) fill the sites with free content and (b) create a national brand that can be sold to national advertisers.

    The biggest problem with Metromix (besides being annoyingly clumsy to use) is that the only way to keep the content current and accurate is through constant effort. Otherwise, it’s obsolete starting from Day One. Meaning — PAID STAFF.

    Restaurant and club owners, believe it or not, could care less about doing our work for us. They certainly are not going to report when they go out of business, or get busted for health code violations or underage drinking.

    If your site has 500, or 1000 or 1500 or 2000 listings doesn’t matter if they are not kept correct and up to date.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    from what i gather, the app mtg was just to talk about regrouping & recovering revenue. wow – what a new concept. heard donovan seemed genuine, but he seemed genuine last year when he told us that he, unlike collins, understands that "you can't slash your way to profitability".

  23. Anonymous Says:

    12:06, if you have another Gannett paper near by you might have a shared pub. A few papers are already putting a pub. over more than one paper. Good luck with that if it happens.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    Nearest Clarksville is Nashville, where the publisher has her hands filled already. Gene Washer, the retiring Clarksville publisher, is 68, three years beyond normal retirement age, and kept around to allow GCI to figure out what to do. I gather he got fed up waiting for a decision after three years.
    The big gameplan, I once heard, involved folding both the Leaf-Chronicle and the Murfreesboro Daily News-Journal into the Tennessean despite the distances involved. Think that plan still alive, maybe part of the move towards creating statewide newspapers in Arizona, New Jersey and Tennessee. Stay tuned.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    Putting middle Tennessee together a long-time GCI dream. Dickson, Gallatin, Henderson, Fairview and Ashland already under Tennessean, so it would only be a small step to bring in Clarksville and Murfreesboro. The problem is that the Tennessean’s presses already contracted out to other publications, including Nashville Scene, City Paper, and the Nashville Business Journal. Cramming the other publications would be very difficult, but would save a huge amount of money. Since Gannett is looking for cost savings, I’ll bet they will go ahead with this plan and work out the difficulties afterwards.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    If you are having problems with HR responding to your requests go to the department in person and ask. From what I’ve heard it’s not the local HR people that are the problem but the ones at corporate as they do all of the calculations and publish and send the letters and benefit statements. The local HR people have, for the most part, been hung out to dry on the pension and 401k transfers. All they can do is send your request up the ladder.
    One thing that might help is to start flooding Tara and others at corporate with emails asking for information or who to contact. If you know anyone at corporate send them an email for help.
    Also try Naveen Webb. her email is NSwebb@Gannett.com.

    Glad to help 12:56

  27. Anonymous Says:

    Metromix… another cookie cutter website. Or another losing product like Sunday Select (no gains in Circ like they thought). Did the same person think of both products. interesting concept to have your ad staff focusing on products that will and are upside down.

    Then the COE, if corporate did the analysis I’m willing to bet there are no savings in having the COE after you take in to consideration retention lost and other local things you can do help readership via paper and Online.

  28. Anonymous Says:

    Jim:
    In another post, you referenced the mysterious exit of Tom Curley. Of course you noticed the coincidence of his being named to replace Louis D. Bocardi at AP on March 8, 2003. Then on July 7, 2003, Gannett elected Bocardi to its board.

    Incidentally, one of the first things Curley did as CEO was to stop lowering the prices charged to papers as their circulation dropped.

  29. Anonymous Says:

    Please remember this when you’re frustrated about 401K and pensions:
    1. Gannett is a corporate giant, not some little bitty struggling not-for-profit.
    2. Gannett planned and is following through with a massive layoff.
    3. Gannett’s unwilingness or inability to manage an employee exit program is not your fault.
    4. Gannett can feed you popcorn, set your work hours and treat you anyway they want to. But when it comes to certain things like pensions, you’re supposed to have some protection under laws. Hold Gannett accountable to ERISA provisions please, and then come back here and let us know about your successes.

  30. Anonymous Says:

    Gannett to open their books?

    Here’s the latest in the contract dispute in Honolulu…..

    http://starbulletin.com/2008/08/28/business/story04.html

  31. Anonymous Says:

    In re problems getting your pension money:

    Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)
    200 Constitution Avenue, NW
    Room N-5623
    Washington, DC 20210
    Contact EBSA
    Tel: 1-866-444-EBSA (3272)
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627

    They also have regional offices. Look for the link here:
    http://www.dol.gov/compliance/laws/comp-erisa.htm

  32. Anonymous Says:

    I had to laugh at some of these comments about pensions and 401k. These are benefits which have specific rules they must follow. Just as others have said, you can’t break these rules without consequences. However, it does not mean that the day after someone leaves the company the money is just sitting there waiting to be taken.

    My close friend John lost his job in the layoffs. He was actually quite happy, as he was going to retire next year anyway. Still, when he wanted clarification on his pension and 401k he thought he was getting the runaround. After a little bit of help from HR here, he learned: he can get his 401k moved easily once he is actually terminated in the system. That takes a week to 10 days to get from here to corporate to outside administrator. In the meantime, he can do whatever he wants to with the 401 k on the website…just non new money goes in. He can move between funds, etc.

    As for the pension, he was told he’d get a pension letter outlining all within the legally mandated time frame. I think he said 60 days. But it takes some time to finalize. No big deal.

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