Reader: Work harder for Gannett, or lose your job

Regarding my post about why your publisher is so crabby today, a reader says: “If Gannett is going to stay afloat, then they will need to drop about 15,000 more heads, just to keep up with the right sizing of the organization just this year alone. Gannett people, take a dose of reality. Between the two people you see to your left and right, one of you has to go! I am an shareholder of this stock and have been following this blog. It pains me to see such complacency. You are in trouble. Work harder and make more money for the company or lose your job.”

Join the debate, in the original post.

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56 Responses to “Reader: Work harder for Gannett, or lose your job”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    To the “shareholder:” Obviously you are among the many bean counters interested only in short-term profit who have ruined this and every other public media company be caring more about what Wall Street has to say than in what good, responsible journalism demands. Gannett had always had the fattest profit margins in the business – far more than it ever really needed – and now that it’s hurting, you’re ready to sell it and the people who gave you those fat profits and stock splits back in the day right down the river. The only solace I take in this is that you, as a shareholder, have lost lots of money. If you don’t like newspapers, then go buy some oil stocks.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    We, former Gannettoids, shafted in some manner and form for no good measure, opted out of this stock years ago. The mutual fund companies will put pressure for Gannett to continue to downsize.

    The Perfect Storm has hit the major newspaper companies. All at the expense of the rank and file.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Maybe the word on Dickey is out. Maybe the years of the Evil Empire will come to an end.

    I’d be embarrassed to be one of those publishers who have been vilified here. Yet they cast their fortunes with hateful, obscene, and cruel machinations.

    The comments tell legions about Gannett and how they made their fortunes.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Why didn’t Dickey bring in either Donovan or Buchanan to clean up the advertising mess? I thought that they were the bright stars of Gannett? The marketing and sales genius.’ Or maybe Don Stinson is still kicking around hoping to bring back his 4 Circles of 4 or films of JFK and the Cuban crisis.
    What a world. What a mess.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Stinson, LOL! Wasn’t it three sets of three?

    By the way, how is the TIDE program working?

    Man, the list of failed programs Advertising has tried is legion.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    TIDE is actually working pretty well in those places people bother to use it.

    Like most anything else, these programs are only as good as their implementation on the ground.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Anon at 1:43 … True. Very true. Too bad Gannett Advertising could never get consistent implementation across the enterprise.

    Do you think it’s because some of the publishers didn’t believe in the program(s), there were too many programs to manage, advertising executives who failed to buy in, the severely lacking Genesys system, or a combination of all 4?

    If a combination, with whom do you think the responsibility primarily lies. Thanks.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    All these cutbacks and layoffs has created a horrible working environment at my paper. No one wants to be the next one cut so they do not work as a team, it is all individuals looking out to save themselves. As well all know it take positive team effort to put out a good product. This will never happen in the new “look out for you own ass” mentality. It is no longer Management vs Employee, it is now Employee vs Employee for survival. No good will come out of this.

  9. Jim Hopkins Says:

    @1:37 pm: If you saw the comments I deleted about other executives in recent months, you’d be wishing for more “hottie” observations.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    anon @ 1:55

    I think it’s a little of all of the factors you mention – but I worry about the constantly shifting focus most. TIDE is about fundamentally shifting the way we do business – not about selling an ad campaign. That kind of transformation is hard to accomplish when all the pieces are moving around you.

    I think the corporate team did an admirable job launching TIDE during the intensive training sessions last year – although the follow up could admittedly use some work. I attended the training in McLean and left feeling pretty fired up. Unfortunately, marshaling resources in the field in the face of multiple competing priorities is almost impossible.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Yes, it was always about competing management strategies…yours, your boss, your department head, your publisher, and your regional VP. The basics had got lost along the way.

    There was little morality when you openly heard your publisher make fun and belittle the employees. Hence the likes of Henry, Ivey, Silverman, Buchanan, Watson, Stier, and Sherlock will not be missed…or have been.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Jim@2:21pm: Why do you include those type blogs on your site? If you allow some of those sexual blogs why not allow all of them. I’m curious how do you choose which sexually disgusting blogs you allow and which ones you don’t.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    No big deal. Forget the sexual comments.

    Think about the lives of those who were burned out, bought out, laid off, and totally discouraged.

    For every single person let go, there is a family behind the person.

    Gannett won’t survive, it “can’t.”

  14. Anonymous Says:

    anon @2:57

    the guy who wrapped up the TIDE training during my session hammered in on this idea – you have to realign your ad department to become customer centric. You cant keep choking product down the throats of advertisers – got to sell them solutions, not stuff.

    anybody remember his name – young guy ran most of the sessions?

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Willy Loehman. Death of a Salesman. LOL

    Good point. But the Gannett corporate culture has always killed most initiatives.

    ADvance back in the late ’80’s spoke to this as well. Retailers have long memories.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Gannett comes up with all of these “programs” and training sessions which they think will save everything, but they have no clue about the real business environment out there. Advertisers need and must have results and a return on their investment. At the Courier-Post, for example, the objective is to sell ads no matter whether it’s good for the customer or not. The current idiots running tghe sales dept (led by the clueless publisher and his totally inept AD and middle management??) just want the sales people to march to their corporate tune and sell stuff they know is of no value to the advertisers. That’s why so many advertisers have given up and don’t want to spend the little money they do have in this difficult environment on a newspaper which has horrible (crashing) circulation numbers, terrible demographics and unbelievably awful penetration. This newspaper, like many other Gannett properties, lie about their real net circulation. Not to mention that the product is a shadow of its former self and the website looks like something produced by a high school journalism class during the first week of school.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    If only Dickey and others would read this last blog comment. This is the same crap that went on in the 1980’s. Shove the shit down the throat. Sales at all costs. $200 per column inch, special sections, no value to the customer, and more of the same. Not much has changed.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    Work harder and make the company more money? Fuck you! What Gannettoids actually need to do is grab torches and pitchforks and overthrow motherfuckers like you who spew such insidious bullshit. Gannett is where it is because of deep, systemic mismanagement that is culturally entrenched within the company. It has nothing to do with how hard people are or aren’t working. Seriously, fuck off and die.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    This tired “worker hard, do more with less” rant is the type of thinking that has put Gannett in this mess in the first place.

    If you don’t like the stock’s returns get out – but please don’t assume that if the journalists just worked a little harder things would magically improve.

    The sad truth is that Gannett has wrung out off the profit it can by slicing and dicing. It long ago began cutting the muscle and heart out of its newsrooms. In Indianapolis, for example, you have fewer reporters covering more ground and beibng forced to produce in more mediums than ever before.

    Today’s newspaper journalists don’t need to work harder. Rather, owners need to invest it the core compentency of a newspaper – journalists – if they are to remain relevant going forward.

    Face it, the years of 25-30 percent margins are gone. Adjust your reality.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    anon @5:10

    I’m not entirely sure the “work harder and make more money for the company’ comment was aimed at journalists. Your comments assume that the primary problem surrounds content creation. It doesnt, and frankly, it’s this kind of narrow focus that is feeding the downward spiral.

    The problem is revenue generation – not content generation. How can we generate sales multiples in a fragemented media environment? How can we maximize return for our advertisers?

    The problem isn’t Wall Street pressure from shareholders – it’s a rapidily shifting media landscape and our insbility to adapt.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Fear, dread, and finances. Fear of losing the job. Dread of working harder for little recourse. And fewer company benefits.

    The options don’t look pretty. More of the same, gets you more of the same.

    Between shit and a hard place. Neither is welcome.

    The company just like the stock…will flatten out.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    As a Gannett escapee, it’s clear, Shareholder, that you have no clue what the reality is. It’s all the things mentioned here — journalists being asked to provide content for multiple platforms and being stretched to a point where few would say they’re doing their best work; advertising departments forced to sell so many niche products that no one knows what market, exactly, we’re trying to reach; and circulation falling into the toilet because the ability to get news faster and through many media means the “new” generation has no use for much of what the print product has to offer. I worked in Asbury Park, where niche after niche was targeted, and most failed on every level because there were just too many niches and not enough substance. The few that did flourish (and generated real revenue) have been stripped to next to nothing by the brilliant minds in charge there now. It’s not a lack of hard work; most folks I knew were among the hardest working people you’d meet. Most of us give up far too much time with our families for raises that are wiped out and then some by health care increases. Get out of media stocks. It’s clear you know nothing of the industry you’re investing in.

  23. Larry Sackett Says:

    Jim,

    This blog has hit an incredible low. I can’t believe the anonymous posters who call a publisher a “bitch” and who all but accuse Denise Ivey of practicing witchcraft. I have known both Barb Henry and Denise for many years. They are professionals from the word go, who care about journalism, and have always tried to the right things by their staffs. It’s not remotely their fault that they’ve been forced to make the cuts and other tough decisions that are affecting the entire industry.

    Gannett management has made its fair share of mistakes. Some of the senior executives attacked in this blog deserve it. But it’s over the top to say what’s been said about Denise and Barb. You folks should be ashamed of yourselves. Jim, you take responsibility for letting the blog degenerate to this level. You too should be ashamed of yourself.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I spent 20 years with Gannett and left at the end of 1994. I was instrumental in the launch of USA Today.

    Larry Sackett

  24. Anonymous Says:

    @ 4:51: Thank you for saying the first thing that popped into my head.

    The reader was spot on with “You are in trouble. Work harder and make more money for the company or lose your job.” That is the current situation, absolutely. But until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes, or rather 1.6 miles due to staffing cuts, don’t you dare call me complacent.

    There’s a point where you can’t cut anymore and still get the necessary work done. Sadly, the one that get cut are the ones who do the work, not the corporate schmoes who spend the day thinking great thoughts.

  25. Jim Hopkins Says:

    Larry Sackett: Sorry you feel that way. But I now get comments, virtually 24/7. (Indeed, it’s now 2:23 am here on Ibiza.) I can’t sit by a computer, moderating comments all day. I do my best to back-read and delete, when necessary.

    Also, let me suggest that part of your unhappiness stems from surprise at the depths of hatred employees feel for the top brass. Well, Larry, welcome to the real Gannett.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    To Larry Sackett:

    What an appropriate name…Sack-less!!!

    You and everyone else in Gannett pretends to be instrumental in the building of USA Today. Quite an accomplishment. Did you learn that from Poison Ivey and Bitchy Bab’s?

    It might be easier if we just counted all the hands of people who weren’t responsible for the building of USA Today.

    Glad you are taking credit for the last innovation this company has seen.

    Why don’t you come back and invent something else?

  27. Anonymous Says:

    Larry, I resigned from Gannett after many, too many years. The company grew worse as the pressure was on to keep the top number growing. And the terseness, rude, cunning demeanor kept growing…the regional office made some of the best, worse. Some of your former friends became very callous in their treatment of staff. The comments aren’t pretty…the sad truth hurts.

  28. Anonymous Says:

    As a shareholder of GCI, I can sympathize with the other outside shareholder’s comments about working harder or lose your job. I think this comment goes beyond journalists and is applicable to the entire company. I have followed this blog too and am amazed at the relative disgust that employees have for their leadership. Worse off, it is amazing to see the relative disrespect “smart journalists” have for other colleagues.

    If I understand correctly, you too are all shareholders. How can anyone on this blog say to a fellow shareholder…

    “The only solace I take in this is that you, as a shareholder, have lost lots of money.”

    I am sure Gracie Martore and Craig Dubow are pleased with the response by their employees.

    Or better yet, look at the comment below from someone who must go home proud of the job they do…

    “Work harder and make the company more money? Fuck you! What Gannettoids actually need to do is grab torches and pitchforks and overthrow motherfuckers like you who spew such insidious bullshit. Gannett is where it is because of deep, systemic mismanagement that is culturally entrenched within the company. It has nothing to do with how hard people are or aren’t working. Seriously, fuck off and die.”

    I am not an insignificant shareholder and I believe in the voice of the employee. This blog serves a good purpose for people like me and people like you.

    The difference is that people like me can walk away and sell and lose some money, people like you need to live in this environment, but you can’t walk away, because the last I checked, there weren’t too many other newspaper companies looking to hire worn out bitter journalists.

    If it is all so bad, leave. Take the risk and try and find a better job with a more competent management team.

    As for the 15,000 people that will need to be removed for this company to survive, it is actually 20,000 according to my models.

    Good luck and work your ass off as you have everything to lose and nothing to gain by resting on your seniority and complaining. Grow revenue, cut costs, work more efficiently.

  29. Anonymous Says:

    To Anon 1:37…I don’t care if she is a Publisher or a Janitor, Laura Hollingsworth is a HOTTIE!!!

  30. Anonymous Says:

    Anonymous at 8:40 p.m.

    You have just demonstrated that you are completely clueless. I was one of the four-person task force that conceived and launched USA Today. Maybe you should read a history book or two. Sack … less. How clever. Why don’t you use your real name for your next posting? Your comments about Denise and Barbara clearly show your ignorance.

    Jim, is this the audience you aspire to publish?

    Larry Sackett

  31. Anonymous Says:

    Lighten up. A blog is free to vent and to express. Curley, Watson, Collins, Stier, and Sherlock would have gotten their share of worm shit comments here.

    Its one thing to fire people, to downsize, to layoff…and quite another to do it with glee.

    The Gannett fiefdom and all the drones have worked hard to protect their sorry asses. When you make in excess of $200k per year, anything goes.

  32. Anonymous Says:

    You reap what you sow and Gannett’s culture of profit at all cost is finally catching up with the company. Dubow & Co. and McCorkindale before him, had one primary focus and that was making the next quarterly dividend higher than the last. Any attempt to invest in the long-term health of the company was secondary. Now it’s payback time.

    The stock is in a free fall and it’s like trying to catch a falling knife.

    At this point, the shareholders, employees and communities they serve would be better if Gannett was broken up and individual units returned to local ownership. Can anybody really justify what benefit is derived from lumping dozens and dozens of newspaper’s together?

    That business model is broken, if it ever really worked.

    I would invite Gannett management to step up and justify exactly what benefits they bring to the table to this corporation. How do the Gulfstreams, helicopters, layer’s of VP’s and glass tower in Tyson’s Corner bring value to Indianapolis, Louisville,and the dozen of other units

    One last question for Dubow….just how long does it take to formulate and implement a strategic plan?

    And shame on this Board of Directors for not carry out their fiduciary duties to the shareholders. You know what needs to be done, but you’re afraid of standing up to the guy who gave you your seat and losing your six figure fee for attending 11 meetings a year.

  33. Anonymous Says:

    Sackless,
    You made it into a history book? Which one the Civil War? You are my hero. Thank God you actually invented USA Today. Where would we be without you? I have you to thank for my job at USAT? I must have been blowing the wrong person.

    Thank you Sackless. Now go build your little OLAP tools and play on your computer.

    Btw, did you invent the Internet too?

    Signed,
    Big Al

  34. Anonymous Says:

    One of the problems we are facing is that we are spending all of out time counting money and reporting on it. We count how much we plan to make, how much we think we will make and how much we actually made, then explaining the variances. No one has time to actually go out and make money. WE need to let our ad folks make the money and let finance count it. Our AD and his management team spend all day counting and reporting…..wonder why we are losing money?

  35. Anonymous Says:

    I’m ashamed to call some of you my colleagues. You seem so consumed by your negativity that I doubt anything positive you contribute to the company could outweigh your poisonous attitudes. Gannett would be better off without you. I urge you — no, I beg you — to leave. Leave now! Quit! You’ll be happier … and so will Gannett.

  36. Anonymous Says:

    anon 10:16
    Craig?

  37. Anonymous Says:

    No, it’s Bob Dickey

  38. Anonymous Says:

    Take your publisher out on a sales call for the week. And explain why circulation is down every year, and yet the advertising rates are up 100% over the last ten years.

    Forget counting. Your rates never made sense. You were always out of touch. And you turned your staff every two years.

    Its a good thing that the country club memberships are gone. It gave everyone more time to count the money that no longer comes in.

    Dubow wouldn’t know how to approach an advertiser…or your publisher.

  39. Anonymous Says:

    10:02

    Precisely correct.
    How many times do you have to “flash” revise “Flash” and drop everything else to satisfy finance and GCI .
    Hell,with the way sales/circulation are dropping it won’t be long until its $0 . Wait until the advertisers start asking for refunds of insert fees for product double/triple inserted and mis-delivered to zip codes not ordered.
    Gannett is reaping what they deserve.

  40. Balloon Fighter Says:

    To anon@1:37 and anon@3:03:

    There is a difference between a blog, a post (or entry) and a comment, just as there is a difference between a blogger and a commenter. These are important and rather obvious distinctions; please learn them.

    To Larry@7:41:

    Jim’s approach to moderation of the content of comments is comparable to the policy of many Gannett properties with 24/7 online discussion.

    To all:

    I, too, would prefer less name-calling and hatred. Civil, critical discourse beats crude ad hominem attack any day. Some of you wish your bosses understood that. Take the high road regardless, or just refrain from commenting.

  41. Anonymous Says:

    Negative my ass. With a company that tolerated the likes of Neuharth and Collins…and a cast of many others. You have a real set of balls.

  42. Anonymous Says:

    Bravo…well said anon@10:27

  43. Anonymous Says:

    Get a grip. For years employees could not vent about anything. They had no outlet, and no recourse. Those who did work hard got the mere 3% wage increase with many working unpaid overtime. You know, and I know, that the labor laws were being broken.

    Meanwhile the front office were making a cool $250,000 or more. And the CEO’s were making Millions.

    Fire away…it is good for the soul.

  44. Anonymous Says:

    “If you allow some of those sexual blogs why not allow all of them.”

    Calling someone a hottie is sexual? What are you? Puritans?

    Get real/

  45. Anonymous Says:

    …and there is no bench to hire any talent for Indy or Louisville.
    …and not many fools who do have the talent.

    This company has been happy to live with the likes of Silverman.

    But always time to stop making a sales call…and time to redo the flash for the tenth time.

  46. Anonymous Says:

    My resume with many years of Gannett service and awards is worthless. The Gannett name is like a black hole if not worse.
    It has no shine. It is actually a detriment. But hard to hide all of those years.

    The reputation is now not worth the cost of wiping the shit off the floor of Cherry Hill.

  47. Anonymous Says:

    Larry — Does Big Al know that your official bio credits you with coming up with the name USA TODAY? I could swear I’ve heard him claim that honor for himself.

  48. Anonymous Says:

    10% turnover of 25,000 employees.
    2,500 spurned tell 11 people each, who tell another 11 people, for each year out of the hellhole.

    The other 20,000 tell each family member about the rape and pillage of the remaining employees. So, two family members tell 11 people each of the chagrin. Nice, chagrin is nice. Not exactly an editor who throws newspapers in the air.

    So lets play the game of Flash, Flash, and Flash. And before you know it…wow, Millions now know.
    And those millions don’t buy Gannett stock.

    Sweet Jesus. What a story.

  49. Anonymous Says:

    Maybe, it’s time for newspapers in general to forget they are part of conglomerates and return to their original purpose of reposrting facts, exposing lies and educating the public.

    A return to the time when fear of government didn’t hamstring newspapers because of possible threats to radio and television holdings.

  50. Anonymous Says:

    Gannett Stock:
    20.38
    -1.29 (-5.95%)
    Real-time: 12:54PM ET

  51. Anonymous Says:

    To clarify: I wrote the Anon 4:51 comment, and I am an ex-Asbury Park Press reporter who this year made the jump to PR. My anger comes from deep experience.

  52. Anonymous Says:

    Mismanagement across the board at all of the major companies. The nice cushy jobs disppeared. Imploding as we speak. $50 billion in market cap gone. A pretty shitty indictment.

  53. Anonymous Says:

    Well at the Asheville paper they don’t hire managers, they hire sales people within the company that appear to be making their goals for those positions. In turn you get managers that can’t manage people. Just because you can sell does not mean you are a good leader. This causes the good people to leave. And they wonder why their numbers are down.

  54. Anonymous Says:

    I think it’s time to consider abandoning the business, unless you know for sure you’ll have a job when the industry has finally finished its freefall.

    Looking for another job in this economy is not something I prefer to do, but I am NOT leaving my fate in the hands of Gannett.

  55. Anonymous Says:

    There are a lot of very smart people in this company, and I count many of them as good colleagues if not good friends. I have also seen many good, smart, capable people crushed at the whims of corporate surrogates, including many of those people mentioned by name in this blog. Whether that’s a corporate culture thing, or an individual power-trip thing, I don’t know. But it puts a taint on this company, and it’s a damn shame.

  56. Anonymous Says:

    I feel like I produce three times the “product” for different departments than before the online advent. Producing three times as much in the same amount of time will never, ever improve quality or perceptions of quality. I know it is a brave new world, but I don’t think good journalism matters to Gannett anymore…if it ever did.

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