Reader: ‘Chief Bitcher Jim Hopkins’ leads whiners

Regarding my post about Gannett’s shaky stock price, a reader writes in a comment: “I’m a long-time Gannett employee, and I think this is true for half the people I’ve worked with. This blog makes it look like all are complainers and aren’t hard workers, which is unfortunate. But many are just that — and now they have a new leader, Chief Bitcher Jim Hopkins.”

LOL! You must be looking for that other blog about the company — the one management loves so much: Good Gannett Blog.

Join the debate, in the original post.

19 Responses to “Reader: ‘Chief Bitcher Jim Hopkins’ leads whiners”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    New concept…. Craig and Gracia take the stock so low that they can do a leveraged buyout take the company private and then maximize their cash flow. Now if we can just find a lender!!!

  2. Shirley Says:

    Other people are bitching, worrying and losing their jobs.
    July 09, 2008
    WSJ story: “Anxiety grows around Starbucks closings”
    That’s the headline on Wednesday’s (July 9) Wall Street Journal story, which is subscription-only. It says:

    Baristas say they field questions daily [about the closings] …Starbucks says all store employees will get the official word by the middle of this month. The company has already notified 50 stores that will close by July 31, and will make that list public by July 15. The company has a list of the others slated to close but it won’t identify those locations publicly until the actual closing date. “We want to do this respectfully,” Starbucks spokeswoman Wanda Herndon says.

    [BLOGGER’S COMMENT]We want to do this “respectfully” — we want to keep customers (and employees) in the dark about the fate of their favorite Starbucks for as long as possible.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Need to allow comments on Good Gannett.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    So if anyone takes issue with anything Jim has to say, his adult/professional response is this? lol. why doesn’t that surprise me.

    You are either with Jim and his whining and crying friends and their love for Gannett woes — or you are a losing, management toady.

    At least we always know where Jim and his friends stand. If it’s positive about Gannett, it has no home here.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    oh yeah….maybe the reason it has no home is that there isn’t anything positive about Gannett. I’ll sum up the positive comments I’ve seen posted recently:

    – Get off your loser asses and work harder
    – If you don’t like the company then leave
    – You’re all a bunch of loser whiners
    – I like using my own cell phone and paying for it myself
    – I like getting 25 cents per mile when the IRS allows for 50 cents
    – I like having my pension frozen
    ….need I go on?

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I think Jim is delivering exactly what he promised.

    “It’s a case study of an unfolding corporate crisis — live-blogged.”

    I commend him for that. So many times people and businesses over sell and under deliver. That’s a credibility buster, I believe.

    Hey, nobody knows how this Gannett thing will end up. I’m glad Jim made a place so we all have a place to record thoughts, feelings and little snippets of history along the way.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    As a long time Gannettoid I would like to commend Jim for this forum where insight is gained about Gannett. I would also like to commend Gannett for the many opportunities it has given me and my family over the last 25 years.
    As a young man I joined Gannett. It was my second newspaper. Over the years I have worked with some very fine people in this company. I have never worked at a Gannett paper that has had to lay off people. UNTIL RECENTLY. There have been times in this industry where papers have had layoffs. So, thank you, Gannett, for the 25 good years I have had.

    However, I think our current management has lost their direction and vision of what this company can and should be. We have dangerously slashed resources to make the bottom line look a little more attractive to Wall Street and corporate. We have eroded our core products to the point where we are lost. No one goes to the web site of any news organization that routinely gets beat by their competition.(WE ARE. ) If Gannett is not committed to being the best and main news source in each of their markets they are lost.(OBVIOUSLY WEAE ALREADY LOST AS WE CONTINUE TO SLASH RESOURCES AND GANNETT’S NEW MESSAGE IS ONLY INFOCENTER MINDSPEAK)There is no value in a third-rate news organization.

    Excuse me, I have overlooked the social networking aspects that will save this company. I forgot about the many Moms sites that have sprung up that we are perpetuating by talking to ourselves through staff and the many paid contributors we have hired to drive up online numbers. lets not forget Photo galleries of crap images to generate page views.

    Our new Infocenter 2 webinars have offered no hope of righting the ship and offer no new resources to sinking papers.

    Gannett needs to learn that it has to spend money to make money.

    Invest in newsrooms and marketing. Hey, why not try this approach on a select number of papers to see if putting out a better product and offering good customer service will drive up the profits that you all desperately seek?

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I tend to agree with the reader, the blog is in danger of becoming a catcalling or heckling place… There is more to the company than its stock price. Break some news. What’s going on at the papers? There’s a lot of potential here, but it seems to be wasting away on stock price updates and information about your Eurpean exploits. News flash: I don’t care about your vacation.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Whining is an easy label to apply to any non-company-line concern. Yes, I’m tired of the mad-dog name-calling, which adds nothing to the discussion. I too would prefer more positive ideas on how to solve the problems. But where are they?

    I desperately wish I could come up with something that hasn’t been tried that might work to stave off the extremities yet to come. But none of my personal bright ideas have found a forum inside the company, or, frankly, the industry.

    The horrible part is that anything that costs more more is going to be a non-starter. Yes, it would be lovely if GCI were to suddenly decide to ship cash to the properties, but that’s not how they operate, never has been (except for USAToday’s long years of subsidies) and I see nothing on the landscape that’s going to change their MO at this point.

    They’ve found money to shift into digital, yes, but most of that has come out of traditional print and broadcast, as far as I can see. That’s not automatically a bad thing, but what bothers me is the either/or attitude — as in, either digital or journalism.

    Why not both? I don’t see much evidence that they’re out looking for people with both new-media AND journalism skills. Such people exist. Some are embedded and under-used in place. Many more are on the market, given the harsh cutting across the industry recently.

    My gut tells me that, if there is a future for what we do, it lies in the profound integration of traditional and new-media skill sets. I am deeply uneasy at how little effort in that regard I see going on here. This is where the grand opportunity lies, IMHO.

    As a long-term Gannett employee who has survived many shifts of corporate priorities and direction (none of which ever reduced my work load below 70 hours a week), I fear that in these dire times we are missing an opportunity that will never come again to hang onto our franchise as the indispensable font of local knowledge.

    I would be happy throw myself into making such an effort work. I’ve busted my backside over far lesser goals; why not give me and my like-minded colleagues a chance to make deep, lasting and potentially life-saving change in the business we love?

  10. Anonymous Says:

    The problem with Gannett – and all other media megacorps – is that in order to be relevant to the customer we have to have journalists that are willing to question authority. And the authorities – publishers and shareholder – at our corporations DO NOT WANT TO BE QUESTIONED.
    Hypocrites? Sure, IS THAT A PROBLEM??

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Why not get a backbone and take a stand, 1:38, and see what happens? Start asking the tough questions that you want to ask the publishers and stockholders and see what happens. I think you’re making an awful lot of assumptions. I’m pretty sure this corporation would welcome some insight on how to change things and would be open to new ideas. Have YOU tried? It seems as though people are in a rut and AFRAID to give an opinion based on how the corporation was run in the past. For all of you complainers out there, why not stand up for what you believe and speak your minds. You just might be surprised.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    RE: 9:18 –
    “For all of you complainers out there, why not stand up for what you believe and speak your minds. You just might be surprised.”

    Or, you just might wind up in Wausau.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    I want to hear it. I want to hear all of these company changing ideas for the better right here, right now. A lot of people on this blog say they have fantastic ideas that will save the newspaper, but not one person has said what they are. Maybe somebody at corporate will read what you have to say and incorporate some of your ideas. Let’s start taking action right here, right now with all of your new ideas and see if we CAN make a difference. This ought to be not only productive, but interesting. We can change the course of this blog into something positive.

  14. Jim Hopkins Says:

    Exactly, @9:31 a.m. That’s one of the main reasons I started this blog: to “crowdsource” new ideas.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    If anyone can do it, Jim, you can. If we all take a stand and start acting instead of complaining, this could become a very valuable source for corporate to turn to.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Refresher course, folks: As a publicly owned company, Gannett answers first to its shareholders, not its employees or customers. The prime directive is to make money and report higher earnings per share, not to produce good journalism or provide a comfy workplace. Directors, meanwhile, are charged with a fiduciary duty to uphold the interests of the shareholders. When so many initiatives have failed, when the stock price has fallen 78 percent in four years and when management decisions boil down to what to cut next, the directors must hire an investment banking firm to offer a slate of options before the stock falls even further. This is a standard course of action in the corporate world. Best option is to break up the outmoded chain model. Gannett’s newspapers are struggling enough to survive on their own without having to subsidize a Buckingham Palace of overpaid dimwits.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Here’s an excellent commentary regarding the exploitation that often happens when the CEO and Chairman are the same person (from Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal):

  18. Anonymous Says:

    When you have a captive board of directors such as Gannett’s, it’s highly unlikely that it would cross their benefactor by ousting Dubow. More often it plays out like this: The CEO and board announce that they’ve hired an investment banker to consider all strategic options or the sale of certain assets. Assuming a satisfactory offer is made, the board approves a sale or breakup that coddles the grumpy shareholders and enables the CEO to leave gracefully, normally with a massive bonus (for executing the deal), a rich consulting deal and continuing health benefits.

  19. Jim Hopkins Says:

    A reader sent the following in an e-mail:

    I cant stand it anymore……so I have to speak my mind

    I was told about this blog site just a few days ago, so I checked it out. Why am I not surprised to find as many people whining about the inequities of life, as I have to tolerate every day at work. The same people that all they do is bitch, bitch, and bitch and bring down morale. The same people that each time I walk by their desk, they are looking at their myspace page instead of working. I do not make a fortune at Gannett, I am just a mid level manager, but at least I give a honest days work every day. I make do with what I get paid like millions of other fellow Americans. We have totally useless people at my site, and getting rid of them is almost impossible.

    Are bad things happening, sure they are. Are we seeing friends and good people go out the door that we have worked with for years and become friends with, yeah, its happening. In case the whiners haven’t noticed, it is happening all over. As Americans, we have created our own problems, now its pay the piper time.

    Did we learn anything from the energy crisis of the 70’s….nope. Now gas is at 4 bucks a gallon and we are crying about it. In Europe, gas has been higher than that for years. In the USA, we have been getting off cheap. Why is the only viable hybrid car a Japanese model, answer me that when we are supposed to be the most powerful and technologically advanced nation on the face of this little ball we call earth. I will tell you why….because we, the American worker, have lost our edge. The fact that GM or Ford cannot engineer a viable hybrid is sickening.

    Lets look at ad outsourcing. I wonder how many of the people whining about it own a Toyota, or a Hyundai or a Japanese television set. I wonder if these whiners realize how much damage they have done to their fellow American workers by buying foreign automobiles and goods. I own a ford btw. Unionize is the cry, idiots, look at what you have done to all of your beloved UAW workers that get paid 30 bucks an hour to drive in a few screws.
    What’s that you say, you bought a Toyota because it was better?…cheaper?…and you complain about ad outsourcing, the company is doing the same thing you did, looking for the better deal. To criticize the company is to criticize yourself. Gannett, like so many other companies, is in survival mode. Havent you figured that out yet?
    To those singing the blues about ad outsourcing, its called being in a global economy. Another area where companies like Airbus are kicking Boeings butt. Still we don’t get it, open your eyes. There are reasons we are losing our dominance in world markets.

    We have been sending ads to 2adpro for a while. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea when it was presented to me either and it was rough going getting started. As time has passed, 2adpro has gotten better. I have to say that their customer service is better than what I am accustomed to getting. We don’t seem to have many problems getting back what we want.

    If people were on the pity party during WWII , like all of you are now, we would all be eating bratwursts right now.

    So to all of the gannetteers out there doing the poor us bit, if you put as much effort into it as you do complaining, it would probably go a lot better for you.

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