Archive for August, 2008

First anniversary: Now, I’m a rewrite guy

August 31, 2008

[Blow out: celebrating a year of blogging]

When people ask about my job, I say: “I’m an online business news reporter, with an unusual specialty: I only write about one company.”

I mention that because the blog you’re reading first appeared in public a year ago this month, when I published this post. Gannett Blog has changed a lot since then — especially these days, as more readers write more comments. Now, my job is more like what the newsroom staff calls a rewrite guy. That’s a writer who takes feeds — e-mail and phone calls — from other reporters, then weaves all those contributions into a story. (Mercifully, other newsroom employees — copy editors — then re-write the story again, turning it into something that’s actually readable!)

In my case, I’m getting as many as 100 feeds daily — your comments. And I read every one. As I told another blogger, however, this much hasn’t changed: I started Gannett Blog so employees would have a safe place to share information about the company, without fear of reprisal from management, as they prepared themselves for a vastly changed industry.

I hope you’ll keep coming back.

[Photo: Fire, by Paal Audestad — a photo of the week at]

Sunday | Aug. 31 | Got news, or a question?

August 31, 2008

Can’t find an appropriate place for your comment? Write it, in this open post. Real Time Comments: here, 24/7. (Earlier editions.)

What I’m doing right now

August 31, 2008

12:35 a.m., Monday, Ibiza Time: Listening to a remix of Rihanna‘s Umbrella, and trying to decide whether to go to Croissant-Show to see Sandra.

[Photo: taken by candlelight with my MacBook Pro]

Reader: GCI’s ‘cloak and dagger’ offshoring in UK

August 31, 2008

Regarding Gannett sending advertising production work to offshore vendor 2AdPro, a reader says: “Gannett’s UK arm, Newsquest, is slowly migrating its design work over to 2AdPro and, reading your comments, I fear this is the end of many careers, mine included. What makes it worse is that it’s all very cloak and dagger; no announcement, no consultation: silence. For a media company, we’re not too good at communicating. I believe some UK sites are already sending a percentage of work over to 2AdPro (with extremely negative results — no surprise there) and many redundancies have been made across the UK in its production departments.”

Join the debate, in the original post.

Earlier: Newsquest editor quits Scottish paper after losses

Newsquest staff: There are 8,100 of you in Gannett’s UK division of 17 dailies and hundreds of weeklies. Write more often; I like hearing from you! Post your replies in the comments section, below. Or e-mail gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

We’d be happy just to get time-and-a-half

August 31, 2008
“I would pay ya all double-time.”

Anonymous@10:53 a.m., commenting on Hurricane Gustav staffing at the Hattiesburg American and other Gulf Coast media.

Once tops, Lansing now ‘incredible shrinking’ paper

August 31, 2008

Lansing State Journal veterans recall a vibrant newsroom a decade ago, with more than 20 reporters, “including three alone covering the state capital, and reliable coverage of the neighboring communities,” alternative weekly City Pulse says in a new story, “The Incredible Shrinking Lansing State Journal.”

Now, City Pulse says, “the LSJ’s staff list consists of seven news reporters and three business reporters. The daily capital newspaper, physically located five blocks from the dome, has been mostly relying on Associated Press wire copy for its news coverage since its last Capitol reporter, Chris Andrews, retired in February. One of the seven news reporters, Derek Wallbank, is leaving shortly, and the LSJ has no immediate plans to replace him. Instead, his position has become one of 13 the Journal is slicing off this month to satisfy parent corporation Gannett’s orders to eliminate 1,000 jobs. Of the 13 in Lansing, five will be by attrition; the rest will be layoffs.”

Amazing: I remember when, in the early 1990s, Gannett held up the LSJ as one of its best newspapers. How times have changed, huh?

Earlier: In Montgomery, watchdog reporting on a budget. Plus: paper-by-paper layoffs

[Image: this morning’s front page, Newseum]

Hurricane Gustav sparks overtime pay questions

August 31, 2008

[Storm tracker: the Hattiesburg American‘s homepage, moments ago]

Updated at 9:54 p.m. ET. As the mammoth storm stalks the Gulf Coast, readers are debating OT policy in today’s edition of Real Time Comments. A sampling:

  • Hattiesburg American news staff has been told it has to spend the night at the paper if Gustaf hits Monday. Do they have to pay us overtime for forcing us to do this?”
  • “We’re in Gustav’s path and the salaried employees have been told they are essential, which means we’re supposed to be at work during the worst of the storm.”
  • “Anyone who doesn’t WANT to be at the newspaper when a hurricane hits the town they cover isn’t much of a journalist. Overtime? That’s the last thing anyone should be thinking about. It’s a calling, people.”

[Today’s print front page, from the Newseum]

Video of the Moment: Indy Star talks to drunks!

August 31, 2008

And a Gannett Blog reader says: “I have to wonder if this is what Gannett had in mind when they sent all those people to video training. If this is the future of journalism, Lord help us all.”

Got a video to, uh, recommend? Please post a link in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

Phoenix: 27 retire in news; what is paper’s total?

August 31, 2008

The Arizona Republic delayed any layoffs during the recent round of 1,000 Gannett newspaper job cuts, because the big Phoenix newspaper still had buyout offers on the table. Now, in a memo, top Republic editor Randy Lovely (leftsays 27 newsroom employees are leaving — presumably, all in buyouts or traditional retirements. “These individuals have worked tirelessly to provide our readers with a top-notch daily news report,” he said. “I am enormously grateful for their efforts.”

What about other departments at the Republic, which Corporate says employs as many as 2,700? The paper’s deteriorating financial situation suggests it was due for big overall job cuts. The Republic is likely the biggest individual workplace within Gannett, which employs about 46,000. Yet, the Phoenix paper has been hit hard over the past 12 months by real estate-related advertising losses. Indeed, Arizona is one of four states (the others are California, Nevada and Florida) where a housing bust has contributed substantially to Gannett’s monthly revenue declines, and that big second-quarter earnings dive.

Some 35 Republic pressroom employees were laid off earlier this month, after being denied buyouts extended to the newsroom in July. Combined with the 27 just-announced newsroom losses, that totals 62 jobs paper-wide. Is that the Republic‘s final count?

Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

Earlier: Paper-by-paper layoffs

[Image: today’s Republic front page, Newseum]

August blog traffic: It’s the end of a newsy summer

August 30, 2008

Amid a surge in readers, the five most clicked-on August posts:

  • Gannett said laying off 600 newspaper employees; pub’s memo discloses total 1,000 jobs getting axed
  • Roll call: Say goodbye to your pink-slipped friends
  • Gannett starts issuing pink slips: 600 jobs at stake; employees tally historic losses; blog updates all day
  • Des Moines: News job cuts, and a ‘have-fun’ e-mail
  • As layoffs begin, spotlight shifts to USA Today

Updated at 5:44 a.m. ET, Sept. 1. News drove traffic sky-high this month — to levels I doubt can be sustained, a new Google Analytics report says. Unique visitors in August jumped 66% from July, to nearly 29,000 (why that metric is tricky). Visits rose 59%, to about 119,000. And page views soared 90%, to about 273,000.

For context: Gannett employs about 46,000. And industry-leading blogger Jim Romenesko nabs 100,000 individual visitors a day.

Free inside!
Google Analytics
has the traffic data, available in a free report I make available to anyone, via gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]. See Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

[Image: Google Analytics]