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

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.

24 Responses to “Reader: GCI’s ‘cloak and dagger’ offshoring in UK”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I’ve been reading bits and pieces of this 2AdPro nonsense on this blog, and it makes one scratch their noggins and contemplate…

    2AdPro quality stinks from what I read. National Ad revenue is dropping, and if more and more poor quality local ads come back from this service, doesn’t it stand to reason that local advertising will deline even more that it already has?

    No advertiser is going to continue to pay the over-valued prices Gannett wants for ad space if they are getting ad quality that is mediocre at best.

    Somebody at Corporate needs to wake up. FAST!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    My newspaper has been sending work to 2AdPro for the last few months and the work that comes back from them is inferior and inconsistent. We have had a lot of font replacement issues, bad/awkward layouts and a severe lack of proofreading on their end. That’s just the beginning of the list.

    Honestly, it doesn’t seem like it’s worth whatever money they are saving if we did the ad in-house. The salespeople have been very dissatisfied with the results too. They aren’t supposed to know which ads have been sent there, but it’s very obvious when they get their proofs.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    If Obama is elected, he claims he’s going to get rid of all tax credits that corporations are now getting to send business overseas. Gannett will be screwed because I believe they’ve signed a three year contract for the shit they’re currently getting. This is exactly what’s wrong with our economy today. When will we learn that you can’t make money if the customer ain’t happy?

  4. Anonymous Says:

    ~~The salespeople have been very dissatisfied with the results too. They aren’t supposed to know which ads have been sent there, but it’s very obvious when they get their proofs.~~

    Ahhh..the “proof” is in the details here. It’s all making much more sense now, though the quality won’t change any time soon. How is a Rep supposed to sell anyhting when what the customer gets back is crap?

    I was wondering if it was my fault and not articulating the details well enough, (and I’m a stickler for detail) come to learn it may well be that the trouble is with someone for whom english is not their native language.

    Smart move Gannett!! Way to shoot yourselves in the foot, then blame your on-shores for the “lack of communication”. And ad revenue is dropping? Huh..go figure…

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Some Gannett papers are paying for 2AdPro, but then finding creative ways to get around using the service.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    We still have work going out to them, but it’s bare minimum – stuff that’s pretty straightforward. It’s not worth sending detailed work out to them because you spend more time specifying everything. Then what we get in return is crap that you have to send back for them to fix. Sometimes it goes back 2 times and it’s still not correct.

    We have a talented, experienced creative department. If only the nimrods that run my department would see that.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Reminds me of the RTC “regional toning center” This little beauty was shoved down our gullets at the Republic in early 2007. Images were shipped to the Midwest sit (Des Moines) for toning by an under trained imaging staff. And our toning staff of nine was quietly shown the door. The RTC turn around time was painfully slow and the quality was, and still is substandard.
    As a designer we had to come up with a work around to speed up the process. We began toning a good majority of the images ourselves and sending on the non-critical images to Des Moines. The Images we have been doing look as good or better than what we get from the RTC. And my turn around time is within minutes.
    The photo desk showed this little trick to us. They routinely work the images to ensure quicker turnaround time to make sports deadlines. Bit more work for the photo desk, but it seems to work.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    RTC turnaround time has improved greatly over what it was when we first started using it. But you are right 11:03, the image quality is lacking. I routinely do my own photos because I have a background in image correction, but that is generally frowned upon.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    In the time it takes to type out all of the copy, zip up logos/photos, scan in a layout that I had to sketch myself and get it ready for 2AdPro, I could easily create a better ad myself. You can tell from a mile away which ads in our paper have been done by 2AdPro. If something comes back bad, we are blamed for not explaining our needs well enough.

    I know my job will end up going away because of 2AdPro but I will take a sick amount of pleasure in imagining our sales reps (and our management) having to deal directly with them.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    You are so true 11:55pm. The time involved in preparing a proper package to 2adpro could be spent creating the ad yourself and it's 9 out of 10 times what the advertiser wants. I had to help a few times in preparing stuff for 2adpro and hated it. My supervisor was let go during the 8-19 layoffs and no 2adpro has since been done. But I'm sure with the new supervisor it will start up again, once our dept is combined (with another paper) & organized. I hope I don't have to do it. There are days I wish I was let go. Hmm… there is still time… corporate will probably do layoff people again by year's end.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Yes a lot of things are shoved down our throats. The only problem is all these cost cutting measures lack quality. RTC and 2AdPro are examples of the mentality by some of the management that quality does not matter only price. Or even possibly a worse mentality, is that they “think” they are doing a great job.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    The sites that are doing the worst with 2adpro are probably the ones giving them the least amount of feedback.

    We dont have any serious issues at my site. Been sending ads for a while.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Seems that somewhere, somehow we could strike a happy medium. Let the 2AdPro people “rough-in” the ads, thegraphic designers on staff rework them while adding finesse. That way, we could keep talent on board for ad campaigns, etc.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Actually 10:19 we give them a lot of feedback and it seems to fall on deaf ears. We spend more time prepping the ad with explicit instructions than if we had just kept the ad in-house. Is this really saving money?

    I do think we can use 2AdPro to our benefit as we switch over to 44″ press. All our current ads are going to have to be reworked to fit the new sizes and those can be sent to save time and money during the switch over.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Maybe you should try to explain it to them as a concept approach versus being so specific down to the last detail. They can do nice ads. In august gannett sites gave feedback on about 1000 of approx 8000 ads 2adpro did for gannett. That is not a very high ratio.
    Gannett 5-Star Ratings for August

    5 – Stars 438 (41%)

    4 – Stars 301 (28%)

    3 – Stars 171 (16%)

    2 – Stars 77 (7%)

    1 – Star 87 (8%)

    These are ratings done by gannett people that sent the ads. Approx 700 of the 1000 were 4 stars or better. Out of 1000 obviously some people think they are doing good work.

    Try a different approach is all Im saying, or ask for help. There are people willing to help

  16. Anonymous Says:

    I think jim needs to make a 2adpro running post item in the sidebar.

    This is obviously an important topic company wide.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Supposedly we will be seeing 2adpro in the next six months.

    The first thing the reps will do is tell their important customers to specify any work for them is done locally, because we also are our advertisers’ customers.

    Our advertisers like our designers, they’ll go for it. So our big local ads will stay in house, built by fewer staff. Gotta pay for 2adpro, so we’ll lose an FTE or three.

    We’ll still have to give 2adpro work to do, so they’ll get the 2×5 monkey work that would take our designers 15 minutes to do in house off a sketch. Instead, we’ll pay 2adpro to do it incorrectly, pay someone to scan in all the pieces, pay someone to layout the ad on grid paper, and pay someone to fix it.

    What I’m waiting to see is a publisher try to sell “local, local, local” and offshoring ads at the same Rotary meeting.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    We are also going to 2AdPro in the next few months, so I hear. Can any prepress manager who has already started give us any warnings on what to watch for?

    I’m talking about either directives from corp on how much has to go 2AdPro or information on the day-to-day workflow working with 2AdPro.

    Are there any positives to 2AdPro, from a customer standpoint?

    Thank you!

  19. Anonymous Says:

    There would have to be tons of positives to outweigh the negative effect of promising local, local, local in one breath and signing on with that off-shore ad company the next. What in the world is Gannett thinking?

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Echo the RC comments. It’s been a huge debacle.

    TImeliness has improved greatly but quality is terrible. It looks like the folks in RTC are using iPhoto to tone work. The results are that bad. Then there is the question of color vs black and white. They have to be toned separately, but we usually don’t know how a photo is going to be used until after the picture has been sent to RTC for toning. After being burned a couple of times, now we’re just sending every photo for toning in both color and black and white. Doubles the workload for RTC but we’re burned if we don’t.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    sending every photo in bw and color because you dont know how its gonna be used…..thats nuts

    You have no idea if the page is bw or color and where the stories are going….

    and you complain about corporate waste….

  22. Anonymous Says:

    This prepress manager likes 2adpro…we have made it work

    I would say more positive things but I dont think it would help.

    Too many posts here seem to be in the negative, too many people are just happy complaining.

    We made it work, if you cant…oh well

  23. Anonymous Says:

    9:30 AM
    What might work internally just might bomb externally with the audience. I’m talking about readers and advertisers. Perceptions are powerful.

    With that in mind, would you please respond to this previous post?

    “What I’m waiting to see is a publisher try to sell “local, local, local” and offshoring ads at the same Rotary meeting.”


  24. Anonymous Says:

    Anon 8:59.

    It's a badly managed newspaper. Things change on the fly. Photos budgeted for a color page end up on a black and white and vice versa (and sometimes photos are used in color in one zone and B&W in another). Sometimes the changes are made late in the production cycle when the RTC can no longer meet our deadline.

    You only have to be burned once by the realities of dealing with prepress two time zones away to realize you need a Plan B. Which quickly becomes Plan A.

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