Thursday | Sept. 11 | Got news, or a question?

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57 Responses to “Thursday | Sept. 11 | Got news, or a question?”

  1. Jim Hopkins Says:

    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:

    According to City Beat, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s switch to Gannett’s new web site has resulted in a 17.3% decline in page views for August 2008 when compared to August 2007 – And, data shows that six of the top ten pages viewed consisted of galleries and not news. This is obviously, not very promising news.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    No surprise. The Gannett web site is horrid. Wake up people.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Every GCI central initiative crashes and burns. Name one thing they have rolled out in the last couple of years that has worked? Why is that? Because the people making the decisions have no real world experience and the folks at the newspapers that have to implement the decisions have been trained not to speak up even when they see the looming disaster a mile away. The company places more value on being compliant and places almost no value on being competent.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Hey Jim – looks like the USAT website is undergoing a denial-of-service attack. The site is down and you can’t access it at all

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Do you mean something like the COE. Lets hire a bunch of people who know nothing about the newspaper industry and have them do our customer service, which in the end costs each paper more than running their own department. If individual papers would have turned in the results of the COEs, the CDs would have been fired immediately. Whose brainchild was this? I bet we all know and when will they be eliminated?

  7. Anonymous Says:

    I was on the USAT website this morning, like I do every morning…it was working fine. I like it alot, by the way.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    This is the first 9/11 anniversary I’ve spent outside the newsroom. For me, that day is as real as if it just happened yesterday. I will never forget the horror of the attacks (150 dead from our area) and the courage and committment that my colleagues displayed that day as we attempted to cover this monstrous event. God bless all who died on that day, and best of luck to all my remaining colleagues, I miss you all dearly.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Someone asked the question on anther topic but it never got answered. At the same time are axing department heads and worker bees at the newspapers why does the corporate staff have 6 VP level accountants and the Newspaper Division have two? These are the people preaching doing more with less to the rest of the company but they don’t seem to think they need to get their own house in order.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Because Gannett is a huge company with a lot of Divisions. The newspaper Division is one of several.
    Why would Corporate NOT have more ?

  11. Anonymous Says:

    931 I think the point is that the corporate staff has at least 6 not aligned to any division and the newspaper division corporate staff as another 2. This does not count and of the other divisions senior level financial executives. They don’t want to drink their own medicine.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    When is the corporate staff going to have lay offs?

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Does anyone believe it was only 100 execs laid off? From what I’ve gleaned, it has to be over that number…. Can you compile a list, Jim? I know you didn’t get all newspapers to respond in the last list you did, but it sure was great to look at…

  14. Anonymous Says:

    re: anonymous 7:30a.m.:
    I work at a G paper of size to Cincinnati. On our web site the top page views are routinely to photo galleries. The next biggest category is sports — blogs by sportswriters are quite popular. As far as news, not so much. What shows worse than news? — Videos. The month’s top video may have 2,000 hits — most videos get page views between 100 and 200. A lot of time and money are spent on those videos almost no one will watch.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    About photo galleries, doesn’t each individual photo count as a view? For instance, if 1,000 people view a news story and 10,000 view a photo gallery with 10 photos, wouldn’t that be the same thing?

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Why is the Gannett stock price dropping at this moment? I mean right now. With such a bold move as eliminating the people who actually have industry knowledge from the system, I would expect the shareholders to be rejoicing. “I’m not sayin, i’m just sayin.”

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Anonymous 10:58:
    That’s right. Each pic in a gallery is one page view.
    That’s why the company loves photo galleries — they drive up total page views for the site.

    Of course page views are a misleading metric. If I was an advertiser, I’d be more interested in knowing how many “unique visitors” a day your site has, and how much time each visitor spends on the site.

    At my paper daily visitors to the site range from 10 to 15 percent of the total daily readership of the dead trees edition. And close to half of the web audience lives outside the paper’s service area — former residents who want to keep up with local news and sports — and people from anywhere who are drawn to celeb and fashion photo galleries they spot on google.

    If I were an advertiser, I would not be impressed.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    Just a question. Does anyone seem to get doublespeak from Hewitt? I am a former employee – non-retiree. Hewitt send me a letter recently saying I could make a 401K hardship withdrawal for a medical emergency. I sent two requests in, they wrote back and the first said the form was not complete and to re-file. The second reply was I needed to provide additional documentation. But today, a CSR said there are no hardship withdrawals of any kind permitted for non-retirees. If that is true, why can’t they just say it instead of misleading you.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    @10:58am: Yes, you’re right. Every single picture is a click. You may have 3,000 clicks on a photo gallery, but if there are 20 pictures in that gallery, you only reached maximum of about 150 people… but 3,000 sounds a lot better when you’re trying to sell advertising.

    Why do you think Gannett photojournalists are being told by Exec. Eds and Managing Eds to put up as many giant galleries as possible from as many assignments as possible?

    50+ picture galleries from sports events…
    50+ picture galleries of historic photos…
    25+ picture galleries from spot news events…
    Photo galleries from the grand opening of the new chain pizza restaurant…

    Don’t think for a second that photo galleries are going up on the sites to bolster the quality of the news report. (A 5-to-10-picture gallery is what does that by adding more visual context to a story.)

    In most cases, anything above 15 pictures does nothing but dilute the strongest pictures with repetitive, redundant pictures… all to meet the quotas we’re given to fill.

    The only goal is to inflate our sites’ numbers…

    There was a day not too long ago (maybe just a couple of years ago) when coming back from an assignment with 10 solid, storytelling photographs worthy of publication was lauded and praised.

    There used to be a clear division between the skilled, professionally-trained newspaper photojournalist and the hack that shot on the sidelines to later sell prints to parents. Gannett’s done nothing but blur that line…

    We need a system of metrics in our industry to know how many people we’re reaching. But for god’s sakes… we never would have measured our print circulation by how many individual people glanced at the extra jump photographs on A3 and how many people read the business story on D1. We’ve always measured our success in the past by how many people pick up our papers… How many people look to us for answers to their questions and curiosities about the news happening in the world around them.

    And when you compare apples to apples: number of daily papers, versus number of unique daily visitors on Gannett websites, print is still ahead.

    You guys think print is dead, or going to be dead? That’s never going to happen… not until we stop worrying about clicks and successfully grow our online “circulation” to surpass our print numbers.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Wonder how many clicks the company gets for obits?

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Print is still the big rooster in the monetary equations. Web Users are not a high value proposition in the ad game and the reader game is zero revenue.Print gets all the premium dollars from advertisers and readers.

    Print is just experiencing the perfect storm at the moment: bad economy, loss of revenue, migration of some readers online, and excessive newsprint costs.
    Gannett has to manage in that down market….which they seem to be doing.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire who is the 2nd richest person in the world, bought 6.4% of the NY Times, announced today.
    Awfully big endorsement of a medium many people think is dead….hmmmm

  23. Anonymous Says:

    “There used to be a clear division between the skilled, professionally-trained newspaper photojournalist and the hack that shot on the sidelines to later sell prints to parents. Gannett’s done nothing but blur that line…”

    Believe me, we feel like hacks!
    Quantity, not quality, is the mantra.
    The only benefit from being a photo hack is the freedom from having to worry about naming every single subject in photos.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    1:03, you forgot
    100+ picture galleries from high school graduations…

  25. Anonymous Says:

    Let me make sure I’ve got this right. The reach stats are based on clicks, and if the same person clicks through a gallery with 50 photos, is that reported as “reaching” 50 people or getting 50 pageviews or what?

  26. Anonymous Says:

    Obits lead our “news” hits every single day.

  27. Anonymous Says:

    I wore a Nike Tailwind that I use to measure walking distance when I covered a Band Review and by the end of it, hoofed 6 miles! Just to fill photo galleries.

  28. Anonymous Says:

    3:11 here again: I’m not complaining about the shooting, I enjoy it, it is the lack of respect for good photography that is evolving. Go shoot a photo of a pothole.

  29. Anonymous Says:

    At the Asbury Park Press, the number of hits we’d get on the videos was a running joke. It was the pinnacle of futility that they forced reporters and photographers to spend so many hours on videos that were viewed by, on average, 200 people at best. The only videos people ever flocked to were the ones that featured something on fire.

    Hmmm, maybe it doesn’t help that every Gannett website save USA Today’s is a horrific digital abortion?

  30. Anonymous Says:

    The online experience at our mid-sized paper is much the same as at larger sites mentioned earlier today.

    Photo galleries, obits, sports and breaking news (the latter just a small, inconsistently done portion of the news report) do well in page view counts.

    Videos and the rest of the news report don’t.

  31. Anonymous Says:

    It sure would be interesting to see how the page view mix today compares to last year. Seems that might reveal something about the quality of news stories/headlines today vs. last year. Maybe not.

  32. Anonymous Says:

    Yup, at my site there is a ridiculous amount of money and time poured into the videos and only really good spot news videos get a good amount of clicks. It also doesn’t help that mediocre photo editors are trying to act like video experts. If you are going to invest all that money into the equipment, why not bring in someone that knows something about video?

  33. Anonymous Says:

    In Cherry Hill, we got a big surprise on Friday. USA Weekend was distributed in the Philadelphia Daily News, the competition gets the publication before our customers do. How did Frisby pull that one off?

  34. Anonymous Says:

    This may not play well on this blog, but our Web site has year-over-year growth in unique visitors, page views and time spent on site — almost every period.

    We post our share of photo galleries, because we know readers enjoy them. I thought that’s what we were supposed to do, especially in the digital medium?

    Galleries, breaking news and good enterprise on local government is what drives traffic for our site.

  35. Anonymous Says:

    8:01, Thank you for sharing, can you tell us how your videos are doing?

  36. Anonymous Says:

    Here’s a problem I see with the galleries and videos — which obviously can draw a lot of people into the site. Way too often, they are about things that we would never cover as news. There is no substance to them, no particular reason to devote the band width to them.

    Wouldn’t it make sense to integrate them more with actual local news content? Why not use them to expand news coverage rather than pump up the content count with trivial fluff?

    For long-term growth, I think we need to give the audience more than cotton candy. Those videos could make news and features more compelling, more informative, more engaging. And that’s what makes people keep coming back for more.

  37. Anonymous Says:

    Saradakis …how is he doing in his role as Chief Digital Officer? what has he done for Gannett so far?

  38. Anonymous Says:

    Why don’t the whiners in Cherry Hill shut the heck up for once??? Enough already with your garbage. No one gives a crap about your soap opera.

  39. Anonymous Says:

    I was working at a non-Gannett seven years ago and remember the day vividly. (I’ll spare you the details.)

    Anyway, 9:54’s post points out the main difference I see between Gannett’s approach to news and the approach used where I used to work.

    At the non-Gannett place, we had a common language. We talked in terms of readers and what everything we did meant to them. Nope—no way an editor there would have thrown a fit on 9/11 or told us about promises made to the publisher. It wasn’t all about the publisher there. It was all about readers. We had a common language and goal. That day, just like any other, the focus was on answering the many questions readers were asking. We tried to be relavant to them—-in print and now, I see the place is flourishing in the digital age.

    I only worked for Gannett a short time before admitting my skills didn’t quite fit the Gannett way. Never one time did I hear the EE say the “R” word.

  40. Anonymous Says:

    Shortly after 9/11, I interviewed the wife of a man who was missing in the world trade center attack — I met his little girls, too. He was later declared dead.

    I interviewed other families, too, but none affected me as much as that one did. I think the kids got to me.

    I think of them at every anniversary.

  41. Anonymous Says:

    9:39 pm Amen to that! Wish the whole NJ Group would do the same. Bunch of losers!! Get a real paper.

  42. Anonymous Says:

    We have heard rumors that Gannett newspapers are going to eliminate their online department and have them handled at a corporate location, like the regional toning center.

    This would actually be a pretty good idea for our paper because the people running our online department probably don’t even know what HTML stands for, and they are paid really high salaries.

  43. Anonymous Says:

    Having been around the COE call center employees I’d have to say they definitely don’t have the companies best interest in mind. They make near minimum wage and I’m sure could care less about who is on the other end of the phone. I’d love to see how many subscriptions were lost due to poor customer service in the COE.

  44. Anonymous Says:

    re: anon 8:01 p.m.

    If readers like photo galleries — and I agree this is true — then we have a responsibility to do them well. Instead, we encourage photogs to dump all their pix from an assignment onto the web. I’ve seen too many galleries that are rife with repetition — I’ve seen galleries that contain multiple mugshots of the same individual.

    Bring back photo editing — have respect for our audiences. They’ll like the product better and have more respect for us.

  45. Anonymous Says:

    Couldn’t agree more with the previous post. And nearly everything said in the rest of the comments above it.
    Like most other sites, our photo galleries are usually at the top of the list of clicks every day. However, our videos get such a tiny number of hits, I wonder who will be made the scapegoat when it finally has to be admitted that they aren’t being monetized.
    Gannett has devastated our photo dept. It’s half the size it used to be, with probably at least 3-4 times more workload. Photo assignments get canned because there’s no one left to shoot them, even though we’re spending thousands of dollars every month on freelancers. Maybe we make it back on not having to pay them benefits?
    And to make matters worse, they eliminated the photo director position in the first of many rounds of layoffs, quite a while back.
    Guess when the EE moved the photogs’ parking spots to the back of the lot, and made one of them his, that should have been a sign for them.

  46. Anonymous Says:

    anon 8:23, the videos we produce for the Web do not generate anywhere near the number of views as galleries or even our best news stories. Videos of breaking news (auto accidents, crime scenes, emotional courtroom scenes) are the best draws. But videos do help in terms of time spent on our site, another important measurement of success. And we also sell 15-second pre-roll ads to run in front of the videos.

  47. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks for not confusing facts with folk lore. Appreciate the comments with no basis in fact. Thank you.

  48. Anonymous Says:

    3:09 AM
    I jump at chances to comment on reserved parking spaces since that it my #1 Gannett pet peeve. That alone speaks tons about thought processes of the company’s decision-makers, I think.

    Great news organizations will survive only by making rational decisions. Making photographers carry heavy euqipment long ways to remote parking areas is not a good decision on two fronts:
    1. The great organizations see all the little details that go into “get it first.” They promote a sense of urgency. Parking photogs anywhere but in the closest spaces to exits says one thing, and that’s that management lacks that sense of urgency.
    2.Great organizations are run by people with the common sense that tells them the chances of dropping/damaging equipment increases with every step.

    Look around at your reserved parking scheme today. It will speak tons about the workplace priorities.

  49. Anonymous Says:

    12:21, we were a real paper once. We’d love to go back to being a real one. One that prints real news, not one that tries to pass off the reader contest of the week winner as news. If you’ll spring for the millions we need to get out, we’d be glad to go.

  50. Anonymous Says:

    11:35 am – Get the hint – nobody wants you! Gannett should unload the whole group and buy the Star Ledger.

  51. Anonymous Says:

    4:20, I assure you nothing would suit us better.

  52. Anonymous Says:

    Leave New Jersey alone! Maybe Gannett will buy the Star Ledger and absorb them all together.

  53. Anonymous Says:

    Hey 4:20, you try competing with the New York Time as well as the Star Ledger.

  54. Anonymous Says:

    Don’t forget the competition from:
    Trenton Times
    Philly Enq.
    NY Post
    Wall St Journal
    and the thousands of weeklies and other rogue papers that start and fail on a daily basis in the NY/NJ/PA newspaper business.
    We coulde only hope Newhouse would buy the Gannett NJ papers

  55. Anonymous Says:

    Hey NJ Group, stop making excuses for yourselves. Maybe if your content were up to snuff, your ads ran correctly and your papers weren’t filled with so many fluffy promos plugging more of your same old crappy contests, etc. you’d be getting somewhere. Newhouse don’t want you and Gannett just uses your losses as a write-off. Looks like not even JC can save you! Won’t be long now….

  56. Anonymous Says:

    Oh wow, that’s just what’s needed at Gannett right now, everyone turning on one another and dissing each other. Before you all jump on the hate-NJ bandwagon, walk a mile in their shoes. Buy the Ledger? Yeah, and after a year under Gannett you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between it and the APP…wake up!

  57. Anonymous Says:

    11:01, you forget, we labor under the same lame mandates as the rest of the Gannett world. We’d love to have content that was more than just fluff. It’s tough when the EE is dictating full-page coverage of Pop Warner cheerleading and two-page spreads on readers’ pets. Those aren’t the ideas coming from rank-and-file, trust me.

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