Friday | Sept. 12 | Got news, or a question?

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26 Responses to “Friday | Sept. 12 | Got news, or a question?”

  1. Jim Hopkins Says:

    I’ve just started this new open-comments thread. 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:

    Why don’t we ever hear anything from the Broadcast division folks? By all rights, network television is just as dead as newspapering, after all.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    TV is far from dead….although you would think differently if you read all the anti-TV press. Hang in there newspaper folks. You wont be dead either.

    TV just had the biggest ad upfront in history and the Olympics had the highest veiwership in history. Also, the politics spend in TV, not anywhere else because it works.

    Every single “OLD” media is in transition…but NOT DEAD. The people who wish our demise are the digital folks so watch out for them.

    For all their “old media is dead speak”, online revenue is pennies on the dollar compared with old media. We better be careful about taking our eye off of print and TV too much. Or we will be out of business because Print and TV still dominate the income sheet.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Someone asked yesterday about Saradakis and the digital initiatives….how is he doing in “transforming Gannett to a digital powerhouse”? Jim, what can you tell us there?

  5. Anonymous Says:

    “The people who wish our demise are the digital folks so watch out for them.”

    You must be kidding! This is so ludicrous that I’m tempted to sign my name so that you can do the same, and I can call you out in public. If you actually take this attitude in to work with you every day, then you, my friend, are part of the problem.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Cutting people to balance declining revenue is a failed strategy. As Albert Einstein is credited for saying, continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is insane.

    It is time for the Board of Directors to act. Regime change is the only solution at this point. Neither Craig Dubow or Gracia Martore is capable of seeing the way forward for Gannett. They must be replaced with people who have a vision for the future, value the employees (who are also shareholders) and customers.

    What else needs to change?
    IMHO: We need to have a new financial model – single digit profits for the short-run. The whole economy is suffering.
    Cut out all bonuses for people on corporate payroll for this year and next. This will send a clear message to all employees that the pain is being shared more fairly and there is a commitment to the future of both print and broadcast.
    Sell off segments, for example Newsquest, if necessary.
    Stop spending so much time and money on making videos for online information. Video for video’s sake is a waste of resources. Use videos when they can be exclusive or explore the historical context of a major event.
    Focus on the customers by closing the COEs and stopping the financial centers before they kill our relationships with advertisers. No customer wants to talk to someone in a call center after waiting online for much longer than was ever experienced before.
    Speak truth to power. We are committed to finding the truth in our watchdog role, but current top leadership won’t seek it from the people who are closest to the problems.
    Communicate. Your blog, Jim, is providing a needed service in letting people down in the trenches learn what is really going on.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Saradakis is a waste of space…. maybe he’s the one that presuded Dubow to buy more interest in CB… Bad move considering the rates are way to high. Why would I pay the CB rates when I can post an unlimited ad for one price or sometimes free on another site.. He maybe helped come up with Metromix, which by the way SUCKS..

  8. Anonymous Says:

    The television division is not dead. Cash flow at many of the company’s larger stations, Atlanta, Washington, Cleveland, Minneapolis, St. Louis and Denver is North of 40%. Yes 40%!

    They have a dominant but eroding position in Minneapolis, St. Louis and Denver. Cleveland is holding its’ own. Atlanta is third in their market based on revenues. Washington has underperformed for a decade. Media analyists blame micro managing from Tysons Corner along with well funded and well executed competitors WJLA (Albritton) and WTTG, (Fox owned.)

    Unlike the newspapers which by and large are market monopolies; the TV stations compete directly with three others who have exactly the same distribution capability.

    The model used in newspapers of constant promotion coupled with cutting costs does not work. Viewers vote each day with their remotes.

    With the above as background. Cuts have been deep. Local graphic artists gone in a month. Back office work consolidated and outsourced. Talent requested to take pay cuts. Several fired or not renewed based on salary. Long time behind the scenes non-represented employees shown the door. Capital spending frozen (4 months before the digital conversion.) You Tube quality video aired as local stories on the scheduled news shows.

    A plea to other Broadcast Division readers: Join in with your observations/information/comments.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Flagship WUSA is atrocious. During the recent tropical storm that came through Washington, they covered from the sidewalk in front of their Arlington office. Didn’t even try to get into a truck and look around. Anchors are aged, coverage subdued, old style bleeds it leads. Needs a huge kick in the ass, IMHO.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Why don’t you take your diversity issues up with HR, 10:34 AM. They might be able to talk to you about age discrimination in the work place.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    “”The people who wish our demise are the digital folks so watch out for them.”

    You must be kidding! This is so ludicrous that I’m tempted to sign my name so that you can do the same, and I can call you out in public. If you actually take this attitude in to work with you every day, then you, my friend, are part of the problem.”

    Indeed.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Was there a Q3 financial reporting consideration in the timing of the terminations?

    The cuts took place in the final month or so of Q3, i,e., in time to take a charge for the severance costs.

    Will be interesting to see the total oorporate severance costs.

    Analysts will likely be interested in the “going forward” payroll savings for 2009, etc.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    They are going to report quite a hit from these layoffs, so I don’t see any Q3 advantage. In fact, it could take the bottom line into the red, although some of this buyout money comes out of the old and now frozen pension plan. Where GCI is hoping it will show up is Q4, where there will be the added advantage of Christmas ads. That all assumes Christmas ads come in any number, which I am sort of doubting given the black mood of this economy. The layoffs will also make 2009 look much better than it would have. But make no mistake, we are in really deep and troubled waters here.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    1:05 is assuming that revenues will be a flat line, and that the savings will appear in the 2009 results. If that were to be the case, yes 2009 would look fantastic. I don’t think that will happen. One cost of the cuts is declining revenues. You think the communities where these community newspapers publish don’t know of the cuts and some of these places very blue collar, so look for paper cancellations.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Interesting comments about WUSA. Only point ..they are wrong. While I rarely watch the station, I did so on Saturday during the remnants of Gustav. The had some guy covering Ocean City, Md. Scott Bloom, I believe as well as a weather guy at Colonial Beach, Va. Plus reports from Alexandria and Prince William, Va.

    The story from Ocean City looked like it was from the Internet but there were shots of damage.

    I believe channel 7 is the one with an office in Arlington.

    Believe there is plenty to disparage at WUSA and yes, Gannett has cut them to almost nothing. But the storm coverage was in the middle-of-the-pack certainly not the worst.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    On the internet guys wanting our demise…I don’t think the poster meant Gannett internet people.

    It seems he meant the internet industry bad-talking the print business. The digital industry making bold and wrong statments about print being dead.

    That happened with TV too. The internet companies kept the “TV is Dead” discussion going when it was the furthest thing from the truth.

    Now the digital companies keep saying all ad revenue and readers are moving online…which they are to some extent…but not the degree of the finanial scaliablity that the digital companies want you to believe.
    Print and TV ad dollars are ten fold that of digital.
    And consumers watch more TV today thatn they ever have in hsitory.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Print and internet advocates can fight it out, but both are sucking air right now if you look at the figures provided by the Newspaper Assn. The problems facing the industry are coming from BOTH a decline in print ads, and Internet ads. This is a classic ad recession, so it doesn’t help any to fight over who is best at this point. It is also an ad recession that is worsening. If you don’t believe me, just do a rough count of the number of pages of ads in your paper and compare that to a year ago.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    I could not agree more 4:02pm. Everyone is hurting. It’s the recession that “isn’t a recession”.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    This recession (and I believe it is a recession) is going to speed up economic shifts that were already underway. That is how recessions work. That is not good news for print. I don’t see how you can possibly deny the inroads the Internet is making on print, and how it spotlights the antique ways of print. What other industry still has a distribution system that puts a product on someone’s doorstep. Home delivery of bread and milk were killed off in previous recessions, and I feel this recession will kill off home delivery of newspapers. It is too expensive, and it does not make economic sense. Printing on paper will follow as night follows the day and so how are newspapers going to be distributed in the future, and in what form?

  20. Anonymous Says:

    I just don’t get the print vs. online debate. I watched that one end about five years ago where I used to work. It ended when management insisted we ALL think visually and view ourselves as a news organization. I don’t think it helps things at Gannett when Martore and Dubow use terms like “print” side and “digital” side. Kind of defeats the purpose of having information centers.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Anon 7:53–I agree with you but, movie theatres had to figure out how to appeal to the audience. Going to the movies is a far different experience than it was 30 years ago. That is the only reason that movie theatres survive today.

    Newspapers need to figure out how to survive. That won’t happen until the digital and traditional worlds learn to respect each other. The first step is learning to get along so well that it is the same thing. Of course that is difficult when resources are scarce.

    I am no fan of Gannett’s management style. I am a fan of a lot of the people that work there (and use too).

    Personally, I think that a lot of progress was made with the decisions announced Tuesday because it got rid of a lot bureaucracy standing in the way. Those left (both digital and traditional) need to learn some lessons from one another, develop respect and simply get along and work together.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    So I’m taking some advice (which I think I read on this blog) and am looking to get the h*ll out of Gannett before the next round of cuts next year, which is pretty much a guarantee the way things are looking now.

    I’d like to continue to live in the area where I work. I grew up in the region and have family here. The only other media outlets around are small weeklies – and sonofagun, they’re not hiring right now.

    So I’m curious what jobs others who have left the Empire have taken, what fields they’ve gone into. I’m a reporter and have worked as a copy editor. I don’t have any magical skills in video editing, radio or marketing. I’m hoping for something with a modicum of stability and a decent salary – I’d work Mickey D’s if that was the package. Any advice from folks who’ve been there/done that?

  23. Anonymous Says:

    I’m sorry, I made the original comment about network television being ‘dead like newspapers’ with tongue firmly in cheek. I’m 34 and I still read my paper and watch ABC each evening. I do check USAToday.com for the headlines, though I seldom read through the complete stories.

    In many of our markets, internet access is only barely approaching 60% – yet people still need jobs, coupons, sales, obituaries, local news.

    For all it’s poor execution, local-local is a key to making us money. The Freep will probably continue to lose circ, as its attraction to readers has to be incredibly broad. But by keying into each little community around Detroit with weeklies, we can keep readers interested with news of their neighborhood.

    If the weeklies NDM’s combine to create a valuable overall insertion area, or even valuable zones, we can sell that to the right advertisers.

    Print won’t die. Our presses are still basically pushing cash out the mailroom door. We just have to be nimble enough to realize that we have to deliver audiences to our advertisers, not just news to our readers, in many different formats.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    8:25 PM
    I still think Gannett is way behind the game on the print-digital fight or game or whatever it is that seems to be going on. I think the company is making this way too difficult.
    Simply put, Gannett people have news/information. It needs to get from point A (internally) to point B (in the hands of consumers.) Some of the information is best presented through the printed word, other information is enhanced with graphics, photos and videos and lists are better for other types of information. To me, the challenge lies in finding innovative ways to connect with readers using all available tools.
    Seems Gannett is still engaged in a fight about “print side” this and “digital side” that.
    I’m just saying once again that where I worked before Gannett, management ironed all that out a very long time ago, freeing up the staff to innovate—and connect with readers in some very exciting ways.
    Again, when the higher ups talk about “print side” and “digital side,” it makes me sick. That kind of talk just fules the fire and limits innovation.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    Amen 3:21.
    Gannett owns a lot of great content producecd by great people.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    The content is worthless and useless until it gets to consumers. In other words, Gannett can give out awards, an EE can tell a reporter “great job,” but none of that really matters to the bottom line. Why can’t Gannett get a handle on that consumer focus? Has it always been that way?

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