Friday | Oct. 10 | Got news, or a question?

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47 Responses to “Friday | Oct. 10 | Got news, or a question?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Anyone at Gannett using the Prestige content management system? My non-Gannett paper is finally making the switch and I got to try it out a little today. Very interesting but also very complex. A program like Prestige is customized for each client (newspapers), so your experiences might be different from what I have in store. But I’m just looking for how its impacted the production department and overall quality of the paper.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    We use Prestige in our editorial department, but I couldn’t tell you how it works today – we haven’t updated in six years.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Here’s something funny. We are no longer being paid weekly and our checks started coming in every other week. When we got switched I noticed my paycheck was shorted exactly one penny.

    I contacted payroll and they said it should be rectified the next time. Well, the next time I was shorted another penny.

    So now I’m down a couple pennies. It’s not a big deal, it’s just kind of weird. I think Gannett’s got some ‘splaining to do.

    Just my two cents.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I’ve always been paid every other week but I also noticed the same penny missing from my last two paychecks.

    I knew Gannett was a penny-pinching outfit but this sounds like a whole new tack.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    The newspaper industry has a unique opportunity to adjust investor expectations of profit margins to more reasonable levels. Instead of 25% expectations, maybe 15-18 would be OK, and we can all move forward without raking our core departments. If we reset these expectations, stocks will suffer, but then we actually have an opportunity to get back to growth activities instead of cutting ourselves to prosperity, which won’t work. Stop bleeding talent an institutional knowledge

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Rick Edmonds in the Biz Blog on Poynter wrote last night:

    Grisly Details of Newspaper Advertising Now Emerging

    "Obviously, the credit crisis and accompanying recession cannot be good for already-battered newspaper advertising. Now some of the details of the trouble ahead seem to be emerging.

    "The Newspaper Association of America quietly released an estimate six weeks ago that total industry ad revenues would fall 11.5 percent this year and 5.5 percent in 2009. Online ad revenue, once a growth dynamo, will slow to 1.8 percent this year according to NAA, rallying to 9 percent growth next year.

    "Like many NAA estimates, this one strikes me as optimistic, especially in comparison to the 15 percent-plus declines reported by some public companies for the second quarter of 2008 and the first two months of the third. In fairness, these loss estimates (the worst in the 58 years the association has kept the statistics) came before the worst of the Wall Street meltdown.

    "If you assume that nearly all consumers are pulling back on spending, either because of a loss of wealth on paper or anxiety over job losses and job prospects, there are a couple of implications for newspaper advertising. This year is expected to be particularly weak for holiday shopping, with retailers cutting back promotions correspondingly…

    ALSO:

    "For companies with extensive local television operations such as Gannett, Tribune and Washington Post, there is another nasty nick coming in 2009. It will be an off year without the benefit of the Olympics or political advertising, so local stations will not bring as much cash to the party as they have in 2008."

    Full entry at
    http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=123&aid=152015

  7. Anonymous Says:

    8:42 You are right. I didn’t even notice it until I looked at my paycheck stub, and they are screwing me out of 1 cent, too.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Question: How low does Gannett stock have to go before CEO Craig Dubow and the rest of the idiots running the GCI and USAT are axed?

  9. Anonymous Says:

    If the screw every one out of four pennies a month. How much money would that be?

  10. Anonymous Says:

    We got our P9 numbers recently, and they were bad. Extremely bad. There were a lot of gasps in the room when some of the numbers were announced. Also, while the numbers have always been available to us for the asking, this time it was different. They seemed to make it a point to let us know this time around what the numbers were. I’ve never seen that kind of urgency before. It almost feels like we’re being set up for worse news.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    9:53 You asked who is going to “axe” Dubow. To answer that you have to appreciate who “owns” GCI.

    Here are the major holders as of 6/30:
    Allianz Global Investors of America L.P.
    Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings Ltd
    PRICE (T.ROWE) ASSOCIATES INC
    Capital World Investors
    Ariel Investments, LLC
    VANGUARD GROUP, INC. (THE)
    STATE STREET CORPORATION
    CAPITAL GUARDIAN TRUST COMPANY
    BRANDES INVESTMENT PARTNERS L.P.

    The group above owned 55% of the outstanding shares of GCI as of 6/30.

    All together, “institutions” control over 90% of the outstanding shares.

    In KRI’s case, and most recently, in the case of Media General, institutional investors are the ones who ultimately decide the future.

    Would be interested to know what communications are currently going on back and forth between GCI’s BofD and the major instituional holders. This would include the dividend and seats on the board.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    P9. Also known as September.

    American business is needlessly obscure.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    anon 9:54

    $.04 a month
    12 months
    46,000 employees

    $22,080/annual payroll savings

    I bet we’ll pay an IT consultant $250k to find out why we dropped the penny and reccomend a fix.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Re: Penny shortage…
    Go rent “Office Space” and you’ll understand.
    On a related note, I watched this movie a few days before I quit Gannett. Quite inspirational.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Has anyone else heard about the massive amount of people at the Star Ledger who took the buyout? I’m learning today that the entire Business desk took it. It’s mind-boggling.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Some Ledger employees think that now that the other conditions have been met, all of the buyouts will not be accepted.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    9;54 no consultant needed. This “accidental” revenue windfall is sort of like gambling at Rick’s in the movie Casablanca. It is going to corporate books to be used by execs to show how cost-cutting measures they have taken justify paying bonuses this year.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    GCI broke through $13, down to $12.80 as I write this. I never thought I would see this sort of carnage. Where are those who were touting Gannett’s strength on this blog a couple of weeks ago? The market is showing how idiotic those views really were.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    At $12 a share, Gannett stock is worth less than a decent bottle of wine.

    I don’t know if there’s a connection between the two, but somehow I’m sure I would rather spend my money on the wine than the stock.

    At least I know I would feel better after I downed the bottle.

    So everyone cash in your stock and go get drunk!

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Nobody reads the newspaper anymore. Two out of 63 homes in my neighborhood receive the paper. That is the average.

    Need I say more CNN and Fox news are free. As with TV for your local.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    9:07 Following your recommendations would mean the stock would really tank. You need to understand GCI was set up as a money-making machine, and they will cut and shave to ensure they hit those numbers. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself why they have not cut the dividend. Stocks are more important than people to these execs, and their salaries tied to stock performance, not the number of prizes they win.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    CNN and Fox cover little actual news. Most of their air time is giving to people from the “left” or “right” arguing about what the news means, spinning it to their purposes. Too many people mistake talk shows for news nowadays, because corporations have abused and debased the meaning of journalism.

    As for TV and local news, what’s that? — Murders, car crashes, the occasional scandal. Do they cover local government, do they really inform people what their officials are doing, how their tax money is being spent? All too rarely. Newspapers do that far more than any other medium. If people don’t want to know, well, when government, or big business, hoodwinks and hornswoggles them, it’s their own damn fault for being purposely blind and willfully ignorant.

    Anon wrote:

    Nobody reads the newspaper anymore. Two out of 63 homes in my neighborhood receive the paper. That is the average.

    Need I say more CNN and Fox news are free. As with TV for your local.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    Another day, another hostile email from my so-called boss.
    Maybe the best thing for humanity would be this stock going to zero?

  24. Anonymous Says:

    The analysts will readjust for all companies….they will have to. it wont be up to GCI…the anlaysts will make their predictions and as always, GCI will have to meet it. All stock will get readjusted based on a 40 percent drop in the market.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    Buy outs offered? maybe this will be the last time. If offered, should we take it? next time could be a simple “good bye and thanks”. No buy out.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    I am assuming corporate got that $1.2 billion loan, in part to pay for buyouts. So yes, I think buyouts are coming, and yes I am inclined to look at the offer more seriously this time.

  27. Anonymous Says:

    The time for buyouts is gone. Think layoffs, and big layoffs, too. This stock market collapse signals a really big recession is coming by the end of this winter, and corporate would be really stupid not to see it. That clearly means new very radical layoff and cost-saving plans are being pieced together. I shudder thinking of what they have in store for us.

  28. Anonymous Says:

    Frankly, I have worked at a lot of companies and most of you got a pretty good deal with a buy out. You don’t even want to know how bad it is to be laid off or bought out at other companies, even after 20 years. Gannett was pretty decent, to be honest.

  29. Anonymous Says:

    As for our stock price we could, for a little comparison, be General Motors. Their stock is $4.75 as of this afternoon which was over $23.00 in May of this year.

  30. Anonymous Says:

    CNN and FOX are not free….checked your cable bill lately. Its the basic cable subscriber fee. where have you been?

  31. Anonymous Says:

    Raising USAT to $1 in the midst of a recession is akin to raising taxes. Watch circulation really tank when this price increase takes effect.

  32. Anonymous Says:

    Who picked Dec.8 as the day for the increase in USAT prices to $1? The day after Pearl Harbor?

  33. Anonymous Says:

    Every company is raising prices to consumers as costs go up. Been to the grocery store lately? Seen the price of milk, bread, soft drinks, chips, eggs, chicken, gas?
    This is nothing new for consumers. They are paying higher prices for everything and frankly a buck for a newspaper is still a deal.
    will some people bail? of course. But don’t overstate this.

  34. Anonymous Says:

    3:44, you’re over simplifying this price hike situation, and comparing apples to oranges in doing so. All consumer goods are not the same. Many people I know wouldn’t pay a buck a day for something they can get for free online. That’s what makes this different than prices going up on eggs or gas. Throw in the fact that circulation is trending downward and the content of the newspaper is being reduced, and the problem gets worse. Again, prices might go up on eggs and gas, but you still get the same eggs and the same octane fuel. What I see in USA Today, for instance, is a very diminished product. Frankly, I think this price hike is another way of getting out of the print biz. They’d pull the plug entirely if they could, but for various reasons, that’s not feasible right now.

  35. Anonymous Says:

    4:13, You are dean on. They are pulling the resources away from print and eventually they will pull the plug. An AME admitted it to me, I’m not sure if he was suppose to be that candid with me or maybe he was trying to sound like a big shot. But he said, “That the company will not invest anything in the future of print and that all the resources are going to the web.”

  36. Anonymous Says:

    The Gannett suits at the Death Star proclaimed the abandonment of newsprint as inevitable a couple years ago. It took me months of disbelief and disgust (I know, I am a bit slow on the uptake) to finally realize that the EE and ME at my site didn’t give a shit about the newspaper anymore. And they had no vision or clue about the digital future except what corporate told them. The information center concept signalled the start of the downward spiral. The main cash cow of print was being mortally neglected as the digital shift was taking place onto a dull, cookie-cutter, cluttered, anemic Web site with a trickle of a revenue stream.
    Hard to make sense of any of it. It seemed like slow suicide.
    Gannett owns a lot of news operations. I would imagine it will hang onto enough digital and broadcast properties to survive as a corporate entity, but it will be a woefully smaller company. We are caught in a horrible rip tide and the outcome is uncertain.

  37. Anonymous Says:

    OK, Everyone, here in a “nutshell” is the problem with Gannett and the newspaper industry in general. It is a “failure to adapt” the best analogy is that of the music recording industry…. Music is as popular as ever, however, the way that we listen is different. Music, recording artists and listeners haven’t gone away but the way they listen to their music has changed dramatically. People now listen to music, via: MP3, IPOD’s, satellite radio and CD’s but ….. ……… drum roll not LP’s AKA “the ole’ vinyls”; “long playing records”. The newpaper industry is producing LP’s as the world has moved on. To continually produce an obselite product is very close to the definition of insanity……. That in a “nutshell” is what has happened to Gannett and the newspaper industry. Google, Yahoo and even AOL (as decrepit as it is) at least recognized the opportunity of change) and if the same forces were in place within the newspaper industry and not outside of it (with their absolute arrogance) print would already be a thing of the past and we would all be reading the daily news from personal PDA’s; GCI would be at $300 a share. When the economy recovers from this horrible state, one thing for sure is that the newspapers will be left behind (what is left of them) as an amoeba of its formal self ………….R.I.P Gannett and the rest of you……

  38. Anonymous Says:

    @6:20 PM: Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    The people in charge at my paper barely understand how the Internet operates – even our own site. Our publisher was surprised to find out that actual people updated our front-page carousel; he thought it somehow happened automatically, like magic.

    Sadly, he thinks the same about how the paper comes together.

  39. Anonymous Says:

    to 12:32… do you really think that newsprint will somehow vanish forever? what about magazines? you probably think that books will no longer be with us in the near future…remember how people in the 1950’s thought we’d be living in the 21st century?… well that’s you!

  40. Anonymous Says:

    @1:10 AM: I’m still waiting for my Jetsons bubble car and my jetpack. Damn it!

  41. Anonymous Says:

    “3:44, Many people I know wouldn’t pay a buck a day for something they can get for free online”

    As with the straightening out of “free” CNN and Fox. “Online newspapers” aren’t free either. Roadrunner light, at a sale price, is 20 bucks a month, and a lot more people are quitting being online for they can’t afford that. What’ll papers do then with all their cost busting technology?

  42. Anonymous Says:

    “12:32 AM” Yeah. That’s right. Just like papers went away when radio came along, and went away when TV came along. Look at war ravaged areas. After the TV station and broadcast stations get blown up, what delivers as much news as possible? When a hurricane hits, newspapers are the third thing people go out after next to water and batteries.

    There will always be newspapers. Maybe there won’t be anybody left who knows how to make one and deliver it however!

  43. Anonymous Says:

    There WILL always be newspaers; there WILL NOT be newspaper conglomerates.

    Do a simple discounted present value of future (DECLINING) earnings at the following rates: 6%, 8%, 10%, and 15% interest rate yields. (15% because of INFLATION induced interest rate rises associated with $1+ Trillion annual federal budget deficits). You will see that GANNETTS “Real” Market Value (AFTER ALL DEBT) is very very small.

    God willing management will not be permitted to get Golden Parachutes.

  44. Anonymous Says:

    Opinion: The French newspaper industry – A state run crisis
    Posted by Lauren Drablier on October 7, 2008 at 12:12 PM
    Bertrand Pecquerie wrote in an article in Le Monde yesterday that the French newspaper industry is in crisis and, worryingly, turning to the State for help. Newspapers have been subsidized in France for the past ten years and, in those ten years, the situation has not improved, it has actually worsened.

    Pecquerie believes that there are four core problems facing the industry and these are not being addressed. The four core issues are method, diagnosis, objective and means.

    Method

    The idea that the State is remodeling the press is absurd. The brutal and authoritative re-composition of the audio and visual sector in France in January 2008 should be a clear enough indication of what the State can do to newspapers. The best method would have been a reorganization of newspapers from within, rather than just handing their executive powers to the state.

    Diagnosis

    The French press is currently suffering from a crisis of demand. It is the fault of the readers and the buyers who, year-after-year, desert the kiosks. But, what we forget is that the decline in France is no less or no more than the rest of Europe, and it is more a consequence than a cause.

    The real problem is the crisis of what’s in the market for newspaper readers. If the public no longer purchases newspapers, its because they do not have enough choice, they are not being offered enough diversity. There are 350 dailies in Germany versus 80 in France. Sweden also has 80 dailies, but France has seven times the population. Over the past five years more than ten new newspapers have been created Western Europe, but not one of them is in France. Another factor in the crisis is editorial content: some dailies have cut their content by up to 20%, while their price has increased by 30%. We wonder why readers don’t appreciate the changes.

    The industry should ask itself about the incredible Malthusianism taking place in the French press. Why is it that in almost every European country it is possible to find a newspaper for 50 cents, but not in France? Why is it that the content of a paid-for daily in France has the same content as a free daily in London?

    Objective

    Without doubt, the under-capitalization of French newspapers has made them unable to invest and adapt to new forms or models on the internet or mobile platforms. The UK’s Guardian website draws 23 million unique visitors, the equivalent traffic to ten French news sites.

    There is talk of relaxing the current legislative constraints that restrict media companies from owning more than one news source. If this occurs, it would mean that newspapers could also own television and radio stations. However, this would not change anything, because in France, this would just mean increased influence in the media world, not an increase in revenue. For example, for groups such as Bouygues, Lagardère and Dassault, media outlets are their second means of income; whereas with Axel Springer, Bertelsman, Trinity Mirror, Prisa, RCS, Bonnier, Stampen, Ringier and Edipresse, are more or less 100% media companies. This means that they have more of an incentive to develop their models. A dose of European press capitalism would do the French model some good.

    If there was to be one objective for the French press, it would be to open France to European companies who know how to create dailies that make an impression, that know how to develop in a pluralistic environment and who know how to make a profit. We are wrong about our objective, European champions – yes, French champions – no.

    Means

    The press is approaching this problem by asking the State for financial assistance – over 280 million euros. For the past ten years, the subsidies have not stopped increasing, while the crisis in the French press continues. This clearly illustrates that we are approaching this problem with the wrong logic, and the state keeps throwing money into a bottomless pit.

    The paradox is that the state is maintaining certain dailies. All countries in Europe help their newspapers in different ways, but the fact that French newspapers depend on the State is unhealthy. A state-subsidized press will become, whether we want it to or not, a tool of the state, and will not push the limits when reporting on the state so as not to step on the toes of those who control it.

    The real issues are elsewhere. Instead of focusing on the newspapers that exist, why doesn’t the State focus on the creation of more multimedia outlets on the Internet and other new media platforms? Essentially, should the state continue to pay for the publication of Libération or choose to support the development of Rue89.com, which has the same type of journalism as the former (the creators of the site used to work for Libération)?

  45. Anonymous Says:

    Jim:
    I made that suggestion several weeks ago about spawning several newspaper blogs under the “Hopkins Truth Be Told” banner.
    You’ve now been mentioned — sort, of — by AP and apparently CNN. You really should get an agent and figure out how to make money from your soon to be in demand opinion.
    Two famous quotes about luck apply:
    “Luck is the residue of a grand design.”
    “Luck favors the prepared mind.”
    Good luck to you and keep up the good work.

  46. Anonymous Says:

    Stupidity in Tampa/St. Petersburg: Gannett is changing its TV station’s handle from “Tampa Bay’s 10” to “10connects.com”. BIG-TIME FAIL!

  47. Anonymous Says:

    “I’m still waiting for my Jetsons bubble car and my jetpack. Damn it!”

    LOL! If I remember correctly good old George was still reading a newspaper!

    Newspapers are not dead, they’ll be around for a long time. Unless someone can figure out how the net make up the 80% of the revenue newspapers bring in for GCI.

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