Your questions, ideas for GCI’s newspaper chief

U.S. Community Publishing President Bob Dickey is inviting your questions about the just-announced mass layoff of about 3,000 newspaper employees — plus ideas for boosting revenue. He suggests you contact him at rdickey@gannett.com.

I’d like your questions and ideas, too. 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.

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9 Responses to “Your questions, ideas for GCI’s newspaper chief”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Cut at the top for a change, starting with folks making 7 figures. Eliminate all bonuses for chief execs, cap their increases to COLA, like the rest of us. Share the pain in the executive suite first, then look to the people doing the work on the front lines.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    who the hell gets COLA?

    i sure didn’t

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Mr. Dickey:

    I have a few suggestions as per your letter today. I’m not a publisher or general manager, so you might not listen to me, but what the hell. I don’t have much left to lose.

    (1) Consider a mass pay cut instead of mass layoffs. Make it a progressive pay cut, so those at the top will bear more, and you’ll hear cheers from your line employees.

    (2) Consider the possibility that the USAT experiment has failed – as a business model, that is, not as a journalistic enterprise. Just consider it. Please?

    (3) Encourage sites to cut specialty wire services, and then use your soon-to-be-laid-off reporters as freelancers to fill the gap – look at areas such as gardening, home, health, outdoor recreation, etc. The freelances will be cheaper while giving you local content, and developing a little goodwill among folks who otherwise will hate you for life.

    (4) Admit you and the rest of the Gannett brass have made some whopping mistakes in your management of the company. That won’t save us any money, but it’ll make those of us who expect to lose their jobs soon feel a lot better.

    Sincerely,
    A Gannett LIC Drone

  4. Anonymous Says:

    4:30 PM – thank you!

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Mr. Dickey:

    1. Take a look at your Regional Presidents. Some just aren’t cutting it and haven’t been for some time. No need to name names. You know who they are. What regions haven’t produced in the last 5 years, or 10 years. Isn’t the Regional President to be held accountable?

    2. Consider being a maverick and making daily newspapers FREE. That’s right FREE. Times have changed and everyone can get their information free nowadays so why should they buy a daily newspaper. Circulation revenue accounts for approximately 20% of newspaper revenue with advertising contributing around 75% (remainder is miscellaneous revenue). Protect 75% of your revenue by giving up 20%. It just makes financial sense. Plus, you really wouldn’t lose 20% bottom line because you could eliminate many expenses if you went to bulk drop. Plus, YOU can control the number of papers you want to distribute. Increase the number (reasonably) and you can get more preprints, further reducing the net effect of going FREE. Keep charging for information and you will lose everything. Think about it.

    3. Take a look at the perks corporate big wigs get. They are appalling. I remember when it was a little known secret that the big wigs didn’t pay for health insurance. Not a penny. I’ve been told this isn’t the case anymore, but trust me, there are big money extravagances that can be cut to save someone else’s job.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    hmmm… free daily newspapers.

    I’d like to see some numbers on that.

    maybe still charge (or even increase the price) for the weekend paper, but give monday-friday out free to the public.

    that sounds just crazy enough to maybe be the idea of the decade.

    gannett would have to cut operating costs way down, but if they could swing that. man. the readers would love that.

    maybe the newspapers could come out and be all heroic, saying things like ‘we’re making a committment to be your most informed and most reliable source of information which is becoming increasingly more critical in the world we live in today. and in order to provide the most information to the most amount of people, we’re now distributing our daily products for free’

    hmm… like i said… it’d be interesting to see some numbers.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Question for Mr. Dickey:

    1. Do you have a dick?
    2. Are you a dick?
    3. Do you need a dick?

    How the hell can you send a note to your employees by way of email? How cowardly of you. Get on the phone and start making some calls and stop hiding behind your corporate suspenders.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Very nice comments, very nice indeed. I am sure Bob will take these seriosly and get right on it. Maybe instead of the contstant bashing come up with real ideas..there are actually a few noted above then then the posters ahd to put some sarcastic comment. Want to be taken seriously, try being a little more diplomatic.

    I agree, there are some layers of middle management at the larger newspapers that can go. There are layers at corporate that can go.
    We should consider reducing the capital expenses this year. No need to remodel when we are laying people off and theree are several empty offices and work areas.

    Cut out the publishers cars, do not purchase vehicles we do not need just to be “green”, how much travle ca be vut for the group Presidents, VPs, ets and maybe consider more web conferencing.

    I would bet anything that Bob and company are not happy or looking forward to the layoffs. He did not need to send a e-mail out, he could have just told the Publishers to do it. Give the guy a break.
    The ask why isnt USAT getting ciuts? They have been fat and happy for years. I work with serveral USAT folks, great poeple but what a waste! There are significant savings there if we wanted.

    Again, the metros are fat with layers of mid-management. Nashville, Phoenix, Cincinati, Detroit, Indy, Louisiville.

    Another savings, let some of the papers bring thier ads back in house. We are spending more with 2adpro then we were before and we do not even neet to mention the quality. Let the newspapers take on thier own customer service calls. The COEs have failed in a huge way. Buck up, admit it was a mistake and let us take the c lls back in house.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    11:11pm Anon. You sound like a lame ass corporate soldier. Your suggestions are lame. How about you losers start FUCKING SELLING MORE and spend less time complaining. A simple way out of this mess is to SELL.

    Get out there are start earning a decent living while I kick back and enjoy this blog. Go bust your ass for me and other bloggers here.

    Dickey is Dickless in McLean!

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