Archive for the ‘Tech 101’ Category

The Detroit posts have been brought to you by . . .

December 12, 2008

. . . crowdsourcing readers, and your frenimies over in the secret world of Gannett Blog.

WUSA: What’s as much fun as watching paint dry?

December 9, 2008

How about a live feed of construction work on the on-air set for Gannett’s flagship TV station? It’s being webcast by Mogulus, the video service GCI invested in back in July. Passing along the link, Anonymous@6:05 p.m. says in a comment:

“The newsroom has been torn apart for new furniture and configuration as it transforms into the ‘Information Center.’ Some question spending money on new furniture, even though it’s needed, when you are downsizing staff.”

Department of Odds ‘n’ Ends: Social networking

December 9, 2008

Is everyone now on LinkedIn? (Yours truly sure is!)

Carol Channing, Robert Goulet — and blogging!

December 6, 2008

[Look. At. Me! Channing and Goulet clung to their audience, too]

Here’s a little career advice about the value of blogging for the soon-to-be unemployed — and not just newsroom folks.

I wrote and edited for increasingly bigger audiences throughout my career, beginning in 1985 at the 21,000-circulation Pine Bluff (Ark.) Commercial, and ending this past January at 2.3-million USA Today. So, it felt really strange when the reality of my USAT buyout finally sunk in: I wouldn’t have anyone reading my stuff for the first time in more than 22 years. What would happen to all my wise thoughts, not to mention brilliant and timely observations?!

Seriously, though, blogging suddenly looked like a terrific opportunity to do several things I hope will move me closer to a second career — at the age of 51. That’s because it:

  • Forces me to read, analyze and write every day. You’ve got to stay intellectually engaged.
  • Keeps me on the Internet, where job-related sites and social networks now meant something to a new job hunter like me. I opened free accounts at LinkedIn, FacebookYouTubeFlickr, and Twitter
  • Put me in touch with recent co-workers — and helped me rediscover colleagues from the past (hi, Keith!).
  • Nudged me to learn basic online skills (like videos) that many communications professionals need to get a good job.
  • Feeds my daily crack habit: writing snappy USAT-style stories with many bulleted sentences like this one. Kidding! (I hope.)

Best of all, there’s lots of good, free or inexpensive software available online. Although I use Google’s free Web-based Blogger software, I’ve lately been tempted by WordPress. There’s also TypePad, and I’m sure a bunch more that readers will suggest.

Please post 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.

[Photos: Carol Channing toured with Hello, Dolly! until she was 75. Robert Goulet performed Camelot like forever]

I’m reading comments before publication again

December 4, 2008

A spammer has returned, requiring me to stay up much too late this morning, deleting dozens of his comments, plus responses to his comments, etc. So, I’m back to reading comments in advance again. I’m sorry about the delay this will cause, and I hope it won’t last long. But this is the downside of my allowing anonymous posts.

WSJ on the downside of laying off lots of reporters

December 3, 2008

From a new post on All Things Digital, the technology blog owned by Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co.; this is by MediaMemo blogger Peter Kafka:

Here’s an illustration of what happens when a large company full of reporters fires hundreds of its workers: They report on their own firings. That’s what’s happening at Gannett Blog, where former Gannett (GCI) employee Jim Hopkins is asking other former Gannett employees to share the details of their layoffs. Unfortunately, there are a lot of them to talk about — Hopkins, via a network of Gannett tipsters, has tallied up about 1,000 cuts just in this round alone.

Reuters, Poynter, E&P: Workers track own layoffs

December 3, 2008

The Reuters news service MediaFile blog says today: “(Jim Hopkins) is keeping score at more than 80 papers, thanks to a legion of newsroom sources that dwarfs that of nearly every other reporter who covers the business.” Meanwhile, Poynter Online offers a similar take on its E-Media Tidbits blog, where Amy Gahran says, “Gannett reporters cover their own layoffs.” And at trade publication Editor & Publisher, GCI staff react to mass layoffs, with updates and anger.

Urgent tech call: Here’s what the spammer is doing

November 29, 2008

(Updated.) Thanks for the feedback! I’m still on guard, but now I’m better informed.

I write this with some trepidation: The comment spammer attacking this blog just tried to post a comment, repeated nearly 50 times, that looked like this:

javascript://chicken little

I’ve rejected them all. Now, it appears the spammer is sending e-mail designed to trick me into turning over my Blogger and Google account passwords, so they can take control of this blog. I am not a tech expert, so I’m growing concerned.

This mischief is at least a reaction to my posting Gannett newspaper profit margins yesterday. It also follows some nasty business last weekend involving an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, the F.B.I., and Google into a reader’s anonymous comment that they had “brought a gun to work but decided not to use it.”

A question: Is that computer code above — or just gibberish meant to look like code? Please post replies in the comments section, below. E-mail confidentially via gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

PointRoll said axing dozens more employees

November 19, 2008

Regarding job cuts at one of Gannett’s more promising technology subsidiaries, a reader says in a comment moments ago: “Another 30 or so PointRoll employees are being laid off as I type this.”

For editors, new software tool — and Connell, too?

November 18, 2008

Gannett is on the verge of launching an online software application to make it easier for its newspapers to share and reuse each others’ stories and other content, readers tell me.

The service, possibly called Gannett One or Content One, could largely or completely replace what remains of Gannett News Service. What’s more, it appears to be a step in the direction of weaning the company off increasingly expensive Associated Press stories, video and other content.

CEO Craig Dubow and Gannett’s chief spokeswoman Tara Connell described the new initiative in a series of employee meetings yesterday during a Corporate tour of papers at Greenville, S.C., and at Brevard and Fort Myers in Florida, readers say. “There was a TON of open groaning and shifting about this from the news side of yesterday’s meeting,” one tipster told me about the News-Press meeting in Fort Myers.

In a curious twist, I’m told, Connell — who has been vice president over corporate communications since 2003 — would take on an editorial role, working with research and development chief Michael Maness to run the service. (I asked Connell for comment last night, but have not heard back from her.)

Gannett One would let an editor quickly determine which company newspapers have just published a spring gardening story on, say, planting tulips. The story could then be downloaded, re-written to include more local information, then published online and in print, readers say.

Dubow and newspaper division President Bob Dickey talked about the same sharing of information when they visited employees last month in Louisville, Ky. “Someone asked if this meant eliminating AP, and they said that it would probably happen later down the road, but not immediately,” another reader says. “The impression I got was within the next 3-5 years.”

Connell’s credibility problem
An employee since 1972(!!!), Connell has spent the past five-plus years in the public-relations spin cycle, defending Dubow and other top executives even as their compensation skyrocketed while revenue and the company’s stock price tanked.

To be sure, Connell has worked editorial before: Prior to being named the company’s top publicist, she was a managing editor at USA Today before being replaced during a change in top editors. While her defense of Corporate has hardly been full-throated, I imagine her credibility among some editors is now pretty much shot. (Besides, if Connell moves back to edtorial, who’s going to make sure you-know-who doesn’t keep losing her BlackBerry?)

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.