Author Topic: Is Gannett really that bad?  (Read 8210 times)

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Offline Mizzougrad96

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2008, 09:45:45 AM »
Is there a good chain left?

Hell, a few years ago, Tribune Co. was the best in a runaway. Now, not so much...

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Offline Frank_Ridgeway

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #26 on: July 27, 2008, 09:53:26 AM »
Except for the staffing level, I did not think it was so bad. There was TONS of bullshit, but it was standardized bullshit applied evenly, which I find vastly preferable to bullshit applied by whim. Of course, I would prefer a no-bullshit zone, but such places are rare. I graded it about a C at the time.


Offline Luke_Knox

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #27 on: July 27, 2008, 10:57:16 AM »
I think a distinction needs to be made here about working for Gannett ... a lot depends on circulation size.

My work history has been like this:  small Gannett paper for two years (sucked), mid-sized locally owned paper for a year and a half (awesome), and now a large metro Gannett paper for almost three years (also awesome).  Yes, Big G takes a cookie-cutter approach on their smaller properties, and that's not fun at ALL.  But as someone mentioned earlier in the thread, the biggest papers in the chain can bypass the corporate mandates and have their own identities (Indianapolis, Detroit, Des Moines, where I work, probably a few others).  What I'm saying is, big-paper Gannett isn't much different from most other major metros.

I figured that should be brought up, so we're not talking in absolutes about the company (which, I freely admit, has more than its share of problems). That's my two cents, anyway. Carry on, folks.

Offline Dickens Cider

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #28 on: July 27, 2008, 10:59:53 AM »
I think a distinction needs to be made here about working for Gannett ... a lot depends on circulation size.

My work history has been like this:  small Gannett paper for two years (sucked), mid-sized locally owned paper for a year and a half (awesome), and now a large metro Gannett paper for almost three years (also awesome).  Yes, Big G takes a cookie-cutter approach on their smaller properties, and that's not fun at ALL.  But as someone mentioned earlier in the thread, the biggest papers in the chain can bypass the corporate mandates and have their own identities (Indianapolis, Detroit, Des Moines, where I work, probably a few others).  What I'm saying is, big-paper Gannett isn't much different from most other major metros.

I figured that should be brought up, so we're not talking in absolutes about the company (which, I freely admit, has more than its share of problems). That's my two cents, anyway. Carry on, folks.

Wasn't Des Moines recently told no reverse type under any circumstances? Now, I maybe use reverse type once every 4-5 months (if that), but to be told never? That sounds like corporate meddling to me.
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Offline Football_Bat

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #29 on: July 27, 2008, 11:27:54 AM »
Ask the folks in Rockford who got bought out by GateHouse a year ago. That is, the ones lucky enough to still work there.

In other words, better the devil you know.
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Offline 2muchcoffeeman

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #30 on: July 27, 2008, 11:36:06 AM »
Gannett WAS that bad. In today's climate, with former "good" chains like the Tribune and MediaNews going south, Gannett isn't looking so bad in comparison anymore.
 

If Gannett has not actually improved, it's still that bad. Just that others are worse.
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Offline suburbia

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #31 on: July 27, 2008, 11:38:16 AM »
Never worked there, but Gannett employees tell me they micromanage the product from the home office worse than just about any other chain.

No photos bigger than a certain size, at least X headlines on every front, plus tons of "diversity" initiatives like forcing you to interview fans so you can have an African-American voice in the paper.

You should have worked at a JRC paper, or at least a certain one near its corporate headquarters.
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Offline pressmurphy

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #32 on: July 27, 2008, 11:50:43 AM »
Wasn't Des Moines recently told no reverse type under any circumstances? Now, I maybe use reverse type once every 4-5 months (if that), but to be told never? That sounds like corporate meddling to me.

Having served a lengthy stint in Gannett I can tell you such edicts on the superficial stuff tend to last only as long as it takes for a regime change to take place either locally or at corporate, which generally means 2-3 years at the max.

On the other hand, some stuff (like the seven-column grid on the cover) did get enforced with an iron fist because, I'm sure, they were the result of several very expensive consultants and/or reader focus groups.

Online DanOregon

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #33 on: July 27, 2008, 12:15:30 PM »
By establishing a paper trail I mean keeping a daily updated 10-plan, putting in a photo request, handling negotiations between subject and photographer, making sure an editor doesn't want to hold the story for a few days or move it up to the week you are on vacation because there is a hole in the budget and they think the art will be good, and hoping some actual news doesn't occur in the interim that will make all of your extra efforts moot. Imagine doing this for several stories a week and it can be a grind. I highly recommend the Gannett Blog. It's not a "bitch session" site, but you can get a good perspective from a lot of different papers. Including the one you are considering.
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Offline jdeclute47

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #34 on: July 27, 2008, 02:39:55 PM »
Thanks for all the replies. I thought this might create a bit of a firestorm.

I asked if it's "really that bad" because I was told throughout my schooling and career (about 4 years now) to avoid Gannett like the plague, but nobody ever seemed to have any concrete reasons for saying it other than something along the lines of "they treat you like shit."

To the person wondering about circulation, it'd be going from roughly 20k to roughly 40k in the Midwest.

Offline chilidog75

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #35 on: July 27, 2008, 05:02:30 PM »
Thanks for all the replies. I thought this might create a bit of a firestorm.

I asked if it's "really that bad" because I was told throughout my schooling and career (about 4 years now) to avoid Gannett like the plague, but nobody ever seemed to have any concrete reasons for saying it other than something along the lines of "they treat you like shit."

To the person wondering about circulation, it'd be going from roughly 20k to roughly 40k in the Midwest.

In this current climate, some would argue that you should avoid ALL newspaper chains "like the plague."

There are plenty of people on this thread that apparently hate Gannett, and with good reason I'm sure. But if you're going to pass on this opportunity and instead wait it out for one of those strong, stable, money-making, no-risk chains to hire you away - well, you're going to be waiting for a LONG LONG time.

In this job environment, I just don't think you can afford to swear off an entire chain of newspapers. Like I said, I haven't had ANY PROBLEMS at my current Gannett paper.
Man, now I've really jinxed myself.

Offline Herky_Jerky

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #36 on: July 27, 2008, 05:45:41 PM »
As much as I'd like to completely eliminate Gannett from my future possibilities, chilidog is probably right.

However, I do know one chain I absolutely refuse to work for -- GateHouse -- which basically means I won't ever be returning to Illinois to work.
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Offline FileNotFound

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #37 on: July 27, 2008, 06:09:28 PM »
I worked for Gannett for 10 years. My experience was exactly the opposite of many reported above: The pay sucked, but I was otherwise treated very well and had many opportunities to grow and learn as a journalist. There was plenty of corporate bullshit, too, but generally speaking it was by far not the worst work situation I've ever had.
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Offline BrianGriffin

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #38 on: July 27, 2008, 07:42:23 PM »
Gannett WAS that bad. In today's climate, with former "good" chains like the Tribune and MediaNews going south, Gannett isn't looking so bad in comparison anymore.
 

Yup. The bar has been lowered and maybe now Gannett can clear it without jumping any higher than it did when it couldn't even come close. to the bar.
If Gannett has not actually improved, it's still that bad. Just that others are worse.

Offline clutchcargo

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #39 on: July 27, 2008, 08:03:49 PM »
With so many papers across the board cutting jobs these days, how in the world can you possibly complain about getting a Gannett paycheck?

Don't like it? Start your own chain and show the world how to do it right. And if it's your money that's floating that boat, you can rest assured you'll be mcromanging the joint with your own set of rules in place.

Don't think so? Guess again.

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #40 on: July 27, 2008, 11:31:43 PM »
Word of advice: Apply, go to the interview if they want to bring you in for one and then make up your own mind. Like any message board, it's going to be hard to distinguish between the facts and the bullshit. For example, on the jobs board, my shop had an opening (it's a Gannett paper), and a lot of people were bashing the place. The thing was, a lot of the things that were said were simply not true. So take all of the posts (good and bad) with a grain of salt.

Offline Kid Bro Sweets

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #41 on: July 28, 2008, 05:12:53 AM »
I'm now in my 11th year at a pretty small Gannett paper and, really, it's not bad at all.

I have some critically clueless people at M.E. and E.E.

Still, I am allowed to handle business as I see fit 95% of the time. The other 5% ... I generally can anticipate the silly projects they'll throw at me. I'm generally ready for it.

There is a bunch of corporate nonsense. I ignore it. Most of the time, it goes away quickly.
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Offline hanging_curveball

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #42 on: July 28, 2008, 06:09:42 AM »
Ya know, Cargo, I don't think I need to start my own. My newspaper is actually gaining circulation, we've not laid off anyone and advertising hasn't fallen offappreciably. I'm deleriously happy at my job, I'm left alone to do my work and use my own judgment and making more money than I ever have. Not only that, but I can warn others what a hole Gannett is.

I'm sure there are exceptions, but my time with Gannett made me want to quit the business. Now that I no longer have to put up with their shit, I'll certainly retire where I am now.

Gannett = Zambia.









Offline Mediator

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #43 on: July 28, 2008, 08:02:24 AM »
Gannett might hold shareholder return to be slightly more Holy than the first amendment, yet it also as a company still believes information distribution has a future. And Gannett hasn't been dumping bodies as much as the other chains. If you want to move up in this business, you might have to go through a Gannett shop.

Check out the environment of the 40K paper and talk to reporters there. A lot of them probably have worked someplace else and compare.

And check out Jim's Blog.

Offline Ace

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #44 on: July 28, 2008, 08:08:51 AM »

I think Gannett is what the higher ups at the papers make it. If they are yes-men and women who want nothing more than to desperately please their bosses, it can be bad, I reckon.

If they bosses pay some attention to what the higher ups want and follow the latest corporate initiatives with a sense of perspective, it's like working anywhere.

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Offline Mizzougrad96

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #45 on: July 28, 2008, 08:12:44 AM »
Yes, Gannett is that bad.

The fact that most other companies have now sunk to their depths does not excuse them.

My favorite Gannett quote ever that I wish I could take credit for...

"Gannett exists so there will be newspapers to read in hell." - From a columnist at a Gannett rag.
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Offline rebelpaul

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #46 on: July 28, 2008, 08:14:16 AM »
Currently work at a Gannett shop, and I don't really have any complaints right now. Haven't seen too much BS, then again I've only been here for three months and work in a bureau. So, I never know what's going on in the main office.

Offline silentbob

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #47 on: July 28, 2008, 08:46:48 AM »
I havent worked for Gannett in years, but it does seem like they've been a little more resistant to laying people off. Yes, there might be reasons for that, but in today's climate, that would factor heavily into my decision.

Travel is being cut everywhere.
Resources are being cut everywhere.

If strict design rules and few jumps are more important than job security, your priorities are a little messed up.

Offline Mizzougrad96

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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #48 on: July 28, 2008, 09:11:00 AM »
I havent worked for Gannett in years, but it does seem like they've been a little more resistant to laying people off. Yes, there might be reasons for that, but in today's climate, that would factor heavily into my decision.

Travel is being cut everywhere.
Resources are being cut everywhere.

If strict design rules and few jumps are more important than job security, your priorities are a little messed up.


Gannett was making cuts before it became the hip thing to do...
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Re: Is Gannett really that bad?
« Reply #49 on: July 28, 2008, 09:32:58 AM »
I havent worked for Gannett in years, but it does seem like they've been a little more resistant to laying people off. Yes, there might be reasons for that, but in today's climate, that would factor heavily into my decision.

Travel is being cut everywhere.
Resources are being cut everywhere.

If strict design rules and few jumps are more important than job security, your priorities are a little messed up.


Gannett was making cuts before it became the hip thing to do...

Yup, they're already bare bones.