Author Topic: USAT reorg  (Read 9407 times)

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Offline geddymurphy

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2012, 05:36:02 AM »
If that org chart were updated today, it would include several layers of management interposed above Monte. Plus some video folks flown out very expensively at the last minute to the Super Bowl to do nothing of value.

After a couple of rounds of buyouts and layoffs, they've lost more good people than dead weight. David DuPree took the buyout. A.J. Perez, an actual investigator, was let go.

A national paper of that size should have some people who are experts in particular niches. But they shed Dick Patrick and Sal Ruibal. Kept designers who design two inside pages a day. Kept editors who have nothing to do.

And then they overworked some people, particularly those who were on the "dotcom" staff a while back. Some "dotcom" people were writing more than the "print" people even while they kept churning out the website.

So the questions this time around would be: Are they going to get it right this time? Are they going to come up with some way to integrate the expensive people they've hired? Are they going to make use of the people in the staff who are talented but not quite doing the right jobs?

I know people swear by Morgan's brilliance. But I know his track record with women is poor, and USAT has some very talented women in that department. And between him and the BNQT folks, who once unleashed the "Would you ..." feature on USAT's Action Sports page, it's hard not to notice that the sports front is bearing a similarity to Bleacher Report. (Yahoo's blogs often veer into that territory already.)

So maybe we'll see some great national sports brand -- it's fair to say USAT had pretty much given that away over the past 15 years through lack of investment in the Web and lack of distinctive journalism. Or maybe we'll see a bunch of snarky blogs and babe-ilicious photo galleries for a target audience built for Axe body spray ads.

It's just a shame that after all these months of secretive executive meeting, the staff is going to have to sit aroud for three more months in limbo, waiting for lives to be changed once again.

Offline 1HPGrad

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2012, 06:42:21 AM »
I questioned during Super Bowl week why USAT would flood Indy with reporters/photogs when one of Gannett's best papers was the host city, two other Gannett metros were 100 miles away, and Detroit was driving in.
Doing less with more seems to be the USAT way.


Offline brettwatson

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2012, 09:26:37 AM »
They do have talent in their ASE ranks. Tom O'Toole is very strong on colleges, and I believe he added preps a while back too.

Offline geddymurphy

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2012, 09:34:43 AM »
They do have talent in their ASE ranks. Tom O'Toole is very strong on colleges, and I believe he added preps a while back too.

Oh yeah -- they're certainly not all bad. And throughout the staff, there are some people who have little to do because of the way the staff is organized, not because they're incompetent or lazy. In fact, only a handful of people there are incompetent. The problem is that a lot of them have fallen into ruts. (Or been pushed into ruts. Beaten down into ruts.)

Offline Simon

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2012, 09:48:58 AM »
Why is it always OK to say that people aren't very good at their job because they've fallen into a rut, been pushed into a rut or beaten down into a rut?

Isn't it your job to show up, do your job because things aren't going your way? That attitude just sounds like a toddler at Walmart to me.

Offline 1HPGrad

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #30 on: March 03, 2012, 02:02:45 PM »
It's not OK, but their system is such that certain people can float.
In the org chart I saw, you had 3 people doing what one could have, should have been doing. In that equation, there is plenty of room to coast. Not ideal for anybody.

Offline Ace

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #31 on: March 03, 2012, 02:28:49 PM »
Why is it always OK to say that people aren't very good at their job because they've fallen into a rut, been pushed into a rut or beaten down into a rut?

Isn't it your job to show up, do your job because things aren't going your way? That attitude just sounds like a toddler at Walmart to me.

They teach bosses to motivate people and play to their strengths for a reason.
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Offline dooley_womack1

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #32 on: March 03, 2012, 03:06:54 PM »
It's not OK, but their system is such that certain people can float.
In the org chart I saw, you had 3 people doing what one could have, should have been doing. In that equation, there is plenty of room to coast. Not ideal for anybody.

In my loaner period there in the 1980s, there was a lot of people not doing much or not doing their stuff well. And a lot of people who were damn good.
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Offline geddymurphy

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #33 on: March 03, 2012, 03:39:34 PM »
Why is it always OK to say that people aren't very good at their job because they've fallen into a rut, been pushed into a rut or beaten down into a rut?

That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying management has pushed a lot of people, good and bad, into ruts.

Offline Mizzougrad96

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #34 on: March 03, 2012, 04:21:05 PM »
USAT has always spent an insane amount on money on shit that just makes no sense. I've heard stories about them sending writers to Lausanne and Buenos Aires for eight inches of total copy. The company is run by idiots and the employees are paying the price.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2012, 04:33:52 PM by Mizzougrad96 »
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Offline Johnny Dangerously

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #35 on: March 03, 2012, 04:27:37 PM »
Someone in graphics there could make a nice pie chart, though, showing how happy we in the USA are about that!
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Offline WriteThinking

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #36 on: March 03, 2012, 08:16:57 PM »
They teach bosses to motivate people and play to their strengths for a reason.

Perhaps things will be looking up for USAT, then, because this is one of the things that Morgan does best. He's smart and impressive, no doubt. But more than anything, I think, people just wantto work for him.

One meeting is probably all it would take to give anyone a sense of why.

Offline gingerbread

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #37 on: March 03, 2012, 08:24:53 PM »
They teach bosses to motivate people and play to their strengths for a reason.

Perhaps things will be looking up for USAT, then, because this is one of the things that Morgan does best. He's smart and impressive, no doubt. But more than anything, I think, people just wantto work for him.

One meeting is probably all it would take to give anyone a sense of why.
So why is there this perception he won't hire women? I've never dealt with him so honestly don't know. But it's definitely out there.
I'll see it when I believe it.

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Offline DanOregon

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #38 on: March 03, 2012, 09:41:30 PM »
Just be aware that I've never worked with a Gannett editor who was worth a damn that stuck around very long. The good ones get better jobs, the principled ones quit and do something else - the drones stick around.
Though I'm pretty sure that isn't exclusive to Gannett. Just fair warning, the place has a history of initiatives that whither and die after a lot of initial excitement.
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Offline Johnny Dangerously

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #39 on: March 03, 2012, 09:54:00 PM »
News 2000 doesn't know what you're talking about.
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Offline BigRed

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #40 on: March 04, 2012, 07:29:18 AM »
"Olympic women's soccer qualifiers and women's figure skating deserve major coverage!" - Christine Brennan
I'm just looking for clues at the scene of the crime...

Offline Ben_Hecht

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #41 on: March 04, 2012, 08:26:49 AM »
 
"Olympic women's soccer qualifiers and women's figure skating deserve major coverage!" - Christine Brennan

Blog away, Auntie.       ::)
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Offline geddymurphy

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #42 on: March 04, 2012, 10:12:50 AM »
Just be aware that I've never worked with a Gannett editor who was worth a damn that stuck around very long. The good ones get better jobs, the principled ones quit and do something else - the drones stick around.

Not really the case at USAT. For all its warts, it's a destination paper. The sports staff in particular has very low turnover. (Granted, one reason for that might be that ESPN doesn't raid USAT the way it raids every other paper in the country. But aside from ESPN, where would you go after USAT?)
 
Quote
Just fair warning, the place has a history of initiatives that whither and die after a lot of initial excitement.

This is true. The big difference here is the new management. For all our focus on Morgan, keep an eye on Beusse. He's practically the antithesis of the typical Gannett bureaucrat.

Quote from: BigRed
"Olympic women's soccer qualifiers and women's figure skating deserve major coverage!" - Christine Brennan

In a national newspaper, absolutely. Team USA is the home team. Figure skating has fallen on hard times, but I can tell you skating stories drew big numbers a few years ago. And women's soccer? National team? Abby Wambach? Hope Solo? Anything ringing a bell here? People read this stuff.

Of course, if they continue down the Bleacher Report route, they'll have a Wambach story sitting next to a "Hottest Cheerleaders" photo gallery.

Offline 1HPGrad

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #43 on: March 04, 2012, 02:26:34 PM »
It should be a destination paper, but I've never considered it close to that. Way too much casual fan fluff for my taste.
They have the staff size and budget to dominate, yet they fall short almost every day in their story selection and execution. I think it's one of the biggest underachievers in the industry, actually, and that's what interested me. I knew my ideas could help make it better.
I was at one destination paper, some might say two. I knew after 5 minutes I wanted no part of that place.
With Morgan leading it, I'd be a lot more tempted to go now, though. He will turn it into a destination paper.

Offline MileHigh

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #44 on: March 04, 2012, 03:33:58 PM »
It should be a destination paper, but I've never considered it close to that. Way too much casual fan fluff for my taste.
They have the staff size and budget to dominate, yet they fall short almost every day in their story selection and execution. I think it's one of the biggest underachievers in the industry, actually, and that's what interested me. I knew my ideas could help make it better.
I was at one destination paper, some might say two. I knew after 5 minutes I wanted no part of that place.
With Morgan leading it, I'd be a lot more tempted to go now, though. He will turn it into a destination paper.

Agreed.
They don't have to do this. Everybody knows the arithmetic. We get the annual reports. Several parts of their company are doing very well. The Rocky had a tough year. They decided to walk away. Basically, my feeling is they quit on us. They quit on everybody in the newsroom. -- Jeff Legwold, Rocky

Offline Mizzougrad96

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #45 on: March 04, 2012, 04:08:15 PM »
USA Today has a huge lineup of incredible talent that, with some rare exceptions, are a complete waste of their abilities. It's like having Tom Brady, Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, and then running up the middle 9 out of 10 times.

If the Gannett bean counters realize they can put our the same product with young, cheap writers, rather than talented, expensive writers, you could see the bulk of that staff hit the street.
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Offline geddymurphy

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #46 on: March 04, 2012, 04:19:24 PM »
It should be a destination paper, but I've never considered it close to that. Way too much casual fan fluff for my taste.
They have the staff size and budget to dominate, yet they fall short almost every day in their story selection and execution. I think it's one of the biggest underachievers in the industry, actually, and that's what interested me. I knew my ideas could help make it better.
I was at one destination paper, some might say two. I knew after 5 minutes I wanted no part of that place.
With Morgan leading it, I'd be a lot more tempted to go now, though. He will turn it into a destination paper.

It's not impossible to do quality work there. Difficult at times. I could understand reluctance to go there. But once you're there, not sure where else you'd want to go. Especially if you're among the older $taffer$ there. The people who are leaving are the folks who are getting worked into the ground for low pay but are young enough to start fresh elsewhere, perhaps in another field.

Quote from: Mizzougrad96
If the Gannett bean counters realize they can put our the same product with young, cheap writers, rather than talented, expensive writers, you could see the bulk of that staff hit the street.

That's my fear. Especially with all the middle managers they've hired taking up a lot of the budget. And especially with the sports front starting to look a little like Bleacher Report. They may just buy a bunch of blogs and figure "Reporters? Pfffft. Who needs 'em?"

Offline jambalaya

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #47 on: March 04, 2012, 04:45:48 PM »
Why is it always OK to say that people aren't very good at their job because they've fallen into a rut, been pushed into a rut or beaten down into a rut?

Isn't it your job to show up, do your job because things aren't going your way? That attitude just sounds like a toddler at Walmart to me.

I'm not sure falling into a rut professionally has any connection with one's obligation to "show up and do your job."

Offline Joe Williams

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #48 on: March 04, 2012, 07:57:43 PM »
Any place that makes people currently employed "apply" for their jobs is already missing a huge chunk of its soul. I don't care who the old or new managers are. If the boss isn't an amateur, he ought to be able to get rolling with people on a case-by-case basis, not require a big reset button.

But they can do it, so they do do it.
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Offline WriteThinking

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Re: USAT reorg
« Reply #49 on: March 04, 2012, 08:07:53 PM »
They teach bosses to motivate people and play to their strengths for a reason.

Perhaps things will be looking up for USAT, then, because this is one of the things that Morgan does best. He's smart and impressive, no doubt. But more than anything, I think, people just wantto work for him.

One meeting is probably all it would take to give anyone a sense of why.
So why is there this perception he won't hire women? I've never dealt with him so honestly don't know. But it's definitely out there.

I'm not in Morgan's head and so don't know for sure, but I really think it is just a perception, perhaps even a fair one if it is based on the hires he made at Yahoo!

But I don't think Morgan won't hire women. I think it is that he will hire the person or people whom he thinks best, without regard for color, race, gender or creed. He's not somebody who will make a diversity hire just for the sake of having a diverse staff, or representing a particular viewpoint. Now, who knows how that go over at USAT, of course, but he'd want the best staff, whatever its makeup, and with no apologies for that makeup, either.

And, based on Yahoo's lineup of writers, I'm not sure you can argue too much about the quality of that staff.