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Best/worst newspaper companies?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by WTFünke, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. WTFünke

    WTFünke Member

    First of all, insomnia's a bitch.

    Second of all, I was perusing the job boards, and someone mentioned what a terrible company Gannett was. Well, compared to what? No matter what newspaper company you work for, odds are you'll be working for a low salary in a high-pressure environment with incompetent people at the top.

    So, I figured -- for companies like Gannett -- it'd be interesting to have a measuring stick. How do newspaper companies compare to one another? What's the best; what's the worst? What companies are great to work for; what places should you want to steer clear of at all costs?

    I've been lurking a helluva lot more than I've been posting, but I'm curious what some other people think.

    Just to get us started, I tried ranking them the best I could. I'm ignorant about some of these companies, and I'm sure my rankings are a little out of whack ... but, hey, you need to start somewhere.


    The I-Want-To-Work-There TIER

    Advance Publications - Conde Nast and American City Business Journals ... good reputations, good pay.

    News Corp. - Murdoch doesn't mind spending money and actually embraces forward-thinking and technology, even if it doesn't pay in the short-term.


    The Hey-I'll-Take-What-I-Can-Get TIER

    New York Times Co. - It's basically all about the NYT and Globe ... and when the Globe's circulation almost halves itself after staff reductions, I don't think the NYT Co. belongs in the same league as News Corp.

    Washington Post Company - Four rounds of buyouts in eight years for the Post ... but at least there haven't been as many cuts as some other places.

    MediaNews - Lean Dean was reassigned. (Maybe I'm biased because I used to work at a MediaNews paper, and I'd work at another one again.) Denver Post is in good shape ... and I haven't seen that much negative press about MediaNews lately. So I'm assuming that's got to be good.

    Tribune Co. - See: Carr, David ... His article showed management was absolutely incompetent. And the L.A. Times is a SHELL of its former self. Still, haven't heard much since the four-person committee replaced Randy Michaels and Lee Abrams. Maybe the worst is over. No news is good news. Right?

    Forum Communications - Closed two weeklies two years ago but has largely stayed out of the SJ spotlight. I know little about Forum, but I'll take Stitch's word for it that it belongs in the middle tier.

    Lee Enterprises - Haven't heard much about Lee since its companywide cuts from 2008-2009 and its desire to slash wages by 23 percent at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. At least it offered buyouts last year at the Wisconsin State-Journal instead of another round of cuts. And, according to Mark2010 and mpcincal, it's an OK place to work now.

    Hearst - Well, it has Esquire -- so that's a plus. But the San Francisco Chronicle ran Bleacher Report stories, and it forced the Seattle P-I to become an online paper. And it had cuts; rinse, repeat.

    Sun-Times Media Group - Reduced payroll 15 percent two years ago ... but haven't heard much since then.

    McClatchy - Cuts this year, big cuts two years ago, furloughs, etc.

    Media General - Recent cuts at Tampa Tribune ... rumored not to be companywide -- not yet, at least. Copy-desk consolidation definitely not a good thing.

    Freedom - I admit I know little of this place outside of the Orange County Register. Cuts again in March, but at least they weren't companywide.

    Gannett - Clueless management, bureaucratic nightmares, issues with OT pay, rumors of consolidating copy desks. On the brink of moving to the lower tier.


    The Fuck-My-Life TIER

    Cox - Look what it's done to the AJC. Sickening.

    Scripps - It's closed more publications than it currently runs. NO idea what it's like to work here now.

    Morris - Companywide pay cuts two years ago; bankruptcy last year.

    Ogden - If you don't mind earning $20K and not receiving a raise ... ever ... then this chain is for you. Bad quality control but haven't heard much about recent cuts at least.

    Boone - Figure it's bad from reading the job boards ... don't know too much about this. And, honestly, I've heard of very few papers this company produces.

    Wick - Barebones staffs. And, like Ogden, chances are you'll be earning between $20K and $25K.

    Heartland - If you don't mind being broke and overworked, Heartland is for you. You don't earn the nickname "Heartless" by being a great company. Hell, I forgot its actual name was Heartland because I've heard "Heartless" so much ...

    Paxton - Company motto: Step 1: Fire everyone. ... Step 3: Profit!

    JRC - The legend of "Roasted Nuts" lives on.

    CNHI - Worst of the worst? Might be a tie with JRC.


    EDIT: Added six companies, slightly reordered
     
  2. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    So we're debating the merits of the seventh level of hell compared to the eighth and ninth levels?

    They'll all fuck your life.
     
  3. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    +1.

    I don't really have any experience at the national chains, so I can't really comment. Belo (Providence Journal, Dallas Morning News) is suffering from the same slide of quality as the others, as they've completely retreated from statewide RI coverage to pretty much just Providence, with some token stuff in the suburbs.
     
  4. Cubbiebum

    Cubbiebum Member

    Not sure how Gannett isn't in the bottom one. Layoffs left and right. I wouldn't accept a job with Gannett right now unless I got a contract that guaranteed my salary for two years.

    I'm assuming Wick Communications goes into the Papers-So-Small-They-Aren't-Worthy-Of-Inclusion?
     
  5. mediaguy

    mediaguy Active Member

    Was thinking this might veer toward the "worst" rather than "best." A bit like debating "Best/Worst STDs."
     
  6. dirtybird

    dirtybird Active Member

    It seems a sad state when anyone puts MediaNews so high. Advance will also forever irritate me due to their non-centralized jobs listings. Nothing like being unemployed and hunting through site after site looking for openings.
     
  7. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Forum Communications isn't on the list either. It's the the middle tier, but with the owner's son taking over as publisher of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead without any significant hands-on experience with the company, it's a crapshoot to see how things turn out in a few years. One thing the publisher does have going for him is the swinger look in his mugshot for the paper.
     
  8. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I've lost track of how many brutal, excruciating stories I've heard over the last 3+ years about people losing their jobs.

    I know of a guy who was let go from one paper in 2007, was out of work for six months, got a job at a paper in the same chain in late 2008 and had to pay to move his whole family across the country. He wasn't there six months before they let him go.

    I know of one that let someone go the day a writer's wife and child were released from the hospital after a birth where the mother and baby nearly died.

    I know of another where a guy returned to work after getting back from his father's funeral and was let go that day.

    My wife was pregnant when I was shown the door. I know of someone on this board who had an identical situation when he was let go.

    They're all evil and none of them give a fuck about you.
     
  9. Keystone

    Keystone Member

    The family paper I worked for let me go without any severance and even though I've found a new job (which pays a lot less), I don't know how my family is going to recover from the economic hit we took. But my story isn't as bad as the photog who had been there 45 years and was a year away from retirement. He was let go the same day I was and the no severance really stung for him.
     
  10. No Paxton included in the bottom tier? What gives?
     
  11. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    It's amazing because for awhile everyone wanted to get to the main websites. Those who have worked for CBS Sports, ESPN.com and SI.com have enjoyed incredible job security, and it remains to be seen if Yahoo will be that way as well.

    Fox Sports looks to be getting stronger, but this is the same place that purged its entire staff several years ago, less than two years after luring top talent away from papers.

    We all know what happened to FanHouse.

    I know a lot of people who think Rivals will be the next to take a hit, but I'm not sure how that would work since so many are individually owned.
     
  12. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    They're all bottom tier. All of them.
     
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