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Digital First pursuing Gannett

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SoloFlyer, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. Waldo9939

    Waldo9939 Active Member

    This poor kid got killed (the writer that is) for something that a lot of people don’t realize is not his fault. I just don’t get how someone locally can’t look at the pages. Yeah we all make mistakes (it’s happened to me) but when all that info that’s used in the deck is in the first graf I mean ... idk
    2muchcoffeeman and BurnsWhenIPee like this.
  2. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    I definitely feel bad for him. At my former stop, writers were responsible for including heds and subheds for all stories to be used online, then they were transferred over to be used for print.

    I wonder what the procedure is there - if they let the Design Studio do all the heds, if he is supposed to write suggested heds and subheds and didn't, or if he did and they screwed it up at the Studio?

    Whatever the procedure is, I'm betting they are taking a close look at it, at both the C-L and the Studio. Not sure if it's a fireable offense for whoever screwed it up - especially with how Gannett has seemed to take away every safety net there is and piled more and more on the Studio.
  3. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    At our place, which deals only with the print product, stories come to us with an online head (and sometimes a summary --- a little longer than a deck). Sometimes the heads work fine for print; others need only a tweak; and still others need a complete rewrite (due to specs, etc.).

    One-column heads most often need the most revision (because they would often take 10 lines if the online head were used).
  4. Roscablo

    Roscablo Well-Known Member

    Here's a staffing thing that caught my eye while going back to more Coloradoan observations. There was a big wreck on I-25 in northern Colorado on Saturday night just as you get to Fort Collins. It closed the interstate for miles and for hours. The Coloradoan eventually posted several updates on it but a Facebook comment called them out for a TV station in Denver tweeting out info about it an hour before the Coloradoan said a peep. The paper responded to that comment and said they don't really have anyone on the clock on weekend nights any more and that the only way they noticed it is because one of their editors happened to drive by and see it.

    A few thoughts, the first being what a sad state it is that the only way you get news is if one of your not on the clock workers happens to stumble by it. It wasn't even late. Is there no system in place to make sure if at least something breaking happens you are on it? I may show my age, but when I was at a decent-sized metro daily our editors had police scanners at home. And we still had a full desk and a couple reporters in the newsroom until at least 1 a.m. every day. Do these papers with no staffs left have no tools at all? Even with limitations you still are about the only local new source and still exist to be such. (And to sort of piggy tail on the hed above it's amazing they have anyone doing anything any more let a lone someone local looking at a hed.)

    Two, the Coloradoan often responds to criticism to their coverage and their limitations. They usually conclude it, like they did with this one, saying that's why they need people to buy subscriptions. I sort of hate it. But again I come from a different time, I guess, and wish they'd just take responsibility and stop making excuses. I also hate the sales pitch, which I have a hard time believing changes anything anyway even if the whole area all of a sudden signed up. But then, at this point, I don't even see how they are doing what they are doing with what they have. So I suppose I don't blame them.
    Tweener, MileHigh and BurnsWhenIPee like this.
  5. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    Agree with every word, Roscalbo.

    You want to attract readers/subscribers? Don't make excuses for what you can't do, and promise things will get better if everyone subscribes, which is utter horseshit.

    I remember the days of the "mojos" - mobile journalists, with the promises of staffing capabilities 24/7. Now, I'm told our local Gannett shop has literally no one working at all on Sundays, and usually just a producer for a day shift on Saturdays.

    Also, apparently all the social media work has been farmed out to the Design Studio, so they are sharing/posting stories. Which, inevitably leads to social media posts linking stories about news that happens 4 states away, with no local connection or explanation why.
    Tweener and Roscablo like this.
  6. justgladtobehere

    justgladtobehere Well-Known Member

    You have a couple of things going on here. 15-20 years ago you wouldn't expect the paper to be posting new updates like that. And the same invention that gave the newspaper the responsibility of posting on Facebook took away its ability to pay reporters. What do you want it to do?
  7. Roscablo

    Roscablo Well-Known Member

    It's not the updates, it's the response. I get you have to update in many different platforms, I never questioned that. This is where the issue came from in the first place, that one news organization updated and another -- the freaking local one -- didn't. Then the response was just an excuse and I hate that and always have. Honestly, most of the public doesn't care that you didn't have anyone working. They want an update by the area's main news source on something that is impacting the community. There could have been no response or worded differently, and that's no different now or 15 years ago. The public complained then too.

    But I did say I feel for them. I don't know what they do if they don't have anyone staffed. Yet it seems like there should be an on-call editor or something that can cover breaking news if it happens. This was just a car wreck that shut down an interstate (and luckily no one died). What if it was much bigger? The public expects them to be on it, and right or wrong whether they are subscribers or not. At what point should these papers even exist when they can't even cover the basics, as sad as that is to say?
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
    I Should Coco and MileHigh like this.
  8. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Had something similar happen at my last stop. Got back to the office after an interview to find the office totally dark. Picked up the phone to try and call the ME and the news editor and lines were dead. Same routine trying to reach them on my cell and via text. Finally found the iPad in the photo department, checked the power company's web page and was able to put about 100 words on our Facebook page. Naturally, one of the first messages was "what took you so long?" ... and power had only been out an hour or so.
  9. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I alway love those "tick-tocks" that Exec. editors would publish after a major story hits, sometimes it would be posted to Poynter or whatever - Reporter A heard something over the scanner and headed out, notifying Editor B who called a fotog to head out and various section heads and reporters trickled in to remake the front page etc.
    I'd love to read one today.
    "Major story hit on Sunday. But we don't have anyone in the office on Sundays and don't publish on Mondays we got right on it as soon as our 10 a.m. meeting and did a bang up job for the Tuesday paper. "
    HanSenSE likes this.
  10. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Well-Known Member

    I do. The Coloradoan sucked during the years I was there, and I suspect that Gannett has found a way to lower the bar. With Gannett, no matter how low the bar already is, never underestimate their ability to bring out the backhoes and shovels.

    It was poorly run, poorly designed, poorly presented and had next to nothing of significance in it. About the only thing that wasn't absolutely awful was coverage of Colorado State University athletics and the Mountain West (first Tony Phifer, then Kelly Lyell). It was, honestly, the sole highlight of that publication.

    We took the Denver Post and the Rocky before Scripps killed it. At work, the hospital had access to the The Coloradoan, and I tossed that section more than a few times because it was insufferable garbage.

    The difference was glaring. No chance that publication has improved. No way. (I know Matt Stephens will disagree. So be it. It's not personal toward you, Matt.)
  11. LanceyHoward

    LanceyHoward Well-Known Member

    DFM owns the papers in Denver, Boulder, Loveland (which borders Fort Collins) and Longmont, which is just west of I-25 between Fort Collins and Denver. What did they have? I would guess (hope?) they have 24 hour staffing somewhere at least in Denver that could have picked the story up.
  12. SoloFlyer

    SoloFlyer Active Member

    Should there be someone on staff and an on-call editor? Absolutely.

    But when Gannett and Gatehouse and others of their ilk refuse to provide the funds necessary to hire people for that job, there's not much these papers can do. If all I have budget for is two editors to man the desk, then I've got one working 8-4 and the other 4-12 Monday thru Friday. Maybe I pull one occasionally and have them work weekends and the other a 12-8, but every week? No way.

    And for all the people who respond, "Well, the news isn't a 40-hour per week job," I call bullshit.

    You believe that because when you worked in newspapers, you were paid a competitive wage and likely even paid overtime. Today, wages have stagnated, even at larger papers. The concept of overtime pay doesn't exist for 90% of outlets. And it doesn't exist at all for those who are on salary and not paid hourly.

    Then there's the shift in responsibilities. I have a family member who was a features editor at a mid-sized daily in the Midwest in the 80s. That job no longer exists. He went back to visit for the retirement of a longtime friend and former colleague. In the process, he found out the current features editor is also the entertainment, community, and editorial page editor and in charge of photo assignments.

    So, yeah, there's a lot of things that should be happening. They're not, and it's all because of corporate owners taking a giant axe to newsroom staffs across the country.
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