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Gannett's regional toning center

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by wedgewood, May 1, 2007.

  1. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Toning center? They meant tanning center. Sauna, too.
  2. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Nicely done, Frank...
  3. dog428

    dog428 Active Member

    I swear to God, you can come up with the absolute dumbest idea imaginable, but as long as the presentation of that idea includes the words "increases the bottom line," Gannett will give it a shot.

    They're all about some "centers" these days. They've got a center handling complaints. That means if some poor sap in Green Bay doesn't get his paper, the person handling that problem is working in South Carolina.

    There's a center for diversity, a center for newsroom advancement, a center for something having to do with creating better websites. Now, they've got this dumbass toning center.

    The most amazing thing to me is this: All of these execs have somehow overlooked one basic solution to all the problems -- a better newspaper. They keep trying to figure out ways to save money and never think of ways to make money. They routinely slash the budgets of their newsrooms and leave circulation and advertising running right along. They've been trying the same approach for years, and it ain't worked yet.
  4. SoCalDude

    SoCalDude Active Member

    Few years ago, we have a Lakers playoff game. We scramble to get it all done, and go to typeset the cover, but the main photo isn't toned yet. We wait. Still not toned. I go across the building to the imaging dept. The guy has the photo on his screen. I say, "What's wrong?" The guy says, "We don't think Shaq's skin tone is quite right. What do you think?" I say, "I think we're 20 minute past deadline, just finish the motherfucker. We're not going to get our ass chewed if his skin tone is slightly off. We will get our ass chewed for missing deadline."
  5. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I don't know, the Gannett paper I worked for was pretty good at developing all kinds of special sections and niche products to pull in the loot. It wasn't always such a joy to be working in the newsroom because staffing got thinner. But I stood in awe of the publisher because A.) he seemed to work magic in increasing revenue and B.) there was no pretense or bullshit about what he was doing, it was like watching a shark eat, he was just a shark being a shark, just pure animal instinct, you couldn't really blame him, it was just the nature of the beast. I was there when Gannett bought us and in some ways I was happier (although overworked) because all the games and guesswork about what was wanted from above ceased, like, immediately. You didn't have to worry about flavor of the month, you didn't have to worry about glass offices pushing pet agendas in the guise of news, you knew the goal was to sell papers, sell ads and do it cheaply as possible. Now this was one of the larger papers in the chain, I can't speak for the little cash calfs. But I liked a lot of it, it was a relief from the fucking posturing and doubletalk. I left for more money, basically, so am I really that different from them?
  6. dog428

    dog428 Active Member

    I sort of felt the same a while back. But after seeing how these approaches just murder a newspaper, it makes me sick now.

    All of the overworking and underpaying means one thing: Good people leave in a hurry, unless they're like me and are stuck in the situation because of outside circumstances.

    And when good people leave, the first impulse is always, always, always to determine if we really "need" that position. The second objective is to hire someone -- ANYONE -- as cheap as possible. Yeah, they'll make some show of interviewing people, but it's just a show. Nine times out of 10, they're going to skip over the best candidate and go with the guy who'll take the least amount of money, no matter if he's worthless or not. Then the editors will spend the next three months riding the guy, who they knew couldn't do the job in the first place, and eventually force him to leave. The turnover rate on our news side is approaching 50 percent. No lie. In the time I've watched 15 people come and go from our news side, the same three people have been working the counter at the barbecue restaurant down the street.

    Yeah, the special sections often bring in a ton of money. But at the same time, when you continue to cut staff, who's going to do the sections?

    I have no problem with the company making money. I don't expect anything less and I don't hold them to a higher standard than I hold myself. We're all in this, ultimately, for the money. If the paychecks stopped coming, we'd fold it up and find something else to do. My problem is in the way they're going about it. They're attempting to sell a terrible product and can't figure out why no one's buying it.
  7. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    If the Des Moines paper was God's gift to journalism, I'd go "okay, maybe this might work." But considering the Register's design is blah, how do you expect them to get toning correct... lol
  8. This is just a truly awful idea.
    Why is it that these cost-saving ideas always seem to have no thought to how a newspaper actually works?
    It's like when our paper decided there would never be any overtime, ever. The publisher (who, of course, came up through advertising) said, "If you get to 40 hours for the week, go home. You're done."
    I suppose when I'm in the middle of laying out a section, I just get up and leave it blank, huh? There won't be anyone else who can finish it, either, because they'll all already be at 40 as well.
    The way to increase revenue is to invest in our product. Why can us underlings (the ones they view as less intelligent) see that, but the bigwigs can't?
  9. Moondoggy

    Moondoggy Member

    Once again, Gannett lives down to its "evil empire" nickname. And they wonder why this business is in trouble.
  10. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    Yes, because the quality of your work, and therefore the product you work for, didn't suffer because of this pursuit for more cash.

    Youre getting more money was a result of good work. Gannett getting more money is a result of cheapening the product by stripping the newsroom staff, reducing the size of the newspaper, etc.
  11. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    What have you ever seen to give you the idea that Gannett gives a crap about design?
  12. crusoes

    crusoes Active Member

    When we hired a photo toner, and we got blotchy mugs back, and wire photos dropped off at 3 p.m. returned promptly at 9:30, I thought, well, this is the goofiest idea ever. But I was guilty of an unpardonable sin: A lack of imagination.

    From the time this "idea" was rolled out, to last night, when we stopped getting photos at 7 p.m. and the guy in charge left his phone to voicemail, I have refused to get angry despite the utter lack of organization on the part of corporate. I merely chuckle, and I've been laughing a lot. First, because it is funny, in a perverse sort of way; secondly, driving to Des Moines is both a waste of gas and time; and, thirdly, resistance is futile to the corporate Borg.

    I guess we can give them props for trying new ideas. But not testing them first is sheer lunacy. That and I read our local JRC newspaper yesterday and repeated my daily mantra: "As frustrating as Gannett can be, it could be so much worse."

    Besides, no one wants to hear you bitch. Laughing keeps them guessing.
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