Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Buyouts and Metromix

There are many names floating around the newsroom, people who are known to be taking the buyout. I won't make those names public, because some of those people are on the fence. One or two have turned in the paperwork for the buyout and then changed their minds. It looks as though the copydesk and Life will be hit hard.

And the reality of what the newsroom will be like after the buyouts is starting to sink in. Rumors are swirling about where Hollis Towns is going, and Tom Callinan is holding meetings this week with newsroom employees about what happens next. He wrote to the staff: "Editors and I have talked about possible scenarios, but we really won't know what the future will hold until we see who is on the final list on Friday. Obviously we may not be able to accept all requests for the buyouts. But we know we will have to do some re-assigning and restructuring in the aftermath. ... I don't have a crystal ball and I can't predict or promise anything about the future in these changing and challenging times. But I will give you straight answers as best I can."

Meanwhile, Gannett is pushing a project called Metromix (press release here), a large web-based entertainment database. Each Gannett paper is expected to contribute hundreds of items to the database. The deadline is next week, but the Enquirer is well below its quota. So this week, Enquirer reporters are having to waste their time researching and filing items for Metromix. Gannett often says it doesn't interfere in local news coverage, but here's an example where they dictate to the local papers, who have to drop whatever they're doing and respond.


Anonymous CincyCapell said...

Any idea of Bronson will leave? I cannot believe that Gannett wants to continue to pay his huge salary for the small amount of drivel that he writes.

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A previous poster indicates the Life section will get hit hard. Any details?

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A previous poster indicates the Life section will get hit hard. Any details?

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's still unclear how many have applied. (Only HR knows for sure at this point.) Deadline for applying is Friday. We have been told they will inform us on Sept. 5 which applications they accept.

Any names bandied about at this point are (a) rumors, and (b) unfair to the named persons. If they have to stay, they have plenty of reasons to not want to be tagged as escape wannabes.

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Escape wannabes."

I'd be willing to bet the farm that that describes nearly everyone in the newsroom. There is no shame in being honest, especially when most people feel the same way anyway.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Metromix for all you obviously not-too-savvy web users, was an entertainment site launched by the Chicago Tribune years ago. Gannett bought it (remember Tribune-Knight Ridder are among the 21st century newspaper casualties) and is hoping it will bring new entertainment web traffic.

Gannett has historically ignored the A&E potential of the web, especially in Cincinnati where it focused on sports even as A&E content has proven to be an equally powerful draw. It continues to think its A&E reporters are second class - big mistake in a town with a deep and historically rich A&E culture.

Someone will step in to fill the gap ... then they might be sorry. Then again, probably not - they're not that smart when it comes to gauging the cultural capital of the QC.

7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Latest news is that so many have applied that many will be rejected. Those folks will really be happy campers, don't you think?

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, veterans are likely the first picks (due to salary?).

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It isn't just A&E that's been neglected. Business has taken some hits as well. Core audiences being dissed, and for what?

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's it going to be like?

Pure hell. The ship is sinking; the paper is getting worse, and those sticking around will find they have to do more work and will get less respect. They'll be taking commands from on high, from those who know little about the real world of journalism anymore.

And as for whether arts, sports, or business will take the biggest hits, I think the answer is obviious -- local news. Someone, somewhere, will pick up sports and entertainment coverage. No one else will do the hard, grunt work of covering the daily doings of our local government and their assorted minions.

As for the Enqy reporters and assorted journalists, I hope -- for their sakes -- they can all take the money and run: Run far, far away from journalism. It's dead.

Former Postie

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @ 7:37 - you must be dreaming - or you just don't know how to measure online traffic. A&E content does terribly online - even when the dinosaurs in that department bother contributing.

If A&E content does poorly online, it is because the A&E department and its content is woefully behind the times and they do not want to work as hard as other departments to achieve success online.

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it possible that the Enquirer is still hiring? I've heard rumors that there are openings that are going to be filled ... seems like an odd time to hire new people.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Older people at higher salaries leaving; younger people at much lower salaries being hired??????

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once you hear who's taken the buyouts on the newsroom side, could you please post it here? Dedicated readers and those in the field want to know.

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to sources in HR, 76 employees applied for this voluntary severance aas of today.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard no hires in the newsroom - only in online programming.

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


People who have asked for the buyout and people who GET the buyout will not be the same list. We have to wait two more weeks (!!) to find out who goes. At which point the names will be all over town.

I cannot imagine the company would identify people who applied and got turned down, so unless those folks name themselves publicly we won't necessarily know who all volunteered.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which beats will likely disappear?

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gannett has historically ignored the A&E potential of the web, especially in Cincinnati where it focused on sports even as A&E content has proven to be an equally powerful draw.

Oh, please. You haven't looked at the actual traffic data, have you. On any given day, the top stories on the Web site are Bengals & Reds, and related sidebars, notebooks, etc. And it's not close.

The only A&E stuff that gets any run is the photo galleries, with their artificially-inflated page views. Give 'em credit for using the ol' "Tits Above The Fold" method of attracting clickthroughs with their tempting front page teasers.

If you wanna call that stuff journalism, that's cool, I guess.

10:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are the circulation numbers these days?

6:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daily circ was up slightly during the Oct-Mar period, only because of some crossover by Post readers. Sunday numbers are the better indicator, since the Post didn't run on Sunday. Enquirer circ for Sundays was down 3.6 percent, from 290,501 to 279,825.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the buyout decisions are two weeks away now, are the editors giving any signs of how restructuring will play out?

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Signs? Restructuring? Ha. In typical Callinan fashion, he has been holding meetings to tell everyone he has no idea what's going to happen or when, and what a hard job he has. He could have saved himself the effort by just admitting he's sitting around waiting for marching orders from HQ -- or for his own retirement date, whichever comes first.

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Callinan is a classic example of a wonk promoted all the way to the top because he enthusiastically says "How high?" when superiors ask him to jump. No amount of management training could ever have turned him into a leader. He loves having his private bathroom so he won't have to chat and piss alongside workers whose names he never bothered to learn. He also loves to come across a great protector of workers. If that were the case, he would have done something about the bullies and incompetents under his control. Everyone knows he spends his days polishing his president's rings and counting the days to retirement.

12:52 PM  

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