Jim Hopkins gets ink in Forbes

Dateline: Sat 01 Aug 2009

http://www.forbes.com/2009/07/30/jim-hopkins-gannett-business-media-gannett.html

Thanks to Gannettoid, which ran a story about Gannett Blog's Jim Hopkins' exit interview in Forbes.com

The whole Q and A is worth a read; hence the link, above.

But here is where the rubber meets the road:

"What's the biggest threat Gannett faces in the near term?

"It faces two problems: a crushing debt load and a leadership crisis. In two years Gannett faces a series of repayment obligations under various loans which will be difficult to meet, given the trends in revenue. The only way they've been able to sustain profits is by cutting and cutting. At some point their newspapers wont be able to keep delivering content that gives it value, either for the print or web editions. Plus, Chief Executive Craig Dubow is out on medical leave. He had another round of back surgery in June, then announced he would be out for another four months.

"Are you optimistic about Gannett's future?

"No. And I don't say that with any joy. I love newspapers and I have many friends who still work at Gannett. But technology always wins. It is transforming the newspaper business, something that Gannett will not do. The biggest thing Gannett has going for it now is CareerBuilder.com, which it owns half of. That's a job site that has nothing to do with journalism."

The post also talks about the licks Hopkins got in against Gannett. He successfully revealed some of the company's cheesier and questionable practices by its higher-ups, including big cheeses Bob Dickey and Craig Dubow

 

 

Comments

Stacy Harris [unverified] said:

Here's the problem in a nutshell: The Wall Street Journal is offering me year's subscription for $9.99/month. The Tennessean won't even try to match that, let alone honor its prior agreement (see below) to renew my subscription
at a reasonable (my current) rate under the terms of our current agreement.

In sum, news of yet another round of job cuts at The Tennessean came as I informed Ellen Leifeld of Jay Winkler's refusal to honor a prior agreement to renew my annual, paid-in-advance seven-day subscription (expiring this month) under the terms of the current agreement. (You'll recall an earlier post, some months ago, at Jim's Gannett blog when I requested this same consideration. What follows is an update.)

Ms. Leifeld has decided to back Mr. Winkler, so I copied this information to Gracia Martore, just to create some awareness at the parent company of a newspaper that apparently is no longer in the business of selling newspapers. No response.

While I awaited any response, the latest edition of the Sunday Tennessean arrived on my door, minus what appeared to be most of the contents of what used to be called its Showcase (local magazine) section. There was only a truncated weekly TV section and a syndicated Q-A column, similar to one that for decades was written by the paper's own Ken Beck up until Beck's recent "retirement."

I called the circulation department, which, thanks to outsourcing, is in Oklahoma, to ask if I had an incomplete paper or if what seems to be the latest reduction in the size of the paper is the new norm.

Miss Oklahoma didn't know. (Figures.) She said the best course of action was to send me a complete copy of the paper.

I guess it is cheaper to do that then to simply send the (full) section in question, though this is hardly a "green" solution.

The (second) newspaper arrived and, with it, confirmation that the first edition I received was complete.

So- after several successive reductions in content and in light of such waste, Tennessean subscribers continue to receive more paper for less money.

Despite all of this, I'm doing all I can to keep this newspaper alive (i.e., on doorsteps in print edition form) and my favorite fellow reporters (and other staffers) working.

I want to continue to be the newspaper's best customer because, if loyalty is not rewarded. we have yet another new standard at The Tennessean; one that hastens The Tennessean's becoming a Web-only option. If that.

Stacy Harris
Publisher/Executive Editor
Stacy's Music Row Report
http://www.geocities.com/stacy.harris/

2009-08-14 18:39:33

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