This speaks for itself: pffft

Dateline: Mon 17 Aug 2009

This email is from James Keough, vice president for human resources at the Indianapolis Star and a No. 1 Gannett hatchet man -- (I say "a" hatchet man, because there are so many No. 1 hatchets there that he's simply part of the bigger picture. I'm sure he'd like that, being a team play type of guy).

He sent it out today as part of the Star's weekly bulletin to all INI employees.

It is so choice that I should print it simply without commentary, but I must say this: anyone who has entertained any doubt whatsoever that Gannett is dead in the water can now rest assured -- it's a goner.

Here is what Mr. Keough has to say to those few employees still left:



"For Star Media Employee Use Only"




‘News From You’ Launched


"News From You has officially launched!  Go to to see and use the updated system.  This feature has been enhanced to enable all residents to post their own news, photos and events on the community web sites.  A selection of submissions will also be included in the print zoned community sections.  


"All first submissions will be approved and posted by IC staff but once approved as a submitter; all subsequent submissions will be immediately posted to the selected community web pages. Informational cards have been produced to help promote this feature and are available for employees to distribute in their own communities.  If you would like a stack, contact Anne Templeton at ext. 4172.  


"Thursday’s are bigger and better in the zones


"Beginning Thursday, August 20th, the zoned Community sections will be redesigned as broadsheets and will provide more robust coverage of each community served.  Advertisers will be able to target complete geographic areas with improved products.  The 11 zones include:  Carmel, East Indy, Fishers, Hamilton County, Hendricks County, Johnson County, Noblesville, North Indy, South Indy, West Indy and Zionsville.


"We’re also updating the look and content of Shop Local, our total-market-coverage product.  It will now feature community news content and fresh, new graphics.  It will continue to be delivered every Thursday via mail to non-subscribers, serving as the jacket for grocery and other inserts.


"The community web sites have been updated to showcase more local content and play up the information submitted through “News From You.”  This will substantially increase traffic to our community silos, which have grown 86 percent since the beginning of the year.


"Indiana State Fair Coupons to be Available


"For the first time ever, The Star is publishing a second coupon for FREE admission to the Indiana State Fair.  On Monday, August 17th, a second free State Fair ticket coupon will be published in The Indianapolis Star.  The August 17th coupon can be redeemed for one free admission on either Wednesday, August 19th or Thursday, August 20th.  Regular admission to the Fair is $8.  This year's State Fair runs through Sunday, Aug. 23rd.

"Additional copies of The Star will be available for purchase on August 17th at the Public Service Counter, as well as all regular single-copy outlets.  Star employees can take advantage of the coupon through their home-delivered copy of The Star and by purchasing single copies; however, the regular free employee copies of the paper will not be available August 17th.

"For details on the 2009 Indiana State Fair, visit


"Interactive Ad Campaign a Success


"During July, the Graphics team developed an interactive ad campaign for Indy Parks called "Pirate Sand Adventure."  Delivered on the IndyStar home page and Mom's, online users were able to dig into the page and carve out a sand castle with a shovel.  Kids were able to print out pirate ship pages for coloring.  The campaign really showcased the abilities of the staff to create and execute a highly interactive campaign.  It was a success as the click through rate was more than .25% 


"Guide to Private Schools in the works


"Even as the school year begins, parents continue to examine their children's educational options. To help them resolve increasingly complex decisions, The Star's Custom Publications department is publishing its annual Guide to Private Schools. This section which publishes on Wednesday, September 23rd will include information and resources parents need. This section was kicked off to the sales staff on Monday, August 10th and was positioned as a great opportunity for private schools to recognize their difference and share their message.  It is an equally great opportunity for retailers who find value in this affluent audience, to market their products and services on either the student or parent level (Retailer Ideas:  Driving Schools, Clothing, Book Stores, Investment Advisors, 529 Programs, Realtors, Tutors, Testing and Learning Centers, Cell Phone Providers).  Stay tuned for updates as our deadlines approach.


"New Long-Term Commitment Secured


"Sales Executive Sandy Hoover and Account Relationship Specialist Sarah Bowman recently secured a long term commitment from Feldco Windows.  This account is a brand new business to Indianapolis. Feldco did a soft opening in late June with the intent of making a large impact during the month of July.  After their initial campaign and the success they had, we were able to secure a 2009 – 10 campaign contract with the retailer.  This ad team did a remarkable job securing this new advertiser and selling the value and power of print, combined with online. 


"Free Car Wash Equals Digital Success


" delivered results for Mike’s Express Car Wash.  Sales team consisting of Dee McNealy, Cody Sizemore and Joe Reece worked with Mike’s to put together an online campaign that would help Mike’s build their e-mail database. The campaign goal was to gain at least 1,000 new e-mail subscribers. The Star team put together a one-day rich media roadblock on’s home page. The Star Team recommended a strong offer and convinced the client to offer a free basic carwash. Mike’s Car Wash was amazed by the results which surpassed all expectations and generated more than 3,100 click-throughs and e-mails.


"New Customers advertising with us


  • Stone Spectrum, Cicero
  • Colleen Caveny's Salon, Franklin
  • Bird Fever, Castleton
  • Mr. Window Inc., Carmel





"Top 10 stories on


  • Colts defense:  Same scheme but with wrinkles – 19,986
  • Colts struggle from start in ugly loss to Vikings – 18,585
  • Kravitz:  Some things never change – 17,840
  • Rep. Baron Hill is caught in crossfire on health care – 16,109
  • 7-cent mistake costs family their home – 15,560
  • Is Ugoh a bust at left tackle?  That’s up to him – 14,263
  • Blowback:  Indiana’s emerging wind farms whip up controversy – 14,071
  • Accused teachers’ exits cloaked in secrecy – 13,782
  • IRL continues to trim oval races – 13,527
  • Extortion suspect:  Pitino paid aide to marry her – 13,515


"Last week’s traffic:


"Visits: 1,145,385    

Page Views 7,899,107

Average Time Spent on Site:  21.66       

Weekly Unique Visitors:   641,321    



"Last Tuesday, August 11th, we learned that eight entries from The Indianapolis Star were named quarterly winners in the Society of Newspaper Design's judging competition.  The entries now will advance to the annual judging later this month. A total of 76 winners were announced; the Star won nearly 10% of the total.

Congratulations to the following Information Center employees:

·        Ted Green, Joey Marburger, Dawn Mitchell, Matt Dial, Phil Mahoney and others for their entry on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway history package

·        Michael Campbell for his "First 100 Days" interactive on Obama's early presidency

·        Joey Marburger for the 500 Fantasy Challenge site

·        Chris Johnson for the updated Indy 500 race tracker

·         Michael Campbell and Chris Johnson for our IRL/IMS crash database presentation

·        Chris Johnson and Ted Green for our Indiana University basketball history database

·        Michael Campbell and Intern Amy Beck for our John Dillinger Interactive

·        Chris Johnson, Michael Campbell, and Stephen Beard for the wonderful "Mapping our Economy" package.

"Note: Along with Chris Johnson's Lucas Oil Stadium interactive from last year (which will also be considered for the annual awards), this will be the highest number of finalists the Star has ever had.



"Site Search Overhaul for

"Working with Planet Discover and Gannett’s Digital Lab, our Digital department completed a revamp of our site search system, which launched on Wednesday, August 12th.  In addition to a cleaner and more navigable interface, the new search will include photos and galleries, obituaries, blogs and other assorted content items that were left out of the previous search solution.


"Pennsylvania Street Lobby Hours Changing


"Effective Monday, August 17th, the Pennsylvania Street Lobby hours will change to 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  The Employee Entrance is available 24/7 for all employees."


To quote an old Marine Corps expression, "That would gag a maggot on a gut wagon." This did the trick.


Tell The Truth [Member] said:

An interesting read. This guy is an adult cheerleader. Or an Applebee's manager addressing his waiters: "You don't have enough flair on!" (apologies to "Office Space")

But for a newspaper guy, he hasn't picked up an AP Stylebook in awhile. Nothing is ever made plural by adding an apostrophe ("Thursday's are bigger and better" (sic))

Maybe a laid-off copy editor can give him some pointers. At least he's in good company. My high school senior came home with a Welcome Back Letter from the Superintendent Friday. Four paragraphs, two bad spellings, two subject-verb agreement errors, two misplaced apostrophes. And one run-on sentence that choked me.

(Sigh) Strunk and White wept.

2009-08-18 06:01:09

ruthholl [Member] said:

No kidding. Isn't it pathetic? Who in the heck is this guy to be shoveling out this swill to hard-working journalists? To say nothing of the insult angle; he might as well be Bob Knight, telling reporters, "Anybody who goes to 3rd grade can write." (or take photos etc)
As Kim Hooper says, the Star is now the "House o Pain."
That could use a copy editor, too.
"House O' Pain"?

2009-08-18 06:30:27

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

"Content items" as a synonym for "news" says it all.

2009-08-18 06:45:17

Homer [Member] said:

Notice that the sources for just about all of the "News from You" entries are PR staff from local organizations promoting their events or programs. At least they get paid.

2009-08-18 12:32:05

Indy Girl [Member] said:

Dude's a total ass.

2009-08-18 20:41:37

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Hmm. Wonder is Mistic is auditioning for Mr. Milz's job.

2009-08-19 04:43:32

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

"Hmm. Wonder is Mistic is auditioning for Mr. Milz's job."

Come to think of it, the Indianapolis "Spam" is taking on an automated, no-actual-journalists involved appearance.

2009-08-19 07:16:35

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Mistic has his spelling and subject-verb agreement down-pat. He's a natural.

2009-08-19 10:31:53

VladtheImpaler [unverified] said:

This effluent isn't half as serious as the outright plagarism the Star committed this week in story about David Marsh's financial demise. If you look at the story the Star did two days after the local business weekly you'll find whole sentences lifted verbatim from the biz weekly. Pretty scary. I suppose that's another way Gannett saves money. Perhaps Keough can begin to document plagarism cost savings.

2009-08-19 16:55:02

Star Geezer [unverified] said:

I hadn't known there was so much imprisoned hosta in Indy. Oh, wait: Mistic doesn't want to liberate hosta, but free hostia!

2009-08-19 22:20:53

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Tamiflusucks***Mr Milz does too $34320985loveruthie'sblog7)(*&)*(&we all need someone to love 6$%%^%&$ RIPDon Hewitt3&_&*( ain't God good to Indiana except for the Star management 4$#_%)&&&* green people hijacked me last night for two hours 9@%*^$*^&% we don't have any Don Hewitts in Indy media (sigh) 9!#_@_*!(*) IBJ scoops Star routinely 3_^&*^&*(^& why doesn't everyone love Maxine Waters? 3#$##*&#$

This stuff fasciantes me. Where does it come from?

A final thought: if TheStar is routinely accepting posts from ordinary citizens, and crediting those citizens--why can't its writers swallow their pride when they're ordered to do an IBJ rewrite, and credit the original source? Or are they under strict orders to do the rewrite promptly, and shut up?

If they ordered me to do a rewrite, without crediting the original source, I'd demand that the "Star Staff Report" byline be used--not mine.

Credibility is the victim.

2009-08-20 05:18:52

ruthholl [Member] said:

Spam beats out EVERYTHING when TTT writes it.
Funny, I was just thinking about bylines...the days when a reporter would never dare to put on his/her byline, it was always done by an editor. It was a matter of merit and pride. Likewise, if a reporter felt snookered by an assignment, he/she could ask to please have the byline left off -- that was always a request accommodated, in my memory.
Interesting questions about IBJ and crediting the original source. I know the biz desk some years back got scopped by IBJ on the Wendy (?) Fortune story, and that a few other choice tidbits. This, plus the fact that several very talented former Star reporters now work for IBJ, must keep the rivalry fairly hot. I just can't see the Star crediting IBJ. Sister station Channel 13, yes -- an opening for TTT here.
I think spam comes from bots by the way. I forget what bots are, but they're to be avoided like the plague...

2009-08-20 13:46:50

Old Grouch [Member] said:

"Nothing is ever made plural by adding an apostrophe"

2009-08-20 14:34:13

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2009-08-28 20:42:38

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2009-08-28 20:42:39

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