'This really is the end'

Dateline: Fri 27 Jul 2012

says friend and blog reader Tom Henderson, re: the Star's decision to sell its Downtown digs.

Here is the story from Indianapolis Business Journal by Anthony Schoettle, to which Henderson linked -- it's got more perspective than my treatsie on cockroaches and mice.  (See previous post).

In addition, it corrects my error about the American Building, which was sold last year.

Finally, I think Guild President Bobby King sounds awfully bullish. And why is nobody talking about the fact that the Star will soon go totally digital?

Heeere's Schoettle:


"The Indianapolis Star plans to sell its downtown headquarters building at 307 N. Pennsylvania St., the newspaper reported Friday afternoon.

"President and Publisher Karen Crotchfelt made the announcement to the newpaper's staff Friday afternoon, saying the company would seek more modern office space downtown that was better suited to a "media company in the digital age," the story said.

"The newspaper has been located at the site since 1907, four years after it was founded.

"The building's assessed value is $21.3 million, according to tax records.

"Commercial real estate broker CBRE was hired to market the building.

"The Star's parent, Virginia-based Gannett Co., employs 1,073 people in the Indianapolis area, including about 650 downtown.

“Anybody who is reasonable who looks at the size of the building and the size of our staff can see it’s a mismatch,” said Indianapolis Newspaper Guild President Robert King, a reporter at The Star. “We have much more building than we have need for.”

"King pointed out that the paper’s printing operation was moved to a facility on the city’s northwest side about 10 years ago, most of the human resources staff has been moved off-site and the editorial staff has shrunk through multiple layoffs.

"While King said the paper might be hurt by losing its highly visible home, he thinks it's more important to have an appropriately sized building “in the heart of downtown” close to city and state government buildings and courts that reporters often cover.

T"he move doesn’t necessarily mean there will be more layoffs at the newpaper, King said.

“We’ve recently hired [editorial staffers] and we have job postings for two more reporter positions,” King said. “I don’t think this move is going to mean a smaller editorial staff by any means. Hopefully, this move frees up some money to invest in the news staff. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking.”

"Crotchfelt told staffers there was no timeline for a sale or move.

"Earlier this year, Gannett sold the adjacent American Building to developers planning market rate apartments."

My recollection is that the Star operation at one time employed 1,500 people. 

Surely, there will be more layoffs.



hendy [Member] said:

Here's my prediction: in a decade, there will be no presses. You'll get your news online. No boxes hoping for quarters. No paperboys. Nobody on the corner with a pile of papers selling to passing cars.

Gannett will be a part of another company, a forgotten component of it. That company will will be Lamar, or another large outdoor advertiser that will broadcast ads to the dash of your car as you drive by.

Sometimes you'll glance at them while listening to a middle-aged Justin Beiber, and Lady Gaga will be on her ninth something-lift. Obama will be a retired Chicago politician. Your car will drive itself mostly, so you can talk on the phone and txt or have a conversation with friends. They'll send you videos of their grandchildren doing silly stuff as you navigate traffic on I-4465 during rush hour without looking at the road. It could rain, storm, but your car will make it. Your destination is a Simon Mall, which like a cockroach, will survive anything.

2012-07-27 16:04:19

ruthholl [Member] said:

Very funny. And believable.

2012-07-27 17:28:15

Ms. Cynical [unverified] said:

Too long of a time frame, Hendy. The print version of the newspaper will be long gone before the decade is out. The advertising supplements, however, will continue to flood our mailboxes, joining all the other junk mail. (First class of course will be all digital, like the news.)

2012-07-27 19:24:57

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Sounds like a science fiction screenplay to me, Hendy, and at the same time, very possibly prophetic :) .

Maybe the "Soylent Green" for the younger generation?

I feel like an old, snaggle-toothed dinosaur these days.

2012-07-27 22:55:47

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

I was very surprised to see that 650 still work downtown. I'd have thought the number was even less.

And they should've appealed that $21 million valuation. Too damned high, although...

The Chase Tower just sold downtown for a record amount.

2012-07-28 07:28:55

hendy [Member] said:

We're all dinosaurs, WB. I have a cellphone with more computational power than a roomful of hefty computers of 1980, when I started using them heavily.

My car gets 35mpg, has a 6spd supercharged drive train, does 0-60 in 5 seconds, top ends at 150mph, yet needs 4 oil changes for its first 100,000 miles. If a tire blows, it can be driven at 50mph for several hours.

I can send messages as I fly across the Atlantic for a blanket $14.95.

And people still live in abject poverty. A wise person once said that you'd be a fool to think you could vote the wealth away from the rich. They were right. Greed permeates world, and young men still fight the wars of their ancestors.

Of Indy's downtown, I have to say that despite its mayoralties, it's better than the downtown of my youth (1960s). The homeless and underclasses still rattle and tear at my soul.

2012-07-28 08:16:41

Ms. Cynical [unverified] said:

I was surprised to read that it appears Gannett owns both buildings on the corner that were shmushed into one. I recall that there was all sorts of anguish because the Goodrich family owned the buildings (or, just one of them) and Central Newspapers only leased it.
Does anyone know the whole story?

2012-07-28 13:59:51

ruthholl [Member] said:

I do not.
I wonder what will happen to the library and all the archives.
Oh well. Gannett probably already trashed all that stuff.
I am going to call Monday to find out...treasure trove was in that morgue. What will happen to all those photos and print stories, with the digital age upon us? Gannett won't spend money to capture stuff, is my guess....

2012-07-28 18:00:45

escapedbeforebeinggannettized [unverified] said:

The number of employees working at the Star building are inflated, just like their circulation numbers. My guess is there are around 400 employees in the Star building. They don't want it to make it / sound like it's worse than what it is. No way there are 650 employees. By the way, did you see today's Star (Sat.) where sec. A was basically an automotive car advertising supplement with a few newshole stories scatter about?
I thought about emailing "Let It Out" to warn them that there were a few news stories interrupting their automotive section in section A today. Pitiful.

2012-07-28 18:27:55

hendy [Member] said:

There are a zillion priceless photos and notes. Let's get the Historical Society involved if they're not going to move the morgue or parts of it.

2012-07-28 22:16:37

Marycatherine Barton [unverified] said:

Gannett, Inc., is part of the scheme to dumb down America, and doing a great job of it.

2012-07-29 12:40:33

VladTheImpaler [unverified] said:

Gannett plans to relocate The Scar to the 13th floor of the JW Marriott.

There, its information-gatherers can more conveniently bed down with potential advertisers.

Instead of smoking a cigarette, afterwords, the information-gatherers will Tweet about the experience.

2012-07-30 16:12:47

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