Keep your eye peeled on his site today:
If I hear anything about the situation at the Star in Indianapolis, where 23 will lose their jobs -- nobody is sure how many will be from the newsroom and/or other departments -- I will post as well.
In the meantime, Hopkins helped Blog Indiana 08 Saturday by answering (in email) questions about what it is he/we are trying to do in blogging about Gannett. I used to get -- a lot -- that I am "bitter" and I need to "let it go." Somehow those therapeutic band-ages, while they sound "good," and "helpful," are totally meaningless. Who is watching Gannett? We are. Why? We care.
I asked Hopkins to answer some questions about his role. Here's the drill, which I shared with those who attended my Blog Indiana session on "ticking the dragon."
1. You mention you know Gannett corporate knows about your blog and watches it. Can you give me any evidence of this? Have you ever received direct feedback from anyone in corporate?
"All of my official, on-the-record correspondence with Gannett corporate has been through the company's chief spokeswoman, Tara Connell. You can see our last exchange (at gannettblog.)
"The most direct feedback I've received from Connell was in the form of her objections to the to the first of a series of posts about the Gannett Foundation."
2. Why did you decide to write a blog exclusively about Gannett (well, with asides for wonderful tidbits about Spain and Sparky).
"I have been a business reporter for most of the 22 years I've been a
journalist -- 20 of them with Gannett. In October 2006, I noticed two things. One, very few news outlets covered Gannett, even though it is the
biggest newspaper publisher, and one of the nation's largest private
employers (approximately 46,000 workers.) Second, there wasn't a single blog about Gannett, even though it was about to undergo big changes as it dealt with more competition from the Internet and other venues.
"I outlined my principal motivation for starting Gannett Blog on Jan. 11,
2008 -- my first day as a former employee, and the date I added my name and photo to the blog for the first time. (Until then, I'd been anonymous.) In that lengthy post....I wrote about my experience as business news editor at the now-shuttered Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock, Ark. Gannett owned the newspaper from 1986-91. From that post:
"'Rumors flew that Gannett was planning to sell us to the competition, or dump us into a joint-operating agreement. More than 700 employee families were desperate for information.
"'As the paper's business news editor, I managed some of the newsroom staffers reporting on the *Gazette*'s demise. We called Gannett's Corporate office, pleading for information, over and over. And again and again, we got this: No comment.'
"Today, much of Gannett is experiencing the uncertainty we saw in Arkansas in the summer of 1991. But now, technology empowers the company's nearly 50,000 employees to communicate in ways not possible 16 years ago. Start more blogs: I'd like to build a companywide network!"
"Bottom line: I started Gannett Blog so employees would have a safe place to share information about the company, without fear of reprisal from management, as they prepared themselves for a vastly changed industry."
3. Do you see your blog as having a shelf life with an expiration date, or
do you see it going on as long as there are news corporations? To put it
another way, if Gannett breaks up, will you still write about the biz?
"I've written that I only plan to keep Gannett Blog about two or three
years, as long as the company remains substantially in its current form. That said, year No. three would start this coming October. If Gannett is
dramatically re-shaped, I will stop blogging about the company."
4. How do you address the issue of disloyalty -- or do you? You took their check, and I am sure were a great employee. Now you're a fill-in-the-blank backstabber (I get "bitter" a lot). Or does any of this apply? Are YOU bitter? Or is this just fun?
"I've never addressed the notion of disloyalty because it's never been an
issue for me. I neither hate nor love Gannett. I do, however, care deeply
for its front-line, hourly employees, many of whom are also small
5. What is your readership/impact?
"In July, the most recent period for which I've reported traffic
statistics, I had about 17,500 unique visitors; approximately 75,000 visits, and about 144,000 pageviews. That is according to Google Analytics, an online software program that measures such figures."
Here is the link:
Thanks to daltonsbrief for the catch.
A tip last week indicates Jason Heath, news director at WRTV Channel 6 (ABC) since 2005, may be under investigation by police for "something to do with child pornography."
Heath reportedly has been on a leave of absence for a while. A check of the website:
shows that the news director position he occupied is listed as vacant. "Jason Heath to talent consulting" is the mysterious comment on the page.
The word is that police visited both the TV station at 1319 N. Meridian and Heath's home and have his home computer.
Channel 6 is owned by McGraw Hill. A phone call this morning to Paul Montgomery, audience relationship manager at Channel 6, has not yet been returned.
Heath came to Indy from Hartford, Conn. Indiana Radio Watch in 2005 reported then that he was the fifth news director at the RTV6 in eight years.
The name of the newbie is http://www.stopgoverninglikethis.com/
Here are some insights from each blogger:
"(The new blog is) co-authored with Josh Gillespie, and it's aimed at pushing the Kernan-Shepard reforms by highlighting waste and inefficiency in local government. We're part of a group that includes the Indiana Chamber, the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and the Indiana Realtors Association," says Jen.
From Josh's Hoosier Access blog today: "Can two people like Jennifer and I actually get along and agree on issues? You'd be surprised. One of the things we have in common is that we want to see local government run more smoothly. We're sick and tired of all the duplicative layers that cost taxpayers money. And Jennifer and I are part of a coalition of people (Republican and Democrat) who are seeking to push more local more government reform."
The guiding principle here is that Indiana has 1,008 townships serving 6.3 million Hoosiers. Do the math; for every 6,250 Hoosiers, there are a handful of locally elected township officials. Do you know who serves you? Do you know where your tax dollars are going in your township? No doubt, you do know there is waste, fraud and abuse.
The system is inefficient and antiquated. It went out with Gone with the Wind, but it's still firmly entrenched here. Let's have some reform -- bi-partisan, as suggested by the commission chaired by former Gov. Joe Kernan and Chief Justice Randy Shepard, another bi-partisan effort.
We're only 158 years or so behind the times....
Note: here is the link:
"Aug. 15, 2008
"After the distressing news about job cuts on the way at the Star, the
Indy News Guild officers met separately today with VP of Human Resources James Keough and Editor Dennis Ryerson. Here's what we learned.
"*There will be 23 layoffs company wide, not just in the newsroom.
"*We learned that the layoffs will be by 'seniority and department,' but what that means was not clarified. We don't know how many, or if any, will be in the newsroom.
"*The company rejected the Guild's offer to turn whatever layoffs would
occur into voluntary buyouts, similar to last summer. The Guild today
actually offered to management a proposal that we would forego a contract provision (crudely speaking, the age-old "last hired first fired" clause) this time around and promised flexibility in terms of what compensation those seeking a buyout must receive. We were hoping today to save young employees' jobs, and let mid-career people leave if that's what they really wanted, without raising the cost to management.
"*We have asked our legal counsel through the Communications Workers of
America-The Newspaper Guild to help us interpret what our rights are
contractually. We can tell you they are already on the case!
"*We are going to do all we can, in general, to be of assistance to our
membership, offering guidance as this distasteful and frustratingly
unclear process moves forward. We also will seek out help from you,
the Guild as a whole, for your ideas.
For The Guild ... in solidarity,
Abe, Dujuan, Vic, Sylvia and Tom"
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