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A reader sends this memo from Gannett “chief people officer” David Harmon:

From: A message from Dave Harmon
Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2016 3:24 PM
To: A message from Dave Harmon
Subject: Engagement Survey Follow Up

Good afternoon,

A couple of weeks ago, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) presented the Gannett Executive Team with the results from our Employee Engagement Survey.gannett Per Bob Dickey’s (May 16, 2016) email, I am following up with some specifics from the survey…

Confidentiality First:
As we communicated at the beginning of the survey, PwC only shares information about groups – and if a group is less than 6 people, they cannot share the data. And the feedback we received about comments are grouped by topic and cannot be tied back to individuals. That said, thank you for taking the time to provide additional comments – we received over 350 pages of comments from you./CONTINUES Read More

On Tuesday, employees at TEGNA – the former Gannett broadcast division – learned that they’re getting a $400 bonus “for all that you’ve done throughout our fantastic first year” as a spun-off company. Earlier today, the journalists at Gannett’s newspapers learned that they’re not getting cash for the holiday, but they are getting an extra day off. Here’s Gannett CEO Bob Dickey’s memo:

Unwrap a day off!

You are the best gift we’ve had all year.

Happy Holidays! I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all of your efforts this year in our journey toward building our next generation media company. 2015 was a momentous year for the new Gannett and as it comes to a close, I want to personally say I appreciate all of your hard work. We’ve made significant progress in just a few months and there’s much to be proud of as we continue to leverage our combined strengths./CONTINUES Read More

Gannett announced Monday that former Wall Street Journal deputy managing editor and ex-Conde Nast Portfolio editor Joanne Lipman has been named the newspaper chain’s chief content officer. Gannett also appointed Daniel Bernard as chief product officer. Here’s the CEO’s memo to staff:

From: A message from Bob Dickey
Date: December 7, 2015 at 7:58:29 AM EST
To: A message from Bob Dickey
Subject: Gannett Announces Two Key Appointments

Team – as we continue to build upon the outstanding leadership acumen of the company, today we named two people with tremendous experience to key positions.

I’m very happy to tell you we have appointed Joanne Lipman our first-ever chief content officer. Most recently she was principal of Surrey Lane Media and was formerly editor-in-chief of Conde Nast Portfolio and Portfolio.com, and earlier deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal.

Our second key appointment is Daniel Bernard, who will be our chief product officer. He was previously head of product for Time, Fortune and Money Digital at Time, Inc.; formerly chief product officer for The Wall Street Journal Digital Network; and earlier general manager for The Wall Street Journal Online./CONTINUES Read More

A Romenesko reader writes: “I am not eligible for the early retirement buyout, but several of my colleagues are. They feel like they are now being pressured to take it, even though it’s supposed to be completely voluntary.

“They also see this line as a veiled threat: ‘If we don’t achieve our goals, we will need to re-evaluate where we stand and we can’t rule out implementing other actions in the future.’

From: Harmon, David
Sent: Friday, October 02, 2015 11:11 AM
Subject: Voluntary early retirement program follow up

Good afternoon –

About a month ago, you were presented with the opportunity to take advantage of a voluntary early retirement program.

I wanted to remind you that the deadline to accept this offering is by 11:30 PM (EST), Monday, October 12, 2015. We thank those of you who have considered this offering and turned in your acceptance early.

We hope that those of you who have not accepted are giving careful consideration to this offering.

In addition to being a benefit for those who want to retire, our early retirement program will help us reduce costs in the long term and provide savings. If we don’t achieve our goals, we will need to re-evaluate where we stand and we can’t rule out implementing other actions in the future.

As mentioned earlier – the program is completely voluntary. We will finalize acceptances after the 45-day consideration period has closed, which is Oct. 12, 2015.

Best regards,
Dave Harmon
Chief People Officer

Earlier on JimRomenesko.com:
* Gannett offers earlier retirement packages to staffers 55 and over
* David Harmon is named Gannett Chief People Officer

New:
* Read comments about the memo from my Facebook friends and followers

Gannett CEO Bob Dickey sent this letter to employees Thursday morning:

Good Morning,

I wanted to let you know that today we are offering eligible, long-term Gannett employees within certain business segments and departments of our company the opportunity to take advantage of an early retirement program.

The employees who are receiving the offer all satisfy the criteria of being 55 years of age or older with at least 15 years of service as of October 12, 2015. This program provides an incentive for employees who voluntarily want to take advantage of retiring at this point in their career. This offer is completely voluntary and it is solely up to those eligible employees as to whether they wish to accept it. As with any retirement decision, we are encouraging eligible employees to speak with family and trusted advisers before accepting to assess their financial and lifestyle needs. We will finalize acceptances after the 45-day consideration period has closed, which ends Oct. 12, 2015./CONTINUES Read More

A Monday morning memo to USA Today staffers:

Date: June 8, 2015 at 10:46:56 AM EDT
To: A message from Bob Dickey
Subject: Announcement

I want to share with you all that Larry Kramer will be joining the board of the new Gannett and will be stepping down as president and publisher — effective at the time of the corporate split.

As most of you know, Larry passionately took on the challenge of making USA TODAY a digital first news organization in May of 2012. During his three years at the helm, he has helped USA TODAY and its related brands reimagine the iconic “newspaper.” This 40-year veteran newsman and online pioneer came out of retirement to help us forge a path in a rapidly changing landscape — while keeping a keen focus on quality journalism. His personality, personal brand and joy for the industry have given us numerous contributions.

Over the last three years, our USA TODAY newsroom has proudly earned numerous journalism and product awards. During his tenure our mobile page views are up 50% and visitors are up 150%. Larry helped implement our USA TODAY Local print edition that has brought USA TODAY content to 35 Gannett local markets, as well as a growing number of non-Gannett markets, more than doubling our print circulation.

Before arriving at USA TODAY, Larry was president of CBS Digital Media. Prior to that, he founded and led MarketWatch for 12 years before selling it to Dow Jones in 2005. His journalistic roots come from his more than 20 years as a reporter and editor.

We will be conducting an extensive search for our Chief Content Officer role.

And, we will soon share details for a reception honoring Larry’s role with USA TODAY. Meanwhile, please join me in thanking him for his service and welcoming him to his new role on our board.

Bob

* Gannett board approves completion of spin-off transaction (gannett.com)




Tim Johnson, who was laid off by Gannett’s Burlington Free Press last October, has won a “Best of Gannett” award.
images-2
It was announced in late February that Johnson took third place in the Narrative Writing/Voice category and was praised by judges “for insightful reporting and storytelling” and being “committed to engaging the reader with crisp, deep reporting and delightful narrative and tone.”

John Walters reports:

Somehow the Free Press never bothered to report this great victory. And it’s usually so quick to brag about any honor it wins, no matter how trumped-up.

Here’s a final indignity: The awards come with cash prizes. Unfortunately for Tim, the money goes not to the writers, but to their employers. Or, in Tim’s case, ex-employer. [UPDATE: That’s not correct; see the comments section.]

Are there other laid-off journalists on this list? If you spot any, please let me know.

* Gannett honors laid-off Vermont journalist (thevpo.org)




From LOGAN CARLSON, former Gannett Wisconsin Media journalist:
I’m surprised you haven’t heard any fallout from the Newsroom of the Future restructuring currently underway with Gannett Wisconsin Media, given how it’s been going (terribly) at other Gannett sites across the country. [Actually, I have, and I’m trying to confirm that some top editors have resigned. Please email me if you have information.] What’s been true at other sites that have gone through the restructuring has been true for Wisconsin.
gannett
For the last month the 10 daily newspapers in Wisconsin that Gannett owns have been going through the restructuring process. When we first began hearing rumors of NOTF, we all knew it was essentially company spin for reducing the newsroom positions while making it sound like that wasn’t going to be the case. All told, I believe the company goal was to reduce payroll by 15 percent. As with any change anxiety and trepidation follows, and its fair to say reporters and editors in the company experienced that in abundance in the weeks and months prior to the announcement GWM would be going through the process.

When editors and general managers met with newsrooms to discuss the new organizational charts and how the whole process would work out, I have to admit my thoughts and feelings regarding the changes were positive. I still knew some people would draw the short straw, but overall I thought the direction the company was taking was going to better position it for the future. But it became clear as the process went along that no matter how much those editors – who spent countless hours planning – didn’t have a clue how things would eventually shake out, and any they were winging it by the seat of their pants./CONTINUES Read More

The person who sent this memo writes: “Thursday, 2/26 is the day new job applications are due at the Louisville Courier-Journal, or employees can not apply and be eligible for a buyout equivalent to one week’s pay for every year worked. To ease this fear-based culture, Gannett is pouring some chocolate on it.”

From: Morgan, Veda
Sent: Monday, February 23, 2015 5:39 PM
To: lcj-NEWS-everyone
Subject: Let’s eat chocolate

Everyone,
chocolate
I know this is a difficult time for many of us, but I’d still like to celebrate the great work that you do each week. So please gather with me at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, in the fun room/innovation area (former home of the data desk). Mary Pat was gracious enough to get us a chocolate fountain and treats for dipping. So come have some chocolate-covered goodies and let’s give away some money to one of our Good Work honorees. Thanks. I hope to see you there.

Veda

Veda W. Morgan
News Director
The Courier-Journal

Update – Courier-Journal photojournalist Scott Utterback writes in comments: “This is something we do every month. It’s not always chocolate but it’s something nice. Most of us enjoy it and I can guarantee the leaker has attended and enjoyed multiple ones. Glad they didn’t provide any context.”

* Courier-Journal’s new job descriptions are heavy on “young” and “younger” (jimromenesko.com)

New: Read the many comments about this on my Facebook wall




Poynter announced last month that it got a contract – its largest ever – to train thousands of Gannett journalists. Those employees will learn more about their Poynter training at a Tuesday Town Hall Webcast with CEO Gracia Martore. (This is the chain’s second newsroom-of-the-future training program.)
gan
I was slipped a copy of the Poynter/Gannett course list and course descriptions, along with the various training certificates offered to Gannett employees. They include:

* Audience Analyst Certificate
* Community Content Editor Certificate
* Consumer Experience Director Certificate
* Content Coach Certificate
* Content Strategist Certificate
* Engagement Editor Certificate

A Poynter course designed for Gannett content coaches teaches “how you can conduct tough conversations with confidence”; engagement editors learn “how to find potential sources, break news stories and promote your content on LinkedIn”; and executive editors get advice on “how to tell investigative stories with dwindling resources.”

You can check out the full course course list here.