Tag: Media and Marketing

CJ owner Gannett chopping 2% of its workforce

It’s unclear whether those job cuts will come across all Gannett’s newspapers, including The Courier-Journal, or whether some will take bigger hits than others. The employment reduction, announced this morning in all all-points memo from the corporate office, comes amid forecasts that the company’s ad revenue plunged more than 12% in the third quarter, just ended; the actual results will be released Thursday.

Gannett doesn’t break out employment by subsidiary, so it’s unclear how many people work at the CJ. Company-wide, Gannett employs about 18,700; a 2% cut would be equal to about 375 jobs.

Here’s the memo from Gannett CEO Bob Dickey:

Dear colleagues,

I’m writing to share with you some critical moves we are making this week and offer some context about how they are important for our company. We have made strides in building a strong and unified culture. Honesty and transparency are cornerstones of that culture, and I am committed to both.

Over the past 16 months, we have worked hard to execute our strategy with purposeful moves:

  • expanding our footprint with the acquisitions of Journal Media Group and North Jersey Media Group.
  • creating high quality journalism, while building one nationwide news organization with the launch of the USA TODAY NETWORK.
  • leading with digital with the acquisition of ReachLocal, a best-in-class digital marketing services company, to name just a few major achievements.

These moves are central to our transformation into a leading, next-generation media company. The positive impact of these efforts will take time, which in the near-term requires us to assertively manage our costs. What’s required is not easy and I do not take it lightly.

We made the decision to reduce about 2% of our workforce across the organization, including at headquarters. We will communicate with the majority of those affected by the end of the day on Oct. 25, with actions completed by the end of the week.

We will all feel the loss of great colleagues. Each and every one of you has my deep gratitude for your many contributions to the success of our company. Actions like these are difficult, but I remain steadfastly committed to reinvesting in our employees and the capabilities required to sustain and grow our company so that we may continue to serve our customers with excellence.

Over the next 18 months, we will continue to build our scale and invest in important digital capabilities and experiences – such as critical e-commerce infrastructure and significant upgrades to our digital content platforms. I appreciate your continued commitment to the company and the future we are building together.

Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts, questions and ideas with me. I have created an email box specifically for your feedback at AskBob@Gannett.com.

Bob Dickey
President and CEO

Storm clouds gather over CJ owner Gannett Co.

Newspapers are suffering an accelerating drop in print advertising, a market that already was under stress, forcing some publishers to consider significant cost cuts and dramatic changes to their print and digital products, according to a new Wall Street Journal story with implications for The Courier-Journal and the broader Louisville media scene.

cj-october-21
Today’s Page One.

Jefferies stock analyst John Janedis has forecast an even more difficult calendar third quarter. Last month he lowered his estimates for Gannett Co., forecasting a 12.5% drop in combined print and digital ad revenues.

We’ll see how accurate he is when Gannett reports third-quarter results next Thursday morning.

Wall Street is worried. Gannett’s stock traded at a new 52-week low this morning, $10.16, before easing back into the black.

The figures will come after a recent management shake-up at the CJ, where top editor Neil Budde quit unexpectedly last week. Published reports said management believed too much emphasis had been placed on digital vs. the print version. That’s hard to fathom, however, when newspapers face more and more competition from online upstarts such as Insider Louisville.

CJ top editor Budde is out, effective immediately; paper to ‘sharpen our focus on investigative journalism’

Neil Budde‘s abrupt resignation was announced this morning in an email to staff from Publisher Wesley Jackson, who didn’t provide an explanation for his departure. Budde, who is about 60, had been in the job since September 2013.

neil-budde
Budde

Budde leaves as the paper faces heightened competition from legacy rivals such as WDRB and from new ones: WFPL’s Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, and digital standalone Insider Louisville.

In his email, Jackson said: “We will sharpen our focus on investigative journalism and the urgency of all our coverage while doubling down on our goals of building new audiences and engaging them digitally.”

Jackson didn’t say whether any other staffing changes were in the works.

CJ owner Gannett Co. is ramping up efforts to coordinate news coverage among the approximately 100 dailies in the chain by having reporters from different sites work together on projects with a more national scope. The Louisville paper’s shakeup also comes as Gannett draws closer to buying Tronc, which owns the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and seven other big dailies plus 160 smaller weekly and monthly niche titles.

Jeff Taylor, the top editor at the CJ’s sister paper, the Indianapolis Star, will serve as interim editor while a permanent editor is found, according to Jackson.

Schnatter dumps another 86K Papa John’s shares; and U.S. economy added 156K jobs in September, weaker than forecast

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 9:24 a.m.

PAPA JOHN‘s CEO John Schnatter continued unloading shares in the pizza giant, selling another 86,000 on Wednesday and Tuesday for $6.6 million, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. That trade followed Monday’s, where the executive sold 73,637, and are in accordance with a trading plan he adopted early last month.

schnatter-stock-sales

The chain’s shares closed yesterday at $75.41.

In other news, the economy added 156,000 jobs last month vs. a forecast 170,000, the Labor Department said. The jobless rate, meanwhile, rose to 5% from 4.9% in August, according to the agency (multiple news accounts).

Courier-Journal owner Gannett Co.’s bid to acquire Tronc, owner of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and other papers, could wrap up in the next two weeks if all the due diligence now underway checks out, sources tell the New York Post. “There is no disagreement on price, but there is still some [work] to be done,” one source close to the situation told the New York tabloid (Post).

The Post report follows an earlier one at Politico, which speculated the deal could be announced as early as this week.

CJ owner’s purchase of L.A. Times, other titles could be sealed today

cj-october-3-2016
Today’s front page.

The announcement of a deal could come as soon as business opens on the fourth quarter of the year, as early as this morning, according to Politico. Given the many twists and turns in this process so far, further delays are certainly possible in any agreement between The Courier-Journal’s parent, Gannett Co., and Tronc, which owns the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, nine other dailies and 160 weekly and niche publications.

In early trading, Tronc shares rose 5% to $17.72 — near the reported $18-a-share price Gannett is offering. Shares of Gannett fell less than 1% to $11.59.

What happens to the CJ in the increasingly likely event Gannett lands Tronc? Here are some possibilities.

At Pizza Hut, stuffed crust began 21 years ago with a self-deprecating Trump; plus Amazon shares soar to new record high

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 12:57 p.m.

PIZZA HUT‘s introduction of its newest stuffed crust pizza — a grilled cheese version — recalls the fact that the original was launched 21 years ago by a kinder and gentler version of Donald Trump, according to AdWeek.

The new pizza debuted March 26, 1995. Six days later, Pizza Hut kicked off a $45 million national ad campaign, buying TV time during the NCAA’s Final Four weekend. The 30-second spot created by BBDO New York showed a tuxedo-clad Trump in a gilded suite along with Ivana Trump, whom he’d divorced five years earlier. (Watch the ad below.) In the commercial, the two poke fun of their headline-grabbing split.

“He was an egomaniac billionaire and almost charming,” said Hayes Roth, principal of brand and marketing firm HA Roth Consulting. “His egomania was so huge that he makes fun of himself. He’s lost that sense of humor. But he put on a great show, and back then we bought it” (AdWeek).

AMAZON‘s stock traded at a new record high today, $805.77, up $16.09, or 2%. The retail giant employs 6,000 workers at distribution centers in Jeffersonville and Shephardsville. More Amazon news.