Dear Gannett. Fuck yourself. Love Jeff

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Dear Gannett:

Fuck yourself.

Love, Jeff

PS: I’ll elaborate. You hired me 20 years ago. Remember? Nashville. The Tennessean. I was 22 and, for a quick spell, a dreadful food and fashion writer. I came to you an excited kid anxious to make something of myself. I worked hard, climbed up the ladder, pretended you and I were great friends.

But I knew. I just knew.

First sign? The nut graph. I’d never heard of it before arriving in your newsroom. Then you told me that every story—context, flow be damned—required an early paragraph telling readers (specifically) what the story was about. Readers, after all, are dumb, and articles needed to be easily digestible for little minds.

Second sign? Focus groups. Tons and tons and tons of focus groups. Telling us how we should write. Telling us what to cover. Telling us how readers could best be pleased.

Third sign? A requirement that every story include at least one minority quote—even if the story had nothing even remotely to do with race, class, diversity. Profile of a country singer? Need a minority quote. News from a Republican meeting? Minority quote. Silly, stupid, paint-by-numbers journalism.

Fourth sign? Relating to No. 3—no real interest in issues of diversity. Talking a good game, but doing shit about it.

Fifth sign? Jumps. You got rid of them. Stories needed to be (with rare exception) confined to one page. Don’t wanna make readers work.

Sixth sign? Advertisers had greater say. Remember when you made me apologize to a concert hall because, well, they were a key advertiser, and my piece didn’t praise their shit fall lineup? Remember the follow-up piece you ran on their insistence? The hand-job you gave them? Boy, that was great.

Seventh sign? Charts, graphs, charts, graphs. Why detail and texture, when you can run 300 words with a chart?

Eighth sign? Layoffs. Buyouts. More layoffs and buyouts. Never executives, mind you. Always writers. Editors. Designers. People who busted their asses for $30,000 annually. And why? Why? Because …

Ninth sign? Stock value. You still made profits. Hell, you still make profits. But it’s not enough. At the start of every year, you project what will be. If that projection falls short, heads roll. Then more heads roll. Then more …

In case anyone missed this, a few days ago The Tennessean chopped off even more heads. It’s all a part of some ridiculous “Newsroom of the Future” plan—which involves 15-percent layoffs and forcing all paper employees to reapply for their positions.

Gannett folks shrug, say it’s a byproduct of the modern newspaper as a ghost. Yet who created that ghost? Who stripped down the products, then stripped them again and again? Who ripped the hearts and souls out of newspapers? Who ended investigative reporting? Who did this to the newspaper business?

Answer: Gannett.

One of the laid-off Tennessean employees is Maurice Patton, my former colleague in the sports department. Mo has been at the paper for more than two decades. He devoted himself to covering local high school and college athletes; did so amazingly well. He was loyal, hard-working, detailed, smart.

Now, he’s unemployed.

Fuck yourself, Gannett.

Fuck yourself.


169 thoughts on “Dear Gannett. Fuck yourself. Love Jeff”

  1. Deacon Patrick Murphy-Racey

    There will be major and long term consequences for all these voices imbued with fairness, truth, and balance being silenced. My father, who has read five newspapers a day all his adult life, used to tell me that using swear-words was simply a lack of diction. Your blog post is the exception. I was a Scripps kid for just three years back in the early 90’s. I got over that experience quickly and have been freelance ever since. I can remember when I was in J-school they taught us the door between advertising and editorial was welded shut, even though we shared the same building. I saw them remove the door and widen it. Sadness…

  2. I could say the same for McClatchy. 25 years of my life went down the drain in one day after I returned home from the hospital after a knee operation. Couldn’t even wait to tell me in person. Called me on the phone to “lay me off.” I was a dedicated employee to the newspaper and to my co-workers. I was practically raised in that paper, my dad was a retired employee. I feel like my whole life was wasted.

  3. Well, I see, that the last post, was 6 months ago. However, gannett, is a
    POS, publisher. I am in Jackson, MS, and when gannett, purchased, the
    “Clarion-Leger”, from the Hederman family. The paper went to shit,
    kissing nigger ass, at every turn. Today, you can not pick-up, a
    “Clarion-Ledger”, ‘newspaper’, that is not full of nigger ass-kissing,
    bull-shit. Fuck, gannett, and its nigger loving ass hole publishers! Oh,
    and thank you, for the thread!

  4. Never met you, but love you! Good job. I freelanced for them in Appleton, WI, for many years. What does a union paper do? Farm out outdoors to FREE bloggers! They have tons of important-sounding editors, but few reporters. Could give you plenty of examples of good people they fired. You know you’re good. Their blatantly lib coverage of every topic makes me sick. Guess who buys papers? Conservatives! WEIRD. Good plan. Sell your customers what they don’t want.

  5. Am so happy.. thanks to manifestspellcast@gmail. com for saving my relationship. Dr. Todd is the best and kindest spell caster I’ve ever met! Thanks, thanks thanks!!!!!!!

  6. News press Lee county 1 page possably on the areas largest city. Big change when they moved writing it in s Carolina now it’s printed in collier. The day before delivery and last month raised delivery 11 bucks a month Monday and Tuesday it’s about 8 pages wed few ads I put the spots and whatever the last 2 page section in recycling before even comming in..but the cost creep
    Raised last year and 2 twice a year for some special? Never fiqured what that the bufflo nickle,2dollar bill sheet,almash electric heater? ads
    Dropped last month although sun I go down the street to drug store 212 instead of 19 plus tax for sun only del
    They might as well be a weekly or by weekly free paper

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