Update on the Gannett Reorganization

Following on the previous Gannett reorganization story, Jeff Howe gives us an update on his blog.

“It seems that one of Gannett’s larger newspapers, the Indianapolis Daily Star, has hit a snag on its way to implementing the company’s “Information Center” newsroom, aka the Seven Desk Initiative (which I wrote about on Wired.com as well as in a series of blog posts). Part of the Star’s plans for reinventing its operations included asking its editorial staff to write advertorials. In a memo to management obtained by Editor & Publisher, the union representing the paper’s writers and editors strenuously objected to the violation of ethics guidelines that require the union to uphold a “high wall of separation between editorial and advertising.” Management then modified its request to include only copy editors and designer, but those “non-bylined” positions are also covered by the guild’s guidelines. ”

What it means: it’s important not to underestimate resistance to change within your organization especially when going through a major overhaul like the one Gannett is going through. It’s a fundamental change that needs to happen but I wonder why is the newspaper insisting that its editors write also advertorials? They must want more flexibility out of their staff but this seems more like a cost-cutting measure than a strategic overhaul.

4 thoughts on “Update on the Gannett Reorganization

  1. Stumbled back upon this post and had an additional thought …

    Part of the problem here is how they positioned the change — asking hardcore journalists to write advertorial is like asking a virtuoso percussionist to play disco.

    But journalist do understand that informing people, including consumers, is news. Writing consumer news may not be the most exciting thing, but it drives readership and I think that is what Gannett is really trying to get at. It’s not about promoting advertisers. It’s about informing consumers.

  2. Stumbled back upon this post and had an additional thought …

    Part of the problem here is how they positioned the change — asking hardcore journalists to write advertorial is like asking a virtuoso percussionist to play disco.

    But journalist do understand that informing people, including consumers, is news. Writing consumer news may not be the most exciting thing, but it drives readership and I think that is what Gannett is really trying to get at. It’s not about promoting advertisers. It’s about informing consumers.

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