Friday, October 23, 2009

Update on Thursday's meeting in Tacoma...

OK, a brief update on the meeting at the Tacoma News Tribune from a source who was there.

According to the source, employees at the Thursday meeting got a talk from publisher David Zeeck that was part pep talk, part grand vision -- plus a scolding thrown in for good measure.

As far as the pep talk, Zeeck gave employees a mini grand vision for the future. He mentioned some coming changes, like McClatchy investing in new presses to accommodate a smaller-sized paper.

He spoke about "rebuilding the paper from the ground up."

That part of the talk apparently didn't go over well with veteran employees who have heard it before. The source said, "Last time we did that, pretty much nothing changed except promoting a guy to an AME position, which he used weeks later to score a job with the government."

About the scolding... Zeeck lectured employees for sending tips to this blog. According to the tipster, he said something along the lines of, "I'd like to share more information with you about the paper, but I can't if you keep leaking information."

In comments, another employee at the meeting captured Zeeck's concern: Investors will read it, he said, and it’ll hurt the company.

Which I find so far off base it's maddening -- investors look at ad revenue, circulation revenue, debt, the outlook for advertisers spending more money -- they don't care what's on this blog.

But even more important than impressing investors, I think the publisher's first obligation is to readers.

Shouldn't Zeeck spend more time putting out an excellent product than worrying about employees sending tips to this blog?


Anonymous said...

On a smaller scale, it sounds like old Zeeck is also paranoid about bad (but truthful) press, just like some other dude is about Fox News?

Anonymous said...

He spoke about "rebuilding the paper from the ground up" and investing in new presses to accommodate a smaller-sized paper.

Hey, if the paper shrinks any more, they’ll only need laser printers to print those postage stamp size DNC talking points.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a pipe dream.

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like the Obama White House drones afraid of what might be reported on Fox News. Congratulations McClatchy Watch - you're doing your job.

Anonymous said...

When they're talking about you, it's win-win baby!

Anonymous said...

"Investing in new presses to accommodate a smaller-sized paper".

I love how making the advertiser pay the same, or even more, for less actual ad space is an "investment" for a newspaper.

It's like an advertiser has a choice for paying more to get less -- right??

Anonymous said...

Isn't that soooo special. These folks live on unnamed sources leaking information but get upset when it happens to them.

I guess it is OK when the only consequence is getting American Soldiers killed by leaking and fabricating stories, but not OK when it might hurt a dying business. Amazing.

Oh.. and Dave Zeeck once told me that he views AP as an unbiased source. Goes to show you where his head is.

Anonymous said...

Anybody ever work with a newspaper publisher who wasn't a flaming moron? Leadership is not something running rampant in the newspaper biz. You earn respect, you don't order it.

Anonymous said...

I see two problems with publishers and managing editors realizing how incompetent they really are:
1. Nobody has the balls to challenge their idiotic decisions.
2. They don't have the humility to ever realize they are complete fools. It's all good, all righteous in their little pea brains.

Anonymous said...

I'd say it's probably GOOD for the business to get criticized on this site.

All the things that employees bitch about are things investors and analysts love to see because they generally relate to keeping expenses down, which boosts the bottom line.

And there sure is plenty of bitching on this site!

Anonymous said...

I truly wished all publishers were required to read this site. I am continually on the outs with mine because I don't drink the koolaide and march in step. I would rather be fired for my beliefs than to go down with the rats.

Anonymous said...

Betcha all of them do read this site. It should be required reading for any manager who has an ounce of brains. The honesty expressed here is a valid barometer of what staffs are thinking. I'd want to know if I was one of those useless bastards.

Anonymous said...

Why do people continue to work for fools? Either they're weak morons unable to find work elsewhere or... I can't think of anything else. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

What is really maddening are the morons, malcontents and idiots on this site who think a company is in business for the employees rather than the customers, owners and stock holders.

Anonymous said...

"Why do people continue to work for fools? Either they're weak morons unable to find work elsewhere or... I can't think of anything else. Sorry."

Good question 4:19.
I'd ask 9:47 that question.

I think you answered it: Weak morons.

Unknown said...

A few weeks ago Zeeck ran a column about his neighbor mentioning that the paper looked thicker, felt bigger. The truth came out when the 3rd Q earnings were released and it showed that ad revenue was down 28%. So I guess the paper isn't really getting any bigger and thicker, is it?

The amazing thing about the TNT is this paper still doesn't allow advertisers to run on page 3A or the back page of A. Most of the 1A stories jump to the back page, so in this time crunched world, many readers never even open the paper to see the other stories as well as the ads. Maybe allowing Macy's to run an 3a, and another advertiser to run on the back page could yield another $300,000 annually in ad revenue. Is this waht Zeeck means when he says he will rebuild the paper from the ground up?
As for the person that leaked the original meeting, it was me.

Jay Fredrickson

Anonymous said...

"Anybody ever work with a newspaper publisher who wasn't a flaming moron?"

John Winn Miller from The Olympian did a fairly good job. Unfortunately he gave up and quit after McClatchy forked over all control of his paper to the TNT. Can't say I blame him. Then they installed the current puppet who is also supposedly in charge of The Herald and The Peninsula gateway.

As far as presses go, I doubt there will be any new ones going in, unless they find a way to steal the USA Today contract from Olympia(who is currently the #1 USA Today site in quality). More than likely they'll just have the rollers cut down to run 23" or 22" newsprint.