Friday, June 24, 2011

"Branding" and why it sucks

This column is probably the best response to the ludicrous recent trends in journalism. Mr. Weingarten, who I have quoted here before, has it exactly right.

During my last few years at the Flint Journal there was a big push at the Journal emphasizing our "brand." Which was, I think, In Touch, Involved and some other "In" that I can't remember right now. We reporters used to joke - privately - that we should have "Incompetent, Inert and In Trouble." There were a few others, but you get the idea.

We were all told to embrace this new promotion. Well, we see how that all worked out. Don't forget that many of those who thought this was the solution to our problems are still around, or running


Anonymous said...

"In Depth." The banners still fly in the hallways.

Jim of L-Town said...

Thanks. I knew someone would fill in the blank.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of FJ hallways,its longtime and beloved food writer, Ron Krueger, is retiring after 22 years on the job, the last few as a FJ "retiree." Not sure if being a retiree meant he worked fewer hours but I'm sure it meant he worked for less pay and bennnies. As it should in the case of someone who retires from the FJ only to continue to work there, I suppose. Wonder if they'll replace Ron and, if so, will it be with a blogger and/or current staffer who will pick up the extra duties with no increase in pay? Bon appetit!

Jim of L-Town said...

Ron is one of the good guys. He had a significant following and I always enjoyed reading his stuff.

Good for him.

Pendragon said...

Loved the part about publishing snapshots of readers' cats. Yup, we do.

Anonymous said...

Hello Jim, I have posted comment's on your blog before, mostly to vent for the FJ carriers.

I'm really scared now. It's all falling apart down here. We (the carriers) have a job to do that is going to end the FJ.

The home delivery carriers are also delivering to the stores now. It is using up our vehicle's at a great pace. Thats MY worst worry right now.

Management has decided to give us plactic bags for return papers. They give us one big bag and a few wastebasket bags,for a job that takes 5 bags and that are so thin, it ripes when you use them. I guess they are hoping that we get upset and decide to buy are own bags. Well, with what money. You have to earn money to spend money.

There is now only one update, to let us know, when the first trucks leave. They said "that by the time we update where you are inline the info is out dated." We are expected to sit down there in the middle of the night for hours to get our papers.

Most of the drivers that have been here for 10 years or more, quit. There is only a few of us that are holding out. Me, Im waiting to the bitter end. I loved my job, still do in a sad way. There are so many new faces here. Already to work but their cars are in bad shape so you know there not going to last long on their wages. And yes, as little as Im getting, they are getting even less.

This Saturday the one and only update they gave was when the first trucks went out and that the PDC was closing at 5:00 pm. I get down there at 3:30 and the doors was locked. Carriers still showing up for pickups couldn't get there papers. What a wasted trip. 4th of July weekend, gas as high as it is and thats what we get! I guess when they say one update that's it, even if there plans change.

So what I've seen, recently is no one cares. The carriers dont care, the people that work inside on the line dont care. You should hear how people talk to each other down here. The FJ has made our work environment hustle. Everyone is mad and dont care anymore.

The billing that is going to customers now is not giving them a 6 month payment option. I am worried.

Anonymous said...

Incompetent, Inert and In Trouble fits perfect.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the FJ brand, it just dawned on me that I haven't seen one of the paper's new, young columnists in the paper for some time now. Sorry, can't think of her name but she seemed to simply float from one Flint event or celebration or farmer's market booth, then write about the unique and special greatness of Flint and its people. Anyone know whom I'm talking about and, if in fact she is gone, what happened to her? Just curious. Actually I'm wondering if she was a victim to some further, double-secret budget cutting. If she was forced out, one wonders how great she thinks Flint is now?

Anonymous said...

Uh-oh. That last comment makes me nervous, about the billing cycle. I always pay for a one year, on my credit card. The max option this year was 12 weeks. That seemed odd.

I calculated a year's sub, included a tip for my carrier, and submitted it. (No online way to pay my bill, the bill goes to Louisville, KY, by the way.)

I got a bad feeling that there won't be any refunds if the whole things goes belly up. :(

Glad I took the buyout ...

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 7:55
the cute little blonde girl that was supposed to be the "new" female columnist got booted out of the column position after numerous complaints about her writing. She's still with The Journal as a writer. She covers bake-offs and parades and anything that can be described as "cute". I think the last thing she wrote as a columnist was how important it was to smile. (blech)

Jim of L-Town said...

No more on the columnist, OK?

Anonymous said...

You know what? Of all the people they have hired since going to the 3 day errr.. four day paper she is the only one I could name if asked.. Yeah she's cute and yeah her rah rah Sunday columns made me roll my eyes sometimes, but that's because of her age and not her fault yet, at least she was someone I could remember rather than all the nameless faceless people writing stories that are nothing but a paragraph with a link to another website's actual story..

I paid off my FJ store bill this week and have no plans to ever go there again. It's like going into badly maintained funeral home.

Jeff Talley

Anonymous said...

Funeral home, is that because they painted everything black? (With a splash of lime green and orange?) Pssst Jeff, that's supposed to be cool.

Anonymous said...

Another OUCH!!

Looked at my pay statement and all carriers have a weekly deduction of $5.00 for a few garbage bags they hand you for our stores. A few means 2 regular bags and 3 to 6wastebasket size once a week. The FJ is giving us back deductions like 5.50 for feul allowance or $5.99 for misc.

The big problem is, we can't opt out and buy our own bags. And it is being added to our 1099 misc. So we are paying taxes on money we dont even get.