Friday, May 4, 2012
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
A few notes on MLive Media Group that have come my way in recent weeks.
Talk about good luck, the Victorian home near the Michigan Capitol housing the ‘new’ Lansing offices of MLive Media Group was supposed to be sold when the old Lansing bureau was eviscerated a couple years ago. The housing slump resulted in the house not being sold and for some time only one person was working out of that office.The company, of course, continued to pay the heat, electric bills for the large house that was really home to just one person. Now with the new bureau occupants the office space may now justify its expense. Sometimes it pays not to sell.
Also in MMG news:A former GR Press blogger whose 21st century job at the new MMG was to scan for topics pricking the computer keys of readers and then turning those into “hits” on the website has apparently decided the grass is greener at the Detroit Free Press. The blogger was a longtime Grand Rapids Press employee and was part of the new team that was to help transition the news group from dead tree to Internet.
Don’t know if that is a good or bad sign for the new venture that folks are already leaving.Reportedly, six advertising folks in Grand Rapids have been parted from the company since the restructuring in February. That’s two a month, if my math is good. I’m told that three or four of those were new hires and others were legacy employees, which is what they call folks who made the transition from the newspaper to the new group. Some were long time employees.
It seems to be another dubious sign of a difficult transition for the new company. Wonder what the costs are to hire and fire that many employees in so short a time?Then there was the comment when the old managers in discussing the new company said: “You’ll be happy to know we’re streamlining management” as they canned a number of middle managers in the restructuring. Well, I’m told they have added a couple more management levels. Maybe it took more time for self-promotion and the promotion of the new company then they first realized.
There’s also some word that a couple folks, one or perhaps two from the centralized copy desk, are currently on medical leave due to stress. More veteran copy folks, people who were asked to stay on during the transition, have been let go which has put more pressure on those who remain.Some folks are being pushed to do 20 or more pages for the dead tree editions in one night. The attitude is one of “just get it done” without too much concern about what is going into the print product.
From more than one source I’ve been told that the new attitude is that the newspaper product is no longer the central focus. In fact, managers have been told not to “think newspaper” anymore. What is being manufactured into the print product is just whatever the centralized copy desk finds that has already been published on the website.From my personal observation the delivered papers are very thin and if I go back I can find that all the stories were published online the week before they appeared in my home delivered version.
When the readers eventually discover how little attention is being paid to the product that they actually have to pay for, and the one that is bringing in the lion’s share of the revenue it may leave a bad taste.The numbers for home delivery, at least on a couple routes that have been reported to me continue to fall in numbers.
To be fair, on the rare occasion that I visit MLive.com I do find things that are worthwhile to read and I do check in for sports, but at home I can read the delivered paper in about 10 minutes. If I wasn’t a former employee and feel a sense of loyalty to the folks still working there I would be inclined to cancel.Actually, we’ve tried to do several vacation stops in the past few months while we traveled only to come home to piles of newspapers in and around our Journal box. Whatever system they are using for calling in vacation stops, it’s not working. My wife says on one occasion she talked to a human and the other times it told her to leave a message and that they would call back, which they never did.