Employee Review Meetings – Tuesday, May 4, 2010

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We will be live blogging our employee review meetings at 10 AM and 2 PM on Tuesday, May 4.  This will be the first time that we have live blogged an annual review meeting, following our annual board and shareholder meetings, which were held last week.   You can follow live, and contribute comments and questions, at the CoverItLive site noted below.

The slides we will be reviewing include:

Year in Review and Work Plan

Last year at this time we were undertaking a major reorganization of the company — both to survive the most precipitous decline in revenue we had ever experienced and to position us for the speed and flexibility we need to thrive in the fast-changing local media world we are going to be experiencing for some time to come.  I am very thankful that our team was able to cut expenses commensurate with the revenue decline so that Continue reading “Year in Review and Work Plan”


A segment of a social network
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After three days with industry leaders, and sharp outside perspectives, I am more encouraged about our direction, and our ability to make progress quickly.

I started writing this blog two years ago after my first presentation at an NAA MediaXChange.

At that time, I was very concerned about our industry’s approach to the fundamental changes in Continue reading “NAAMXC10”

Branding a System of Information

Our company is blessed with very strong brands, including The Gazette and KCRG.  As I mentioned here recently,

We have created deep emotional ties to our products, both within our company and within our communities.  We need to begin to create emotional ties to an integrated local information ecosystem, and the multiple ways we can access that system.  That requires a definition of a brand promise and a new way to talk about the system, without regard to our existing products, which all have strong brands.

At the most basic level, this information system will be designed to provide an individualized two-way flow of information.  While we want to still be the trusted source of accurate information, we need to have a brand to Continue reading “Branding a System of Information”

Exploration to Execution

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When I started this blog, in April, 2008, all I knew was that we needed to explore new ways to fulfill our mission of being the “information provider of choice”.  After 21 months of exploration and experimentation we have a plan that needs to be executed.

There are many nuances to this plan, but the core of it revolves around Continue reading “Exploration to Execution”

Level Set

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It has been over a month since the employee meetings, and we are learning much every day.  As Mike Coleman, our Director of Technology likes to say: BLUF – Bottom Line Up Front – I am more convinced every day that we are on the right path, but we certainly don’t have the operational details of the transition all worked out, and we need lots of help to build the new local information system of the future.

That future is built on a network of information that is mobile (fluid and flexible), social, and location based.  From that network we can create better packaged products (web, print and broadcast) and with mobile and desktop applications we can let users Continue reading “Level Set”

C3 Employee Live Blogs

We will be discussing the state of the company and the implications of the changing community information environment outlined in my recent post C3 with interested employees over the next two days. In the spirit of transparency and maximum participation, please join us for a live blog of at least two of the upcoming employee meetings.  For those employees not able to attend in person, all the slides, including financial data, are available on the private company intranet.  For those without access to the private intranet,  the slides, numbered as they will be during the presentation, can be found here: Continue reading “C3 Employee Live Blogs”


We have our quarterly board and employee meetings this week.  We are an ESOP company, owned by our original founding families (over 126 years in business), and the Employee Stock Ownership Trust.  So everyone is interested.

The last time I made a formal report, we were having difficulty forecasting our sales, and we did not know if we would be able to cut sufficient expenses to offset our accelerating revenue declines.  We were in danger of not meeting our bank covenants.

Today, I am very appreciative that we have stabilized, thanks to the wonderful support of our customers and the hard work and dedication of our over 500 employees.  We are profitable, have positive cash flow, have met the bank covenants and have been able to maintain our cash position after paying millions of dollars to Continue reading “C3?”

Reflections after #MTS at Google

I have been back from the Media and Technology Summit (#mts on Twitter) for 10 days.  The reentry back into work and an early Winter in Iowa has been harder than usual.  Some of that is due to the pace of play in October, coupled with some strong personal challenges for very close friends.  But much of that is due to the deep tensions coming out of three days in Mountain View which were very well organized by Alan Mutter (@newsosaur)

John Temple (@jtemplermn) started us out with sobering reflections on the last decades of the Rocky Mountain News.  We shifted immediately into the latest semantic tools.  Several of the slide shows can be found at this “event” on Slideshare.

The immediate, and lasting, impression is that there are three levels of complex revolutions taking place.  The first revolution is Continue reading “Reflections after #MTS at Google”