The Houston Chronicle

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The Houston Chronicle Reviews

Updated August 27, 2014
Updated August 27, 2014
46 Reviews

2.5
46 Reviews
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John T. O'Loughlin
9 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Life at the Universal Desk

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Copy Editor  in  Houston, TX
    Current Employee - Copy Editor in Houston, TX

    I have been working at The Houston Chronicle as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    Senior copy editors are calm and patient

    Cons

    Long hours at a desk

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    The Chronicle can't bail water fast enough…..

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales Manager  in  Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Sales Manager in Houston, TX

    I worked at The Houston Chronicle full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    The Chronicle continues to have strong health care, dental, and vision benefits.

    Cons

    Upper management is a revolving door of bullies and former Tribune executives trying to turn the business around. They blame the papers problems on middle management and the sales staff but the reality is this is an industry on a rapid and continuous decline. I am sure the same thing happened at Kodak, Blockbuster and at major travel agencies. Let's face it the world has changed and papers aren't as relevant as they were in the 80s and 90s.

    Goals are often set during the last week of a sales period to control expenses. It wasn't always like this but it has been for over 4+ years. They have a set compensation level they like to hit and sales goals are how they control it. Don't be fooled if you hear of an uncapped sales plan because it is essentially capped with the sales goal being set monthly and often at near the end of the sales period. The company hasn't given raises in over 6 years and that should really tell you something about the state of the business.

    Sustained ad campaigns used to produce big results and build major Houston businesses. Those days are over because circulation has been on the decline since 2001 and isn't going to reverse. Ad costs haven't declined enough over the years to keep pace with a declining audience. As a result media buyers and agencies look elsewhere to get their message out.

    Management is always looking for a scapegoat when something goes wrong and it is never their fault. Pointing fingers and writing employees up is commonplace. Workloads and extensive hours continue to rise as they reduce head count to control expenses. The paper has finally hit a point where they have laid off or forced out most of the highly compensated talent with strong institutional knowledge. Now the paper is a revolving door of angry and frustrated people leaving whether they are recent new hires or long time employees.

    Anyone with any professional experience elsewhere quickly realizes they made a mistake. There are good and even great jobs to be had in Houston where you can be treated as a professional; this is not one of them. Don't write off continued reviews on Glassdoor from former Chronicle employees as sour grapes or disgruntled employees because the majority of them are accurate. The Chronicle has lost its way and can't seem to find a successful path to redemption.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat people as professionals. Set fair and achievable sales goals prior to the sales period. Quit beating yourself up over what revenue used to be like because the glory days are over. The elusive Pulitzer Prize won't fix revenue and won't grow the subscriber base. Promote from within and give annual merit increases. Adjust print ad costs to compete with other media for similar size audiences. Streamline revenue forecasts and weekly reports. These look more like an annual report than a weekly update.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Like living in 1995

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Reporter  in  Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Reporter in Houston, TX

    I worked at The Houston Chronicle full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    People are great. So many want to make the paper better but are shackled by mediocre management.

    Cons

    No raises. Hearst management resistant to innovative thinking. Website is a disaster.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Raises. Some haven't had raises in eight or nine years. Scrap the paywall. Quit treating newspapers as some sort of flypaper catching clicks and put money behind the reporters.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    No Leadership - Sinking Ship

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Supervisor  in  Houston, TX
    Current Employee - Supervisor in Houston, TX

    I have been working at The Houston Chronicle full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Co-Workers - the friendships created with co-workers

    Cons

    Too many chiefs - not enough Indians! Upper management has no clue what it really take to perform the tasks they are asking the little people to perform.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Good, but everyone is overworked and unerpaid

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Houston, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Houston, TX

    I have been working at The Houston Chronicle full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    It's a big newspaper, strong brand presence. People can be lots of fun to work with, if you're in the right department. I think management is trying to make things better for employees.

    Cons

    Just the normal stuff that comes with working at a newspaper- everyone is overworked and underpaid, which makes for a lot of unhappy employees

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't treat your employees like they're expendable.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at The Houston Chronicle full-time

    Pros

    great culture and atmosphere fun place to work and good place to learn

    Cons

    non really...salary no room for growth in career

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Overall this was a company that people wanted to work for.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Regional Sales Specialist  in  Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Regional Sales Specialist in Houston, TX

    I worked at The Houston Chronicle full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    They offer a base which is almost unheard of in the media industry

    Cons

    The leadership is constantly changing, the commission plans are constantly changing, there is not a work/family balance, and there is a negative work environment

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    they need to decide what their objectives are and truly clarify them and have consistency.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Please don't discount as disgruntled, but rather very concerned and disappointed.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Manager  in  Houston, TX
    Current Employee - Sales Manager in Houston, TX

    I have been working at The Houston Chronicle full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Not a whole lot. Great benefits, maybe. I would say the co-workers, but they are leaving at a rapid pace. Once, they're gone, who knows what the environment will be like.

    Cons

    Top heavy management. There seems to be a VP for everything and 2 managers per team. In 2 years working there, I've seen 5 Vice Presidents leave or get fired. They also house a Hearst digital team that reports to NY, but actually competes against the Chronicle. The print products are on the decline and the only digital products they sell are 3rd party. Just a real disappointment as a company. The company continues to raise sales goals; in fact, you don't even get your goal until mid-month. Management will tell you that your sales goals are based year-over-year, unless you're already over that number, then they say your goal is based on trend. I've seen goals be as much as 146% increase over last year! Anything to not pay you; upper management doesn't care; they make 200K base salaries so it's not them that suffer.
    They continue to say John O'loughlin is the CEO, but he's been gone over a year after suffering a stroke. When John was there the environment was much better, but now...not so much.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Care more about the people that work there. Stop raising goals so people can make a living. Stop saying that John O'loughlin is the CEO; he's been gone for over a year.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Cool place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at The Houston Chronicle full-time

    Pros

    Exciting work, constantly changing and evolving work

    Cons

    Ultra competitive market and space

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    ...Did you ever see Titanic? Unless you are desperate...Don't work here

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Manager  in  Houston, TX
    Current Employee - Sales Manager in Houston, TX

    I have been working at The Houston Chronicle full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The pay is decent if you can grow the business and the product isn't hard to sell...except read below:

    Cons

    *No matter how hard the place tries to not be a 'newspaper', its still a newspaper....which means things are brutally inefficient and outdated...there are programs still used that look like Atari game, and none of the systems talk to each other.
    *The company sells websites and online advertising, but GOOD LUCK getting anything fulfilled.
    *When things don't get done, no one wants to take accountability. Instead of selling, you are tracking down people all day long to figure things out. The salesperson AND the customers get screwed in the process.
    *The business is consistently trending down YOY...but because it was trending down LESS than the industry as a whole, it's something to celebrate....but wait I'm paid on growth so...why are we celebrating??
    *The company wants to be a Top Workplace...newsflash, it ain't gonna happen
    *The building is LITERALLY falling apart...the water gets shut off, the phones go down, ect.
    *You can't fire people...people don't show up to work, are disrespectful to your face and others, and don't hit the numbers. People who do perform are often in disbelief. You can't win as a leader here.
    *The executives are really powerless figureheads just maintaining their jobs and turn into pinatas at company-wide meetings when employees rip on them
    *When an SVP can't approve a giftcard, you know there's issues :)
    *HR rules the land. If someone farts in the office or their quota is too high, HR has to hear about it and goes on a witch hunt. They are more worried about getting sued than making money.
    *Nonsensical spreadsheets and forecasting that have no real merits...it took NASA less calculations to fly to the moon than it takes to make a weekly revenue prediction at the chronicle

    If you have worked in a high performance sales environment, you should not work here...it is not a sales company. It's a complete cluster. If you have any talent, do not waste it on this organization. The most exciting day of my career here will be when I leave.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Increase pay to get talent with necessary skill sets
    Get newer technology...at least from the 2000's
    Talk is cheap...hold people accountable to doing their jobs or fire them
    Get rid of the agency, its a huge cost center and a joke
    The place needs surgery, not band-aids

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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