Friday, September 13, 2013

Newsroom Cuts. Again.

The Amazing Shrinking Tribune
“News costs money. Local news is particularly expensive. I won't insult you by saying we can do more with less. We cant. What we can do is manage smartly, choose carefully and remain committed to Journalism with a capital J. We intend to keep the printed newspaper worthy of you — our readers.”

—Nancy Conway, whose retirement as editor of the Salt Lake Tribune was announced Thursday, in a column written in July. Nine Tribune newsroom staff were laid off in May; another 17—20% of the newsroom—lost their jobs Thursday.

• Editorial Comment: Managing newspapers smartly. That’s Depressing with a capital D.

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  1. On Sep 13, 2013, at 8:35 AM, Anne Anderson wrote:

    Managing smartly includes marketing. I see little written about news organizations' budgets, but the little I have gleaned leads me to believe few funds are allocated for marketing. Marketing typically is seen as a function of the circulation department, where the primary task is managing subscribers rather than brand promotion. Brand promotion seems to be relegated to sitting at festivals and soliciting subscribers, using free umbrellas and other items as enticements, or buying ad space in sports stadiums. The few ads I have seen for news orgs are lame, are inbred, and are poorly placed. It's not enough to produce a good product, which is a topic for another discussion, if people have no clue it exists or how it can help them. What I think would work is to fund a committed corps of people to develop the reverse of mass-marketing -- to reseed the grass-roots, as it were, and not through cheesy college alumni association approaches, either. The end goal needs to be a commitment to reconnecting the communication lines between news packagers and news consumers. Making money needs to be seen as an inevitable byproduct of reconnection; if it is seen as the end goal, the approach will be tainted from the beginning.

    Ted replies: Good point, Anne. Here's what the Providence Journal did to try to brand itself and market its true product:
    “Start Selling Journalism,” video campaign for The Providence Journal, Facebook, May 13, 2013


  2. Chritine Fairbanks writes:

    Our local, three-generation family owned newspaper, the Silver City (NM) Daily Press, is on its last legs. About a month ago it changed from what we think of as a newspaper format to tabloid format. The "funnies page" is down to two single panel comics, the horoscope, Jumble, and the lottery results. There is almost no local news, mostly because there is only one reporter. In a very small town a newspaper is not needed, as everyone knows what is going on, but in a larger small town, we don't. The paper carries some national and international news, no reporter needed for that, but the lack of local news is not a good thing. I know several people, and have heard of more, who are ending their subscriptions, me included, as the cost of the paper now outweighs its content. It takes less time to read the paper than it does to walk out to the sidewalk and back into the house to retrieve it.

    If it weren't for the local sports, legal notices, obituaries, garage sales, and lists of town activities, this newspaper would be blank. The costs of display ads is very high, but the costs for "want ad" has been kept reasonable. $13 a month is the cost for home delivery.

    Those of us with internet access and television can get all the state, national, and international news we want, but only a local newspaper can bring us local news. I do have an internet subscription to the Silver City edition of the Las Cruces "Sun-News" which carries much more information than does the local paper. I'm sure there is a lot going on here that I never know about. When I was working at the hospital I knew so much more than I do now. Gossip Central.