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Newspaper reinventing and evolving (Dinosaur Media DeathWatch™)
Akron Beacon Journal ^ | October 22, 2006 | Mizell Stewart III

Posted on 10/23/2006 1:40:17 PM PDT by abb

The newspaper industry is in the midst of a historic and fundamental transition, propelled by lasting changes in lifestyle, technology and commerce.

It will never be the way it was.

That sentiment is not exactly new, though many of you -- and quite a few of us in the industry -- long for the days when the newspaper alone can again be everything to everyone.

Yet several events combined last week to underscore the point that those days are gone forever -- and the business model that has sustained us for so long has to be reinvented.

Consider:

• Quarterly earnings reports from several publicly traded newspaper companies -- including the New York Times Co., Tribune Co. and the McClatchy Co. -- indicated further weakening on the revenue side of the business.

``This is uncharted territory -- it will be the first time ever ad revenues are down in a nonrecessionary year,'' Paul Ginocchio, a Deutsche Bank analyst, told the Wall Street Journal in a story published Friday.

• Staff reductions were finalized at The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, announced at The (San Jose) Mercury News and forecast for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News.

Today, the Beacon Journal, The Plain Dealer and the two Philadelphia newspapers are all privately owned -- meaning that newspapers are facing the same problem regardless of their ownership structure.

• The seeds of these changes were sown long ago. Alberto Ibarguen, the president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, left this pearl of wisdom when he visited the Akron Roundtable last week: The advent of radio and television was less responsible for the drop in daily newspaper readership than the rise in women working outside the home.

• Newspaper companies are not alone. NBC Universal last week announced that it is laying off 700 people, most in the network's news division, and turning to reality and game shows in the 8 p.m. time slot to save money. One-time Internet darling AOL Time Warner announced layoffs as well.

These sound like the words of a pessimist. I've had those days, particularly when we've had to say farewell to longtime colleagues such as copy desk stalwarts Jim Kavanagh and Debby Stock Kiefer, who chose to leave the newspaper in our own staff reductions.

We can't cut our way to profitability. But we can't survive by doing things the way we have been. That's where realism, optimism and determination comes in.

We are engaged in nothing less than a battle to preserve local journalism, help local advertisers grow their businesses and help our community thrive and prosper.

That battle will be joined on several fronts, including last week's announcement that the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com will be joining with Monster.com to bolster our online classified advertising presence.

The combination of the newspaper and Ohio.com are just the starting point as we transform our business to meet the challenges ahead. Hang on -- I can't promise you the ride will be a smooth one -- but it will be interesting!

From Mickey to Rich

The process of change sometimes means letting go of what was and embracing something new.

I've heard from many of you on the topic of Porter's People, a labor of love by the Beacon Journal's Mickey Porter. Porter's People will be no more, though Mickey is still around. We're talking about what he'll do next.

In its place comes The HeldenFiles, a new column by popular culture writer Rich Heldenfels.

Rich will bring his own unique take to music, movies and television -- and highlight some oddball stories along the way. He's also here to find the answers to your burning questions on entertainment topics. His new column debuts today.

Contact Managing Editor Mizell Stewart III at 330-996-3507. E-mail: mstewart@thebeaconjournal.com.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: dbm; newspapers
Looks like this one's about to begin coughing up blood...

We can't cut our way to profitability. But we can't survive by doing things the way we have been.

1 posted on 10/23/2006 1:40:18 PM PDT by abb
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To: abb
Raoul's First Law of Journalism
BIAS = LAYOFFS

2 posted on 10/23/2006 1:41:00 PM PDT by abb (The Dinosaur Media: A One-Way Medium in a Two-Way World)
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To: 04-Bravo; aimhigh; andyandval; Arizona Carolyn; backhoe; Bahbah; bert; bilhosty; bwteim; ...

Ping


3 posted on 10/23/2006 1:41:42 PM PDT by abb (The Dinosaur Media: A One-Way Medium in a Two-Way World)
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To: abb
propelled by lasting changes in lifestyle, technology and commerce

More likely propelled by an unsympathetic blogasphere that insists they tell the truth rather than the predigested pablum they normally regurgitate.

4 posted on 10/23/2006 1:42:38 PM PDT by Ben Mugged
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To: Ben Mugged

Bleeding customers and hundreds of millions of dollars, is not the kind of "re-invention and evolution" newspaper shareholders need.


5 posted on 10/23/2006 1:51:02 PM PDT by samadams2000 (Somebody important make....THE CALL!)
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To: abb

I hope this clown is one of the Dinosaur mediots favorite advisors with this bs passing as wisdom:

"The seeds of these changes were sown long ago. Alberto Ibarguen, the president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, left this pearl of wisdom when he visited the Akron Roundtable last week: The advent of radio and television was less responsible for the drop in daily newspaper readership than the rise in women working outside the home."

Women flooded the workplaces two decades ago and into this decade. The Newspaper problems didn't really start until 2000 and went into high gear after 2004. The political stances of these left wing liars has driven away millions of GW voters. That may be biggest factor besides the internet and conservative talk radio beating the old MSM with faster and more reliable news 24/7/365.


6 posted on 10/23/2006 1:51:04 PM PDT by Grampa Dave (There's a dwindling market for Marxist Homosexual Lunatic wet dreams posing as journalism)
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To: abb
We are engaged in nothing less than a battle to preserve local journalism, help local advertisers grow their businesses and help our community thrive and prosper.

I wonder what grade Mizell Stewart III is in?

7 posted on 10/23/2006 1:56:15 PM PDT by andyandval
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To: abb
"to bolster our online classified advertising presence."

our local paper won't let you advertise guns in their classifieds.

they also will not STOP delivering the paper to us. We've called and complained and have not paid in over a year, yet we get the paper daily.

I read somewhere that they have "minimal distribution" numbers that they had commited to subscribers.
pretty funny when they have to give it away because nobody will buy it !
8 posted on 10/23/2006 2:02:25 PM PDT by stompk
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To: abb

"We can't cut our way to profitability."

Of course you can. The fact you don't understand the basics of business administration doesn't change them at all.


9 posted on 10/23/2006 2:03:11 PM PDT by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com)
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To: abb
I honestly think that there could have been a place in the future for local newspapers. I like keeping up with the local news...and don't necessarily like getting it off of the web.

I hate watching tv news. I have no control over the content and far too much of my time is wasted waiting for them to cover something I am interested in. I am much more in tune with written media because of the control that I have. I choose the articles that interest me...no wasted time. Having said that, I would be willing to pay (a small amount at least) to keep up with the current local news. A good newspaper that stuck to the news without bias would fit my needs.

The only problem with this is that my local papers are anything but unbiased. Additionally they continually harass me about subscribing. At this point even if there was a new local newspaper (or an existing one changed its behavior), I would never notice.

If I was a betting man, I would be selling newspaper stocks short.
10 posted on 10/23/2006 2:06:46 PM PDT by flipper999 (vote early, vote often, vote republican even if it hurts.)
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To: abb
But we can't survive by doing things the way we have been. That's where realism, optimism and determination comes in.

Try integrity.

11 posted on 10/23/2006 2:18:38 PM PDT by 3niner (War is one game where the home team always loses.)
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To: abb

I can't wait for the day that I can explain to my grandkids what a "newspaper" was.


12 posted on 10/23/2006 2:41:48 PM PDT by Lekker 1 (("...the world will be...eleven degrees colder by the year 2000" -- K. Watt, Earth Day, 1970)
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To: gcruse
"We can't cut our way to profitability."

Although I would bet a dollar that you believe the Government can tax it's way to prosperity.

13 posted on 10/23/2006 2:43:41 PM PDT by Lekker 1 (("...the world will be...eleven degrees colder by the year 2000" -- K. Watt, Earth Day, 1970)
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To: abb

Translation:We're going to continue to dump our liberal sewage into your home ,but were going to try a different way to do it.


14 posted on 10/23/2006 2:47:09 PM PDT by Carl LaFong (Give Turtle Bay back to the turtles.Oh...and watch out for snakes!)
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To: abb

It's too bad- there really is a market for hard-copy local news. Like most others, my "small town" NE Ohio rag is 90% bash-Bush and 10% obits.


15 posted on 10/23/2006 2:50:22 PM PDT by fat city ("Journalists are sloppy, lazy and on expense account")
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To: Lekker 1

You got that right.


16 posted on 10/23/2006 3:52:00 PM PDT by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com)
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To: Grampa Dave
Women flooded the workplaces two decades ago and into this decade. The Newspaper problems didn't really start until 2000 and went into high gear after 2004. The political stances of these left wing liars has driven away millions of GW voters. That may be biggest factor besides the internet and conservative talk radio beating the old MSM with faster and more reliable news 24/7/365.

Alberto does a rather fine tippy toe dance to ignore that big old Inet elephant that scares the devil out of journalists™ even more than that big old GOP elephant in DC.
17 posted on 10/23/2006 3:55:38 PM PDT by Milhous (Twixt truth and madness lies but a sliver of a stream.)
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To: stompk
they also will not STOP delivering the paper to us. We've called and complained and have not paid in over a year, yet we get the paper daily.

I had trouble getting the Minneapolis Star Tribune to quit delivering free newspapers.

After many calls I got it stopped. I'm not sure if it was telling them I would call the police for repeated littering on my yard or my suggestion that I may leave a "free" ton of manure on their front step, whatever it was it finally worked.

18 posted on 10/23/2006 4:23:08 PM PDT by RJL
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To: abb
Looks like this one's about to begin coughing up blood...

LOL! The Akron BJ really is a cheezy commodity. No redeeming virtue that I can see. The irony is that all around Akron, in the small towns and municipalities, there are about three layers of local news sheets, trader and shopping tabloids, for lack of a better descriptive term, and even magazines which have been surviving for numerous years now, with heavy advertising by local small businesses, local sports and social news, and --local flavor. It's fun to see your own kids in the sports section, and those of your neighbors, and read about the folks down the street starting a new coffee house in town.

Rupert Murdoch told these people, at the ASNE last year, the way to survive is to go local. The lumbering mastodons like the BJ were too pompous to listen.

19 posted on 10/23/2006 7:09:25 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: abb

All they'd have to do is tell the truth in their reporting and balance their editorials, but they'd rather die than be honest. So be it.


20 posted on 10/23/2006 7:11:46 PM PDT by ozzymandus
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