the visible hand

it is the theory which decides what can be observed – einstein

Stopping the Newspaper Death March

Posted by ecoshift on August 15, 2009

Dvorjak on the death of newspapers… worth a read. At least he is thinking outside the box…

Stopping the Newspaper Death March – The Wrong Solutions – Columns by PC Magazine

The Internet Demands Downsizing

The Internet, of course, has changed everything, they say. Has it? It changed distribution and accessibility. That’s for sure. But what else has it really changed? Yes, it changed the way people read because, let’s face it, as a vehicle for the printed word, it seriously stinks. Staring at a bright screen to read text is ridiculous and tiresome. Any essay or column over 700 words becomes tedious. I’m already over the limit right now. Stop me!

So, what’s the answer to the dilemma? Immediate and drastic downsizing! And I do not mean keeping all the buildings, overhead, and executives while firing reporters. Just the opposite is needed.

Eliminate layers of redundant editors. Turn off the lights, sell the desks, and get rid of the buildings. Reporters should work in the field and file reports over the network. Hire more ad sales people and make them pound the pavement. I know of no major newspaper or magazine that has ever even considered virtualizing the entire operation. The model of having to go in the office and be seen and supervised is one of the things that’s killing these companies. It’s expensive. If the reporters need to socialize with each other, let them do so at a coffee shop.

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4 Responses to “Stopping the Newspaper Death March”

  1. Rule number 1: John Dvorak is not worth reading on ANYTHING.

    Rule number 2: When in doubt, refer to rule number 2.

    John Dvorak, does not understand the industry. There is not a circulation issue, there is an advertising issue.

    In the modern era, readers have never paid for the production of news, they have only paid for a portion of the cost of putting the ink on paper. Advertising pays for the news.

    The problem is that Craigslist is destroying advertising.

    A secondary problem is that the owners do not believe in the product, and think that the road to success is through putting out lower quality product to lower costs, and John Dvorak, true to form, completely misses this.

    It’s what nearly crippled the railroads in the period 1960-1980, management believed that airlines and interstates would destroy them, so they did not invest in a better product, but instead actively attempted to create a worse product.

    Dvorak is correct in saying that using remote communication technology, and for that matter just locating offices in less expensive neighborhoods, would save costs, but everyone says that.

    He has no clue about the industry.

  2. D’oh, should read, “Rule number 2: When in doubt, refer to rule number 2.”

  3. ecoshift said

    Dvorjak is a professional whiner, but his point about keeping the reporters – preferably those that can improve the quality of reporting – and losing the buildings has some potential… can’t wait to hear everyone saying so…

    Not that I am an industry insider or anything…

    Just a fan of solid in-depth reporting and analysis…

  4. manderson said

    I don’t have any aspersions to cast against the writer, but his plan might be the best way to rebuild journalism without the corporate control. Corporate controlled news does not serve the public interest.

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