March 27, 2009
Interesting blog here covering the disintegration of news coverage regionally in the States, from the ex-City Editor of the Winsconsin Rapids Daily Tribune.
The point of particular interest, for me, are the numbers covering the decline in the amount of local content being placed in the paper – the rot seems to have been ongoing for years. There have been similar patterns in the UK regional newspaper market, of course, as any editor will tell you.
Content cuts which have hit communities hard. Reader interest drops, advertisers wane, businesses switch off…the rot continues until the regional office is either closed and merged into a central operation – a favourite trick of Northcliffe Group – or we see yet more journos consigned to the redundancy queues across the country.
Wish I could provide something a bit more upbeat on a Friday afternoon – the blog, however, does highlight an ongoing and worrying trend in the slow and painful death of regional news globally. What’s your story?
March 23, 2009
It is increasingly clear – from reports such as this and this today – that regional and national newspapers in the UK and further afield, particularly in the States, are suffering from reduced advertising revenues, falling readerships and a general sense of not being as relevant as they once were. The response from Management?
Continue to slash editorial.
The journalists which make up the very heart of these long-standing, influential, once-respected and admired publications – what do the number-crunchers do with this most invaulable professional resource? Get rid.
Reduce costs. Save marginal amounts of cash and centralise the news-gathering function. Eliminate the regional editorial and bring it in line with a stream-lined, anodyne, lifeless, soul-less, central, pared-down reporting function.
De-motivate the existing long-term reporters and over-worked section editors to a point where they feel compelled to take (profitable for Management) redundancy packages. Push more editorial work onto the young, hungry NCTJ entrants, they can take it. As for the rest? Let them write press releases for the stable of PR Agencies who provide the gaps in copy for us…
Cynical? Not really. I saw this pattern emerging years ago when the big ‘R’ loomed for myself and my team at Northcliffe. Back then, when departments were closed or reduced, it was always the same story – cuts from London.
But, to be fair, at least we could understand that it was the start of the rot. It’s been quite a few years since that date – and still the Management haven’t invested in other revenue streams and embraced the online opportunities available to protect and nourish the future for the most valuable asset they have – the editorial staff.
Would I work on a daily newspaper desk in this country again? Given today‘s News, highly unlikely.
March 13, 2009
Keep it simple – that’s today’s motto.
Whether you are:
1. Writing editorial
2. Pitching for new business
3. Creating copy for a blog, website, editorial consultancy proposal
4. Updating website content and images
5. Looking to integrate your online and offline editorial promotions
6. All of the above
Keep it simple – as is superbly highlighted here in this post. When, for example, as an Editor a press release arrives with more than one simple, strong, clear, focused message…guess what…yep, that’s right, we switch off and bin it.
Same thing with prospective clients and new customers: if your content is rambling, confused, elaborate, pretentiously-worded, trying too hard, and just plain difficult to read, the prospect is switching off too. And once your editorial has lost a target, they’re not coming back. Ever.
A great post, with some really useful hints and tips from Adam Singer. Fantastic.