Thursday, October 05, 2006

Newspapers in a new world

Interesting post from Doc Searls, who links to a story and comments about labor problems at the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, my (long-ago) hometown paper (I read the D&C when there was an afternoon paper to read, too, the Times Union. They were among Gannett's first newspapers and once housed the company headquarters).

The story, Remaking media: the D&C's hazy future in City, talks about how changes in the newspaper industry are affecting how papers look at the future:
What changed that was a little-known Florida-based investor named Bruce Sherman. Sherman's firm Private Capital management was the largest shareholder in Knight Ridder, which was the second-largest newspaper chain in the nation (behind Gannett).

Last fall, Sherman, dissatisfied with the company's stock performance and believing its management hadn't made sufficiently deep cuts, led a shareholder revolt. At Sherman's urging, Knight Ridder ultimately sold itself to the McClatchy Company, which auctioned off a few of the larger, less profitable properties, including both dailies in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia papers were bought by a private group put together by local PR man Brian Tierney.

Doc goes on to discuss what newspapers need to do to get over the fact that "as a class they are resolutely clueless about how to adapt to a world that is increasingly networked and self-informing." He offers ten "hopefully helpful" clues, including:
  • stop giving away the news and charging for the olds
  • start featuring archived stuff on the paper's website
  • link outside the paper
  • start following, and linking to, local bloggers and even competing papers

Thank you, Doc. Been saying this for years. Don't miss the rest.


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