Update: Things are Bad for Newsies

Sinking Ships

September, 03, 2008

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Update straight from the horse’s mouth: News & Observer offers buyouts to additional 320 employees today.

Get a life, jacket: Overheard from an N&O employee “The website is broken, the staff is all getting laid off, and classifieds has shrunk to a tenth of its original size. Its a sinking ship. They are F****d”. It hasn’t been 6 weeks since the last round of layoffs at the N&O when 70 lost their jobs.

Not as bright as it used to be: Herald-Sun lays off six in newsroom and the Indy is talking about it. “The paper’s circulation has declined by about 38 percent since the purchase and now stands at 32,845 daily and 32,711 on Sundays.” The Indy


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  • GB
    07/31 02:13 PM

    HA! Nice pic!

  • CarnifeX
    07/31 02:54 PM

    I’m gonna blame this on bloggers. its their fault. either theirs or Al Gore’s (since he invented the internet and all)

  • DPK
    07/31 03:33 PM

    That picture is priceless, lol.

  • Andy O
    07/31 04:32 PM

    Just as long as we keep Jack Hagel.
    Maybe they could cut the comics down to one page - save somebody’s job.

    Jack Hagel, half the comics, Craig Lindsey, and Greg Cox.  That’s enough.  Barry Saunders could start his own zine.

  • NPD
    07/31 06:19 PM

    Maybe they should follow the lead of the Charlotte Observer and become a tabloid arm of the Chamber of Commerce. Every story could be about how great we are and how everyone else sucks.

  • GB
    07/31 06:45 PM

    “Maybe they could cut the comics down to one page - save somebody’s job.”

    Oh Andy Capp, you drunken wife-beater!

  • GB
    07/31 06:48 PM

    Whoa! Just realized the poster of the original comment I just responded to was named “Andy O”, who is probably NOT a drunken wife beater.

    Simpsons quote backfires! D’OH!

  • Andy O
    07/31 07:14 PM

    I’m not Andy Capp.  You have me confused with another.

  • Little Billy
    07/31 08:14 PM

    I’ve outlived my usefulness on the comics page anyway.  Please, kill me.

  • capt. yowsa f. willobee
    08/01 02:39 AM

    damn you web 2.0hhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

    it stinks for those losing their jobs, but let’s face the facts…im 33 and haven’t read a newspaper in almost 40 years. oh no, that’s a lie. i looked at one on september 12, back before i was granola 2.0.

  • Ken Metzger
    08/01 02:30 PM

    I can’t believe how many people are rejoicing in the downfall of the N&O;and newspapers in general.  It saddens me every time they thin out reporters, leaving us with very little real journalism in the area.  I love getting information from blogs, but they usually lack credibility, have very little journalistic integrity, are almost always subjective, and most stories just cite actual articles from another publication.  We need services where reporters will have to verify facts and present more than a one-sided view.  The last thing I want to have to do is watch local news for bits of real news in the midst of sensationalism.  I do love what publication like The Independent add, but they even have a stated agenda.  Newspapers and the N&O;still have some problems, but are a very reliable source of information.  If the newspapers leave us, then we will be left only reading opinions and hearsay, and will be short of actual facts.

  • Rusty
    08/01 03:35 PM

    I’m split on this issue. The Web 2.0 phenomenon and blogging specifically have impacted reporting of the news dramatically, but there is something to holding a physical paper in your hand that blogs just don’t fulfill. I’ve found that with blogs it is always down to the individual writer, but sometimes they are actually more balanced than the local newspaper.

    With all that said, I hate that all these news agencies (N&O;being one of many) can’t seem to find a way to adapt. There has been a fundamental shift in the way that news is being delivered, and unfortunately the mainstays of the industry still seem to be well behind the curve. Here’s to hoping they figure it out before it’s too late.

  • David
    08/01 04:07 PM

    Its not about web2.0 as much as it is advertising dollars flowing to the web in general.  Advertising on the web doesnt pay like print, and advertisers have a much clearer image of what is working and what isn’t. 

    I don’t think blogs have anything to do with it, if anything they increase the traffic to the paper’s sites.  That said, if the N&O;can’t monetize the half million visitors they get every day, then I assume their decline is their own fault.

  • Alpha Wplf
    08/01 07:17 PM

    “It saddens me every time they thin out reporters, leaving us with very little real journalism in the area.  I love getting information from blogs, but they usually lack credibility, have very little journalistic integrity, are almost always subjective, and most stories just cite actual articles from another publication.”

    Credibility?  What establishes credibility exactly, and why does a newspaper have it and a blog automatically doesn’t? 

    Tell me, since the World Weekly News was a printed newspaper, it automatically has credibility?  If so, I guess it is true that aliens landed in their flying saucers in Graceland and took Elvis with them. 

    As for “journalistic integrity” - again, why is a newspaper automatically assumed to have it?  See: Jayson Blair.  See: Yellow journalism.  And let’s be frank: the history of the N&O;wasn’t exactly the best in its early days either.

    Finally, the idea that newspapers are objective is simply laughable.  Anyone who believes that the N&O;doesn’t have a Democratic Party bias is someone who doesn’t read it.  Anyone who doesn’t think the Wall Street Journal is biased towards business, the same.  Anyone who doesn’t think the New York Times isn’t slighted towards the left is missing something too.  Mass media outlets are almost all biased and therefore subjective.  The difference with a blog and a paper is that it doesn’t sanctimoniously pretend not to be something it very clearly is.

    The real difference between blogs and newspapers is one of access.  Yes, blogs (like mine) often repeat already written reports.  But then again, look for Associated Press and UPI or other news service bylines in the paper.  You will find that most of a given paper’s contents are not generated locally.  I fail to see a huge difference.

  • Ken Metzger
    08/01 08:28 PM

    I did not say that the N&O;or newspapers are perfect.  They certainly have their problems, but they are actually held accountable.  That is one reason why anyone actual knows who the hell Jayson Blair is.  No one would know or care if a blogger stole a story.  That is also why they hire an ombudsman. They are assumed to have integrity, because that is their business and when or if the trust is broken editors get fired, there is a major loss of readership, and a major loss of ad revenue.  It can take awhile to earn that trust back.
    Is their bias?  Sure, but there is an attempt to represents both sides of a story.  There is no differentiating in most blogs between reporting, editorial, rumor, or pure speculation.  Many blogs, like this one, do do some reporting, but it is usually one-sided ( except for many of the architectural articles).  I am forced to check facts on blogs a hundred times more than on in paper or on their website (unless it is an editorial, but again that would be put in the editorial section).
    Yes, newspapers use many others articles, but is usually because they do not cover that area and it still comes from the newspaper industry as a whole.
    Honestly, I am not very happy with the N&O;, but that is due to a lack of coverage and reporting.  I wish they could figure out a business model that had broad local reporting, and less about crimes that happen in rich neighborhoods and the trials that follow.

  • Ken Metzger
    08/01 08:39 PM

    After reading my own post, I would like to add that I love what blogs add.  It enables everyone to tell their side of story and cover things that they are interested in.  I just hope that we can keep newspapers as a source, when I am looking for a more straight forward article.
    Also, my issue is that blogs often rely on another source, but revel in the fact that that source is dieing.  A paper has to pay to print someone else’s article, but I can summarize someone else’s article all I want.  I have no problem with fair use, but I just wish people would realize that there is value it what they provide.

  • David
    08/01 08:55 PM

    I agree on all counts Ken. The attempt to remove bias is an important part of why newspapers generally have high integrity. The N&O;is an asset to the city and while I don’t think its truly sinking, its narrow coverage seems to be the product of the broken business model.  I thought the TV show the Wire (written by a former Baltimore Sun reporter) did a great job of portraying the dilemmas that modern editors have to deal with.  The internal strife at local papers will continue, it will be interesting to see how it all settles out.

  • John Morris
    08/01 10:48 PM

    The N&O;has the largest arsenal of incredibly talented and interesting writers and journalists in the region, yet McClatchy squanders them in an unforgivable way.

    What is so ironic about this slow and painful decline is that the N&O;was the first pioneer of blogging, internet technology, and original local news coverage. If you’re unfamiliar with the Nando brand, look it up on wikipedia. They were the first trailblazers bridging the gap of technology, news, and content delivery. It should come as no surprise that McClatchy’s purchase of the N&O;was the first nail in the coffin to this pioneering enterprise.

    They have more boots on the ground than any other news agency around, yet how often is it you read articles and stories about the city they are headquartered in? I subscribe to all of their RSS feeds and buy the Sunday paper almost every week, yet I struggle to find articles about events and news that are even in Wake County, much less Raleigh. The local content continues to thin out and I find myself growing tired of wading through salacious stories of affairs, grisly murder details, world tragedies and the like. In today’s society, I’ve already heard about the bombing in middle east before the paper has gone to print.

    It must be said that this sad situation cannot entirely be blamed on McClatchy, as there isn’t a newspaper company out there that has been able to successfully monetize online content that is in any way that is comparable to print ad and classified revenue. At the same time, they continue to jetison their most valuable resource (journalists) while not adopting a strategy for the future that is anything other than cutting costs. No innovation, no new ideas, no embracing change. It is my sincere hope that the writers at the N&O;are able to put their talents to good use after McClatchy lets them go.

    Thanks New Raleigh, Raleigh Connoisseur, RDUWTF, and others for stepping up to provide the local content that is sadly becoming more infrequent from the N&O;.

  • Rusty
    08/02 01:09 AM

    Whoah, I absolutely remember breaking out the 2400 baud modem and logging into the NandOnet B.B.S. Talk about flashback.

  • corey3rd
    08/04 01:16 AM

    They overpaid and now we’re paying for their stupidity with lame coverage of our city. At least it frees up more downtown parking space.

  • Dejaviews
    08/05 02:45 AM

    Craigslist killed the N&O;‘s classifieds, and I have no pity for them.  They had overcharged for years.

  • The Buggles
    08/05 03:00 AM

    Video also killed the radio star.

  • corey3rd
    08/05 12:28 PM

    Clear Channel killed the radio star.
    MTV’s Real World killed the video star

  • Tim
    08/06 01:24 AM

    The only problem I have with some of the blog sites is inept reporting, relying on hearsay, incorrect facts in stories, etc. At least the N&O;(whose demise I don’t lament) does a decent job of fact checking and isn’t some kid killing time, trying to get 15 minutes of fame by bitching about restaurants and other things they know nothing about. We need to step up the research in reporting otherwise we’re just disseminating a lot of gossip and assumptions that people take as fact.

  • betaDog
    08/07 06:27 PM

    whoever said that the AP provides much of the content to local papers is nuts…hell yea it does… but who provides much of that content….....?  Local reporters and photographers sending the stories and pics to AP… thats how that stuff works, man.  Sure there is an AP office in Raleigh, and in Wilmington…and throughout state… but c’mon…be real.

  • ddjango
    08/22 03:26 PM

    I hope they keep the crossword puzzle. De don’t want to lose the readership of all the illtierate three-year-olds.

  • ddjango
    08/22 03:27 PM

    Like me -

    “De don’t want to lose the readership of all the illtierate three-year-olds.”

    Now that’s embarrasseding!

  • brian_M
    09/04 01:28 AM

    Maybe the Daniels family can buy it back on the cheap, and we can have a strong local paper again. No offense to the columnists that I like, of course.  :)

  • The Raleigh Telegram
    09/11 06:55 PM

    As an online publisher since 2001 and a print publisher in NC since 1993, I can tell you that even though online news products may be filling in the gaps of the News & Observer’s local coverage, the online advertising is not yet there for Internet-only newspapers.

    It will be a good five to ten years before local advertisers start putting more of their money online compared to print products, which still receive most of the advertising budgets.

    We are looking at making a print product of our own for our Raleigh Telegram online paper not because it reaches more readers, but to capture those print advertising dollars.

    In essence, it’s easy to reach a lot of people online compared to print, but a lot harder to sell advertisements.

    R.Gregg, Publisher
    The Raleigh Telegram Newspaper

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