Saturday, October 07, 2006

Let's face facts about the Newspaper Industry...

Anyone who has worked in the industry over the last 20 years or so knows what happened during the late 80's as we had everyone scrambling to deal with all the new technology on the market, what systems to choose, which presses to buy, etc.

It was expensive.

Now that cost is coming due.

But don't make the mistake of thinking you can keep on cutting the human element out, because for one thing content will suffer and then you will lose your reputation and brand.

Instead, capitalize on the fact you are a newspaper. And get back into the biz of being a newspaper. The Los Angeles Times does this very well already. Increasing the writing/graphic content is only going to make things better and bigger aka circulation. The web is an adjunct for the 20-something set. First you have to teach them how to read, though, and you will do this by hooking them electronically with all the splashy, graphic stuff they are used to.

Staff morale at papers has been in the dumps since the 80's. It's a fear factor kind of thing where too many managers have spoiled the broth, and too many incompetent HR directors didn't give a flying f*ck. It used to be so all about team building didn't it? All those meetings, except, usually the managers were less smart than the workers themselves, and teams weren't ever actually built, were they? Remember those stupid posters that were all about striving for excellence that had dolphins and skiers standing in as corporate...right. You know what I'm talking about, and if you don't, they can be found here, courtesy of Allposters.com

(read motivational posters)

Salaries got very inflated for middle managers who were always talking poormouth about why nobody beneath them deserved a raise. Then you had the horror stories about goings on elsewhere as the media conglomerates were buying up newspaper chains by the score. And fear, absolutely. And then layoffs which were done in a terribly cruel fashion and only made the industry sadder, not prouder.

This has ruled the whole newspaper industry for the last 20 years.

And now, the bill has come due. So this is what the publishers like Mr. David Hiller are facing. The corporate parent wants to know where the money is. Well? Why did you listen to all the BS from the suits who wanted to look good and made you spend so many bazillions on all their tech-y stuff in the first place? The programs were dumb, huh? I won't name names but it rhymes with Bad Seed, or Sage Seed, which it wasn't.

Don't make the publishers hang for the fiscal mistakes, just make them understand by listening to and working with the staff.

It's time to repair the damage done to employee MORALE, newspaper by newspaper.

Your staff is the GOLDMINE.

As far as we are concerned The Los Angeles Times is the best o' the West along with San Fran.

Don't blow it out here. And, under Mr. Jeff Johnson we LOVED what the paper has done. You appeal to the sophisticated demographic here in Santa Barbara.

The Times should bring him back as an advisor. If he'd consider it, at this point. '

You really don't want a Santa Barbara-style fiasco on the venerable LAT's hands.
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