Dec 15, 2008

Singleton in the Times

The decline of the Los Angeles Times is an important media story, but if you want to know what the future of journalism looks like, take a gander at Dean Singleton's MediaNews empire. Fortunately, if belatedly, the New York Times does just that in a Sunday profile of the original cut-and-consolidater - a story no doubt inspired by the recent downgrading of MediaNews' debt.

Singleton sees silver linings in the grey clouds dumping on the newspaper industry. He's especially sanguine about the San Jose Mercucy News, which he says will bounce back once the economy turns around. Nevertheless, the story paints an appropriately grim picture of the state of things:
Already known for squeezing costs as hard as anyone in the industry, Mr. Singleton and his team have cut spending at a furious pace, trying to keep pace with tumbling revenue. His detractors among analysts and journalists concede that in this market, any owner would have to make deep cuts. But they say that he was already inclined to a slash-and-burn approach that is little more than a prescription for having the papers do steadily less, and do it less well.

“There’s no newspaper in the country that I know of that’s not suffering,” said John McManus, a journalism professor at San Jose State University. “But Dean Singleton has hollowed out The Mercury News.”


Dave Butler, the executive editor, acknowledged that the paper no longer had the ambitions it once did. Now, he said, “we’re protecting the core mission, which is good, hard local news and information.”
I don't know anyone who works for Singleton who doesn't worry about more cuts, whether it be layoffs or the elimination of home delivery service on certain days.


Anonymous said...

More layoffs? Can't happen according to the hr chief of staff.

Anonymous said...

LOL it is going to happen, anyone who thinks they are safe working for Singleton really needs a history lesson

Steve L. said...

Once economy turns around, we should be OK.
I agree with Dean.

Anonymous said...

Don't think best of luck.

Anonymous said...

So then why haven't you been okay for the past five years, possibly 10??