Oct 29, 2009

Crazy, mixed up world

The downturn in newspapers has been so prolonged and pervasive that Dean Singleton, once derided as "Lean Dean" for his gut-and-consolidate strategy, has become spirit raiser.

From a story that ran yesterday CJR:
And the mood of the writers rose—briefly, at least—when Dean Singleton, whose MediaNews Group owns both The Salt Lake Tribune and The Denver Post, recounted the conclusions that his top executives reached following a three-day planning session at his Colorado ranch: Instead of continuing to provide free of charge all the contents of its newspapers on their Web sites, the group’s papers would provide breaking news online for free, but reserve many of the newspapers’ in-depth and analytical stories for paid subscribers. In three to five years, he predicted, the newspaper business will be a combination of “print, online, wireless mobile and niche products.” The business “will be better than it is today, although not as good as it was yesterday.”
I think many reporters at Singleton papers would welcome such a plan, as long as it meant investing in newsrooms so that they could produce sufficient in-depth and analytical stories to justify the charge.


Anonymous said...

We tried the print, online, wireless mobile and niche products combo in earnest at the paper I left last year ... circulation is down some 24 percent.
Nobody wants to read it, much less pay for it, because, well ... it's crap and the paper no longer has any credibility because it threw customer service out the window when it went corporate and cut loose the "unnecessary" real, live customer service people about eight years ago.

Anonymous said...

From reinventingthenewsroom.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/dean-singletons-metaphor/At PaidContent.org,

Staci D. Kramer chats with Associated Press chairman (and MediaNews CEO) Dean Singleton about the AP’s Monday announcement that it’s going to … do something. (Seriously, that’s pretty much all the AP said.) What really jumped out at me from the back-and-forth was this Singleton quote: “I think print’s going to be important for a long time. Print is still the meat. Online’s the salt and pepper.”


Returns tend to diminish quickly in games of No, It’s More Like This Metaphor, but I can’t let that one go by, because it seems really off to me. Print is not the meat, and online is neither the salt nor the pepper. The news is the meat — print vs. online is a discussion of how the meat is raised, prepared, delivered and packaged, which is something totally different.

Gary Scott said...

Anon 12:53 AM: Amen.

Anonymous said...

Reserve "many" of the newspapers' in-depth and analytical stories...how many does he think his papers produce?

They are going to provide breaking news for free...like all their competitors online and broadcast that do it better and have more promotional savvy and technology investments.

This is the same crap he put in a memo to employees a couple of years ago...hasn't worked out very well. The business has had that combination for years. The possible exception is wireless mobile. You can't do it better, you don't have the tech folks, you can't compete with the big boys and girls. What the hell am I missing?

Anonymous said...

Lean Dean is a nutso machine. Who would want to pay for online content when talented reporters that are left within LANG wasted working on lame dailies? Who would pay for online content when it takes forever for the websites for the DN, the San Gabe Trib and others to load? Sorry, but the management in place is not equipped to inspire their newsrooms to produce quality stories readers would want to pay for. It's all about quantity now, and what's being produced in all those papers can be found anywhere else. It's sad, because there's some really good reporters, who can also write, at some of the LANG papers. They are the only reason why readers even pick up the paper anymore.

Anonymous said...

Quality and quantity have long left the building at his newspapers. The chance of enough mass that will purchase is less than peace in the middle east. He can make a living, keep his ego pumped up, but he will never play with the big boys and girls online. I'd like to do the math on his Yahoo deal. How is that print recruitment revenue going since you inked that contract?

Before I hear it would have gone away regardless...not as fast and you would have been able to have a viable print component.