Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Cutting Your News Hole To Spite Your Profit Margins

Tuesday Bloody Tuesday In Philadelphia Newsrooms
The latest newsroom reductions at the Philly Inquirer and Daily News are not of the nip/tuck variety. Rather, they're more from the slash/burn school.
Yeah, public companies are entitled to a profit, but the larger question of how much is too much in a down advertising market looms large.
Knight Ridder says the Inky and DN garner a profit margin in the low double-digits. Good, but not good enough for Wall Street. And yet the only solution is to eviscerate 16 percent of the already-shrunken newsrooms.
Cue the smoke and mirrors.
Sure, the Inky is far removed from its Gene Roberts glory days when long, enterprise reporting from far and wide was the norm, as the paper garnered prestige and prizes while becoming the 400-pound gorilla that followed its readers to the suburbs.
But fewer of those readers have appreciated those efforts over the years, giving the Knight Ridder brain trust fodder to get rid of reporters and editors with abandon.
It'll be interesting to see if readers will notice or care that there's less local news, more wire copy and fewer reasons to make either paper a must read.
But at least the papers will be more profitable, right?

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