Marty Edelston’s Idea Factory
Only book publishing may have a worse business model than print journalism. It’s been a bad month for newspapers.
* As well as 200 staffers being let go at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, news of the week included Le Monde in Paris axing 130, and the probable demise of the Journal Register Co. in New Haven, Conn.—which was summarily wiped off the New York Stock Exchange yesterday because of its “abnormally low” stock price.
* Newspaper shares are in the tank. At the end of this story you will find stock charts of the seven largest publishing conglomerates, which are not pretty.
* On March 28, Editor & Publisher reported the “biggest ad revenue plunge in 50 years—off 9.4% over the prior year.”
* Newspaper circulation has fallen an average of 10% in the past four years, with the Los Angeles Times off 20%, and San Francisco Chronicle readership down a gut-wrenching 30%.
* Last week, AngryJournalist.com was launched—a forum for newspaper people to bitch and moan anonymously. If you want a depressing read, plus a good reason never to hire an ex-journalist, start here.
Newspapers in hard copy are becoming vestigial as readers migrate to cable and network TV news, the Web, and BlackBerrydom.
For example, Ed Lind , my carrier, shoves roughly a quarter ton of newsprint annually through my front door slot at 4:30 a.m. every day—three newspapers for which I pay some $700 a year, plus a $100 Xmas tip for Ed, and read roughly 1/1000th of what I receive.
Is your business—or parts of it—becoming vestigial?
If so, what can you do about it?
Allow your people to spend time whining like those on angryjournalist.com, and your company is dead meat.
Instead, try I-Power.
The Chinese Wall
In the world of journalism, a so-called Chinese Wall exists between editorial people and their counterparts in circulation and advertising. For elitist editors and writers, to so much as acknowledge circulation and advertising is to whore—to compromise your journalistic integrity—even though these departments put food on the table and money in the 401(k).