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Monday, August 11, 2014

Not law - "Print Is Down, and Now Out Media Companies Spin Off Newspapers, to Uncertain Futures"

Not law but interesting. David Carr writes today in his weekly NYT column, The Media Equation:

A year ago last week, it seemed as if print newspapers might be on the verge of a comeback, or at least on the brink of, well, survival. * * *

Turns out, not so much — quite the opposite, really. The Washington Post seems fine, but recently, in just over a week, three of the biggest players in American newspapers — Gannett, Tribune Company and E. W. Scripps, companies built on print franchises that expanded into television — dumped those properties like yesterday’s news in a series of spinoffs.

The recent flurry of divestitures scanned as one of those movies about global warming where icebergs calve huge chunks into churning waters. * * *

At Gannett newspapers, reader metrics will drive coverage and journalists will work with dashboards of data to guide reporting. After years of layoffs, many staff members were immediately told that they had to reapply for jobs when the split was announced. In an attempt to put some lipstick on an ugly pivot, Stefanie Murray, executive editor of The Tennessean, promised readers “an ambitious project to create the newsroom of the future, right here in Nashville. We are testing an exciting new structure that is geared toward building a dynamic, responsive newsroom.” (Jim Romenesko, who blogs about the media industry, pointed out that Gannett also announced “the newsroom of the future” in 2006.)

The Nashville Scene noted that readers had to wait only one day to find out what the news of the future looks like: a Page 1 article in The Tennessean about Kroger, a grocery store and a major advertiser, lowering its prices.

If this is the future — attention news shoppers, Hormel Chili is on sale in Aisle 5 — what is underway may be a kind of mercy killing.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 11, 2014 10:03 AM
Posted to General News