Friday, September 28, 2007

Ridder disappointed by today's Merc

American Journalism Review, in a lengthy article about layoffs in the Bay Area newspaper business, says former Knight Ridder chairman Tony Ridder of Woodside still reads the chain's Mercury News every morning, but with a mounting sense of disappointment and sadness.
    "There's less there there ... Most newspapers are so incredibly important to the area they serve. Most of the great enterprise journalism is done by newspapers. They keep the government honest. They tell us about the state of the educational system. Who's going to do it when they no longer can?"
The AJR article by Paul Farhi also discusses the cutbacks at the Chronicle.
    From a practical standpoint, [Executive Editor Phil] Bronstein can see the advantage to the Chronicle in Singleton's editorial retreat ("It's a shame that their quality is dropping, but as a competitor I'm happy," he says). Yet he recognizes that this is a danger for his paper, too. "The problem is, you can get into a death spiral, where you're less and less effective each time you have to cut something," he says. "I can't tell you that that's where we're at now. But is there a point when you're no longer effective to readers? Probably there is. Is it a danger? Yes, it is."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Two errors in the AJR story

1. MediaNews is privately held, but its financial information is disclosed through the SEC like it were a public corporation.

Follow this link http://www.sec.gov/cgi-bin/browse-edgar?company=medianews+group&CIK=&filenum=&State=&SIC=&owner=include&action=getcompany

or if that doesn't work use this one and type in "MediaNews Group"

http://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/companysearch.html

2. AJR says, "After last year's deal-making, the two companies now control all of the 12 metropolitan and suburban papers in the Bay Area's six most populous counties. The lineup is simple: Hearst owns the Chronicle, and MediaNews owns everything else."

Not so simple.

Usually the Bay Area includes Sonoma County. That's where the New York Times' Santa Rosa Press Democrat is located.

What about the SF Examiner, now a free? Yes, it has become a conservative rag, but it's still publishing on a daily basis.

And what about the smaller independent dailies, like the San Mateo Daily Journal and SF Daily?
Bob Gamboa, Berkeley, b_gamboa_89191@yahoo.com