Wednesday, October 7, 2009

For Singleton, it's back to print journalism

A few years ago, MediaNews Group was pushing the Internet as the future of its company. It looks like chief executive Dean Singleton has had a change of heart. Morgan McGinley of the independently owned New London, Conn., paper The Day, quotes Singleton at a recent National Conference of Editorial Writers as saying:
    "Some say newspapers have no future. Others say that print newspapers have no future, but that a pot of gold is waiting at the end of the rainbow for those who develop the right online newspaper models. Count me as one who believes that if there is no future for print newspapers, there is no future for newspapers. ...

    "There is not enough Internet revenue available to newspapers to support the overall mission of providing news and opinion to the customers we serve. … If print is not a part of our future, then there isn't enough revenue online to provide that future.”

    ”Print must be preserved to provide us any future. And it can be.”
McGinley observed that this is a "somewhat surprising message from a publisher who has chopped editors, reporters and other employees by the hundreds from news organizations his MediaNews Group has acquired."

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think Dean is simply accepting reality. The awful truth is that NOBODY has yet figured out a way to transition a daily newspaper operation to a daily online operation....and make it profitable. The only way to currently make profits is through the print product.

If I ran a local newspaper, I'd use the Web site as a tool to get more PRINT subscribers, not the other way around. For years publishers have been throwing everything online, hoping to someday see profits. It's not happening anytime soon.

I want to see newspapers really push the idea that a printed newspaper delivered daily to your doorstep each morning CAN be more valuable and useful to people than an online version. There should be a vast advertising campaign pushing this "new" concept. Explain to younger readers why today's newspaper isn't the same as your father's newspaper. Explain the benefits of having lots of local news delivered to your door every day, news you can't find anywhere else (because it's local and because you won't find it on the Internet). I don't see that argument being made, and it's a shame.

Anonymous said...

What Dino needs to do is get away from regional newspapers. As one Trib reporter told me, everything nowadays at MediaNews Group is a little bit of news from everywhere and nothing really local.
The Daily Review, Argus and Herald are all bastardized versions of either the Trib or Contra Costa Times.
It might make it easier for the designers in Walnut Creek but it offers nothing for the readers.
As for this theory that google brings in readers to the newspapers, think again. More often, google refers the reader to a bootlegged copy of the story, not the real newspaper site.
And in reality, how many people actually click on those online ads? Didn't Reuters do a study which concluded that 25 percent of readers go online for their news and few ever click on the ad?

Anonymous said...

Um, first poster: What possible argument can you make to a 20-year-old to show getting news once a dead printed on dead trees is better than getting it online?

The next generation reads news. They are comfortable with the web, iPhones and laptops. They will get their news online, not from dead trees. That's reality. It's the future. Get over it.

Pat J said...

To poster No. 3, when you say "it's the future" remember back in the 1990s when everybody in the newspaper business was so excited about shifting their content to the web? Remember how all these newspaper companies made a big deal about adding ".com" to their name, as if that made them an internet company? And remember the newspaper titans like Tony Ridder saying that in 10 years, print won't exist -- all news will be online? One problem: These geniuses never figured out how to make money putting news online. They still haven't figured it out. But they traded one profitable business model for another that hasn't worked and won't work for the foreseeable future. As a result of this bad decision, newspapers that bet heavily on their websites are in ruin. All because they listened to people like you who said "It's the future." They were scared, thinking the internet would wipe them out. People make bad decisions when they're frightened. And, sure, 20 year olds will be able to get "news" in their PDAs. But fortunately 20somethings don't run the world. The people who do make big decisions in this world still rely on newspapers (along with other media, mostly traditional media) for their information.

Anonymous said...

additional to #3's comment:
newspaper is/hasn't been printed via using "dead trees".more like leftover woodchips from the home you live in through a chemical process.you wipe with more actual tree content.not to mention the hazardousness of in reality created of manufacturing...just about everything today. ahh,breathe in,now out that's your own contribution for which far exceeds your beliefs ! do your homework