Boy, are some newspapers confused in attempting to deal with their changing fortunes. Like those in the Newhouse chain, for example. With some relish, perhaps, The New York Times reports on how one of the papers that Newhouse switched to three-days-a-week publication, The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, is now trying to reemerge in a new form of "daily" publication. It's almost laughable how some proud old papers don't understand they now have to stand either with readers or advertisers (not absolutes, of course) and it had better be readers, day-by-day.
David Carr, The Times' reporter, writes with apparent relish on how Newhouse (via its Advance Publications subsidiary) has been conducting itself in New Orleans: "The company endlessly complicated what had been a simple proposition that has worked since the newspaper's founding in 1837: deliver a printed bundle of its best efforts every day for a fixed price. The new distribution plan (now that the Times-Picayune is returning to "daily" publication) is hard to explain, but I will do my best..."
"It's been a jaw-dropping blunder to watch," Carr summarizes as he runs out of breath.
"Newspaper publishing will never return to the 30 percent plus margins it once had," Carr observes, "but some people believe there is a business model. Warren E. Buffett thinks that a 10 percent return is reasonable, now that sale prices have sunk."
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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