By paulgillin | May 11, 2009 - 9:53 am - Posted in NewMedia, Newspapers

Metro International S.A. of Sweden will sell its US papers to a company run by its former CEO. The deal includes papers in New York, Philadelphia and Boston. They represent a combined circulation of 590,000 and 1.2 million readers. The company has been on a campaign to reduce expenses, and the US operations have been consistent money-losers. Metro International operates more than 81 editions in 22 countries. CFO Anders Kronborg says he “doesn’t see any growth in the [US] market this year or in 2010.”

Newspaper Blogger Shares Stage with Publicists

Science and technology columnist Dave Brooks of the Nashua Telegraph has come up with a novel approach to generating material for his GraniteGeek blog on the paper’s website: He’s handing over partial control to the University of New Hampshire news service. The publicity organization will “post items about science and social science research at the university…directly on GraniteGeek whenever it wants (probably once a week), and I have no control over it,” Brooks writes. “That’s something that would have been unthinkable not long ago.”

It’s not unthinkable any more, though. “Slightly to my surprise, reaction in the newsroom has been uniformly favorable,” Brooks wrote in an e-mail to us. “I knew the publisher and online editor would like it, since it drives traffic, but even a reporter who I suspected would balk – he’s an uber-traditionalist when it comes to media ethics – thought it was fine, that it ‘added to the discussion.”’ Entries from the news service are clearly labeled with their source. Staffers are also apparently willing to accept the philosophy that “standards are different for news blogs that for newsprint.”

Miscellany

Christian Science Monitor editor John Yemma, who was one of the first print veterans to pull the plug on paper, comments dispassionately on new research that shows that consumers now prefer to receive information online rather than in print. Yemma also cites recent comments by investor Warren Buffett that he wouldn’t buy a newspaper at any price as evidence that the decline of print is unstoppable. “The man famous for determining fundamental value in a stock before investing sees none in this industry, despite beaten down share prices,” Yemma writes. “…In a hundred thousand individual decisions, readers touch off the process of creative destruction. And increasingly readers seem to be deciding that daily print and ink are unnecessary.”


In announcing pay cuts, reductions in health-care plan support and another buyout offer, the Newark Star-Ledger revealed that it now expects its advertising revenue for the year to be 48 percent less than it was in 2006.


A commenter on McClatchy Watch who appears to have some knowledge of what company management is thinking, says there are no more plans for staff cuts at the company. McClatchy realizes it cut too deeply in the last round of layoffs and has to focus on revenue growth instead of more cost reduction to dig out of its hole. Refreshing philosophy, if true.


The founders of Elauwit Media, a community media company based in Haddonfield, N.J. write of the decline of major metro dailies with not a small amount of pride. Their business is growing nicely, thank you, from $100,000 in revenue in 2004 to $2.4 million in 2008. The secret: “Everybody Gets It. Everybody Reads It.” In other words, stop charging subscribers. “Huge regional daily newspapers would do better to stop requiring people to subscribe and instead deliver the paper to everybody in their target demographic…If big newspapers would charge the advertisers, not the readers, they could still turn things around.” Why didn’t we think of that?


The San Francisco Chronicle laid off “more than a dozen top reporters” last week, according to a story on the local CBS website. There are few specifics, but given that the Chronicle is trying to cut its way from $50 million in annual losses to break-even, you can expect more to come.


Daniel Baum, who was fired from the New Yorker in 2007, is taking the very un-New Yorker approach of  tweeting the story, as well as details about the inner workings of the literary magazine. We doubt the New Yorker has ever said anything in 140 characters.

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