Five New York newspapers have banded together to exchange content in the largest such arrangement since the share-nicely craze began last year. The new group includes The Record of Hackensack, New Jersey, The Star-Ledger of Newark, the Times Union of Albany, the Buffalo News, and New York Daily News, which apparently organized the party.
Members will “assist each other in gathering news, sports and features materials, giving our readers access to more and expanded content from the top newspapers in each of the respective markets,” said Marc Kramer, CEO of the New York Daily News, in a very prepared statement.
No details were forthcoming, but the group issued a press release quoting top editors at all the participating papers making head-slapping “Why didn’t we think of this earlier?” statements.
The regional consortium trend was kicked off last April, when a group of five Ohio newspapers began posting all their daily stories on a private website where editors could pick and choose whatever they wanted. The Baltimore Sun and Washington Post are among other newspapers that have banded together in this way.
There was immediate speculation that the New York consortium was an excuse to lay off more newsroom employees. However, announced cutbacks at the Ohio Five haven’t been any greater than at other newspaper companies. The handshake deal is more likely aimed at setting members free from the Associated Press, which has been an industry whipping boy for the past year because of its license fees.
We’re interested in what you are seeing. If you subscribe to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Columbus Dispatch, Toledo Blade, Cincinnati Enquirer and/or Akron Beacon Journal, please leave a omment and tell us if you’ve seen any noticeable difference in quality since those papers began sharing stories nearly a year ago.
State Aid and a Posthumous Polk
Publishers from the state of Washington pleaded with legislators for a special tax break yesterday, saying the severe recession has dealt a body blow to their already shaky business model. “Some of us, like The Seattle Times, are literally holding on by our fingertips today,” said Times publisher Frank Blethen, who presumably was not literally holding in by his fingertips at that very moment.
Publishers appeared before the state senate Ways and Means Committee to support a bill that would give them a tax break through 2015. While the measure would cost the state about $8 billion, lawmakers appear willing to help. The bill has bipartisan support.
In an ironic demonstration of the seriousness of the problems in Seattle, the Times covered the story with AP wire copy.
Speaking of Seattle, the Post-Intelligencer may become the first newspaper to win a major journalism award posthumously. Mark Fitzgerald reports that Eric Nalder, the P-I‘s chief investigative reporter, has won a George Polk Award for his two-part series “Demoted to Private,” about waste by government military contractors. The P-I is due to close March 15 if a buyer can’t be found, meaning that at the April 15 ceremony, the award may be bestowed on a newspaper that no longer exists.
P.S. The Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild will hold a meeting next week to see if it can rustle up enough enthusiasm to initiate an employee buyout of the P-I. In more robust economic times this idea might stand a chance, but it’s hard to believe employees are going to dig into their depleted savings to buy a money-losing operation.
Having already laid of 12% of its staff if 2008, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is now freezing wages and may impose a one-week furlough. Print revenue was down 10.4% in the fourth quarter and “We’ve seen that deterioration accelerate in the first weeks of 2009,”said publisher Betsy Brenner.
Journal Register Co.’s mass execution of scores of weekly newspapers got little media coverage because not that many people will miss the Millbrook Round Table. But an unsigned editorial in the Odessa American delivers a poignant message about the impact a local weekly’s closure has on a community.
A blog called Brazosport News has word that the Houston Chronicle is about to cut 10% of its staff. It even has a memo from the publisher saying so. We can find no coverage of this story anywhere else.
Yes we can. We just found it on Twitter. And if you came here looking for breaking news about the latest layoffs and cutbacks, you’re wasting your time. This is a daily blog, which is so last year. Instead, subscribe to The Media is Dying on Twitter. This anonymous microblogger is so speedy at documenting gloom and doom that he/she puts Romenesko to shame. Fortunately for Romenesko, he gets more than 140 characters.
This entry was posted on Thursday, February 19th, 2009 at 7:49 am and is filed under Business News, Future of Journalism, Layoffs, Local news, NewMedia, Newspapers, Regulation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.