By paulgillin | September 5, 2008 - 7:46 am - Posted in Facebook, Hyper-local, Paywalls, Solutions

The New York Sun, which was launched in the shadow of 9/11 with the mission of providing a politically conservative alternative to The New York Times, is on its last legs. An eloquent column by Editor Seth Lipsky says the Sun, which is published on weekdays, will have to shut down at the end of this month if the owners can’t find financial backing. Interestingly, the Sun tried to compete with the worldly Times by being hyper-local, a strategy that is sometimes cited as the salvation of the newspaper industry. “It would put Manhattan and New York state news on its front page (in contrast to the Times’ emphasis on national and international news over local issues),” reads a very good description on Wikipedia. While the paper claims a readership of 150,000, its actual daily sales are less than 15,000. Talks are underway with potential partners and investors to continue publishing the Sun, but time is clearly running short.

Crisis is breeding cooperation in Philadelphia, where Newspaper Guild members from the Inquirer and Daily News voted to forego a scheduled $25-a-week pay hike for at least a year. The owner of those two papers is in serious danger of defaulting on its debt. “We want to see this company thrive, now and in the future,” said the Guild’s administrative officer.

There’s a new group on Facebook called Newspaper Escape Plan. “The newspaper industry is an abusive relationship,” writes Martin Gee, who created the group. “We keep getting beat up but we keep coming back because we love him.” The group has signed up 1,300 members in less than three weeks. Discussion forums are quiet but the wall is busy. (via Robb Montgomery).

The weekly Raytown (KanMo.) Tribune is no more. The paper stopped the presses after 83 years, citing the same pressures everyone else cites. Most of its 11,000 circulation was free, but there were a couple of thousand paid subscribers. If you want to see something depressing, take a look at its home page.

The independent Daily Orange campus newspaper at Syracuse University will stop printing on Fridays. However, its problems appear to be an exception to the rule. The president of the College Newspaper Business and Advertising Managers organization is quoted in this AP story saying that campus newspaper ad revenues actually rose 15% in 2007. Apparently, it’s all about focus.

Layoff Log

The Oklahoma City Oklahoman will cut 150 positions, beginning with an early retirement offer to 102 of its over-55 workforce and making up the difference through layoffs. The paper employs 1,100 people. The publisher noted that newsprint costs are up 40 percent.

The Providence (R.I.) Journal, which is often cited as an example of a paper that has thrived in a competitive market by staying true to its community roots, will lay off an unspecified number of employees. Owner A.H. Belo had hoped to avoid cuts through a buyout offer, but there weren’t enough takers. There’ll also be layoffs at The Dallas Morning News (50 jobs) and the Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise (30 positions).

The Missoulian of Montana will lay off four full-time and three part-time employees. No word on whether that’s a lot for Montana’s third-largest daily.

One of those employees is going to work for the Ravalli Republic in Hamilton. But the Republic is also laying off three full-time and three part-time people. But it’s also planning to make another newsroom hire in the next few weeks. Which is a lot to digest for an organization with only 17 employees.

Clarification on yesterday’s reference to a vaguely worded item in Editor & Publisher about the Raleigh News & Observer: The paper is offering buyouts to 40% of its employees. It doesn’t expect to cut 40% of its staff, although it may get there if business doesn’t improve. “We’re not anywhere near where we thought we were going to be on the revenue side,” says the publisher. The N&O is also consolidating some sections to save on printing.

And Finally…

How will technology innovation support journalism and participatory democracy? Heck, we don’t know. We’re just a blog. But the Media Giraffe project will delve into that issue at a conference in Philadelphia Oct. 23-25. It’s called Rebooting the News, and the focus is on how educators can respond to the alarming flight of young people from traditional news media. Registration is downright cheap at $105.



This entry was posted on Friday, September 5th, 2008 at 7:46 am and is filed under Facebook, Hyper-local, Paywalls, Solutions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments Off on TGIF 9/5/08


  1. September 5, 2008 @ 5:46 pm

    It’s the Raytown (Missouri) Tribune actually…you know, where Mama’s Family used to live!

    Posted by Jethro