Monday, August 04, 2008

Demise of Print Journalism


DISINTEGRATION OF PRINT MEDIA
Those of us living here in sunny, shaky Southern California have been living with a fairly new phenomena - watching the print media around which many of our lives revolve disintegrate before our very eyes.

ELECTRONIC IS THE CHOICE OF YOUTH
The entire industry is undergoing a cataclysmic shift, and not for the better. Electronic media, including blogs, have replaced the inky print media as the choice of many - especially younger - readers when they are actually looking for real news.

REGISTER SHRINKING
Here in Orange County we find the Orange County Register undergoing significant cutbacks as that fine, old newspaper struggles like most others to make a profit these days. It's a serious issue.

ZELL DESTROYING TRIBUNE COMPANIES
Of even greater concern to me is what's happening to the Los Angeles Times and it's subsidiary local newspapers in the Times Community Newspapers group, including our very own Daily Pilot. The Times is part of the Tribune Companies, which was purchased by Sam Zell last year. True to form, Zell and his minions are systematically going about some cosmetic trimming of the component assets before trying to unload the pieces for more than the sum of the total. It's a business model that has worked elsewhere in the past, but it's going to fail this time around.

ZELL - RHYMES WITH...
Zell, whose name rhymes with a place he's very likely to end up if you believe current and former Times staffers, tried to sweet-talk staff members in the early stages of his purge. It didn't take long, however, for his ham-handed cutting to take off. The Times newsroom - editors and reporters - is attempting to operate with half the staff it had a year ago!

JOHNSON GONE
I wrote in a recent entry about the departure last week of Daily Pilot publisher and General Manager, Tom Johnson. He walked away from a job he'd held for 15 years, 17 if you count a couple years as Associate Publisher. He was the heart and soul of the Daily Pilot and the six other newspapers he managed. His absence has left the remaining staff reeling.

LOBDELL'S VIEW
I was recently directed to a brand new blog by former Los Angeles Times newsman Bill Lobdell, who also was the editor of the Daily Pilot for many years. In his initial entry on the blog - "Lobdell's OC", HERE, he provides insight into the Los Angeles Times situation with the perspective only an insider can bring. I've also linked to Lobdell's blog over on the right side of this page, because I suspect his body of work is going to be "interesting", to say the least.

I FEEL THEIR PAIN
I agonize for my friends at the Daily Pilot and hope the slashing of staff will stop soon. Through all the turmoil that has been swirling around for many months they have continued to soldier on, trying to provide the best news coverage possible. In most cases, they have succeeded.

VIBRANT PRINT MEDIA ESSENTIAL

In my opinion, we need a strong, vibrant print news media, supplemented by innovative electronic siblings. If the print media just fades away we will be left with blogs like this as your source of news - a truly bad idea! Let's hope someone reads Lobdell's blog and decides that his ideas have merit - and moves forward to salvage what's left of the Times and others before they are gone for good.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Chuck Cassity said...

Geoff,

Thanks for the link. I'll check out what Bill has to say often. And his first posting was ENLIGHTENING, to say the least!

8/05/2008 02:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Terry Shaw said...

the register has not only shrunk staff/operations, but has literally shrunk the paper, it is now about one inch narrower than the times. i haven't measured for thickness.

8/07/2008 09:30:00 AM  

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