These have to be the times that are trying Joplin Globe management's souls. As The Turner Report noted Tuesday, the Globe's brain trust has decided to eliminate BusinessWatch, the ill-conceived response to the creation of two business newspaper rivals. BusinessWatch itself, more than one reader has pointed out, was simply a repackaging of the Globe's Regional Business Report, itself a dismal failure.
Then we have the spectacle of a major story breaking in McDonald County, the arrest of the leaders of a purportedly cult-like movement, the Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church, but Globe reporters are nowhere in sight. The reason: The Globe has pulled out of McDonald County because it has received steep competition from Arkansas newspapers that have crossed the border. Meanwhile, newswise, it has been the Neosho Daily News that has pounced on a story (in the print media, that is) that one time would have been the Globe's from the start (especially when John Hacker was the McDonald County reporter).
Now the Globe has a problem with the Joplin Daily, which despite moving in fits and starts, is starting to make inroads. Globe management can't use the same tactic in dealing with the Daily that it has used with the business newspapers and McDonald County coverage.
They can't just eliminate Joplin coverage because it has competition, though I am sure they have found the thought tempting. Imagine the money the Globe could save by not having reporters covering Joplin. (And let's not hear any of you jokers out there saying it is already following that philosophy.)
The Globe responded to the Daily by putting forward the same tired idea that failed a few years back when they tried an all-Joplin weekly called the Joplin News-Herald.
I would love to have been at the meeting when the latest all-Joplin publication was created.
"Wait a minute," someone said. "Why don't we try a weekly with all Joplin news?"
"We did that," the answer came. "Don't you remember the Joplin News-Herald?"
"Oh, yeah," the dejected response came, then a smile formed on the man's face. "I've got it. We'll start an all-Joplin weekly and call it the Joplin Herald."
"You're a genius!"
Those must be some meetings they have at the Globe.
Consider the pattern:
The Regional Business Report fails, so when business news competition emerges, the same concept is trotted out, treated as if it is some master stroke, and the name is changed to BusinessWatch. It is dead in the water.
The Joplin News-Herald fails because readers quite rightly think they should receive Joplin news in the Joplin Globe, so the minute a competitor, the Joplin Daily, comes in, the same concept is trotted out, treated as if it is some master stroke, and the name is changed to Joplin Herald. It is still in business, but it is dead in the water.
The one thing the Globe doesn't appear to have tried is to put some money into beefing up their Joplin news and business coverage and putting it in the parent newspaper. Now with valuable reporters having already left the newspaper and others searching for new positions, the Globe is in serious trouble and their miserly, penny-pinching ways are not going to make the situation improve any.
The newspaper will survive, I have no doubt about that. I just hope it's worth reading.