Thursday, July 15, 2010

Arrogance leading to the decline and fall of newspapers

I am so tired of the hand wringing over the failing newspapers in the United States. I worked for newspapers for 22 years and I can tell you without the slightest doubt that the major reasons you read about in every tearjerking story over their decline and fall are only symptoms and come nowhere near to accurately describing the disease.

Newspapers are not failing because they gave away their product for free over the Internet.

Newspapers are not failing because a younger generation does not want to read and has more interest in social networking and video games.

Newspapers are failing because of the arrogance of the people who are running them.

I am not talking about the editors and reporters on the front lines. They are playing with the meager hands they have been dealt. The problem is at the top- the companies that decided it was more important to squeeze every last cent out of the newspapers without putting any quality back into them.

Companies like GateHouse Media, which I worked for when it was known as Liberty Group Publishing bought up one newspaper after another, chose center production hubs and eliminated jobs in communities without doing anything to improve their products. News staff sizes were cut drastically, production jobs eliminated entirely, while all the while company executives boasted of an improved product. Usually, this improved product consisted of a redesign, some advertising initiatives, and more special sections and niche products than can be counted. And that devotion to outside products cut down on the quality of the daily newspaper.

In small communities, obituaries, wedding anniversaries, engagements, births, all of which had been considered news in the past, were now just sources of revenue. If a family cannot afford to pay outrageous prices to a newspaper during its time of grief, the loved one's death will simply go without notice.

And no one at the top of these newspaper chains was able to figure out they were creating a disconnect between the community and the newspaper. Newspaper owners of the past, most of whom lived in the community, were smart enough to know that membership in the Chamber of Commerce and sponsoring a fireworks display or a concert (or more likely some kind of business expo) only reached one segment of the community and not a big one at that. It doesn't matter how much time you play footsie with the business community if you are not reaching their potential customers. Each time newspapers cut back on news coverage, or charged for it, they lost more and more of those potential customers.

Are there any signs that anyone at the top of the newspaper chains recognizes this problem and is doing anything about it?

Sadly, no. If anything, the companies are headed in the opposite direction. Instead of putting more money into their news products, newspapers continue to create niche products, each of which brings in some revenue, but do nothing to stop the hemorrhaging taking place in the core product. More attention is paid to the type of national celebrity news that readers can and will find more easily on the internet. What they usually will not find on the internet is the local news they need.

And the practice of centralizing production and cutting jobs continues. If even some of the savings that the newspaper chains realize from these moves were put back into the journalistic product, there might be something to say for them, but that is almost never the case. All it does, is improve the company's bottom line, cut more jobs, and slash even more ties to the local communities that eventually will determine if the newspapers are going to survive.

The most recent move of this sort was announced this week by Gannett, the country's most powerful newspaper chain. As I noted Tuesday, Gannett is centralizing pagination at five hubs across the country, and considering the company has nearly 100 daily newspapers, that means a number of people will receive pink slips in the near future, affecting every local community Gannett is supposed to serve.

While Gannett and other newspaper chains cannibalize their own products in search of every nickel they can find, the long-term health of those very products is being sacrificed for short-term profits for stockholders and a killing for the executives who are destroying the foundation on which their companies were built.

In the March 18 Turner Report, I noted the massive bonuses Gannett CEO Craig Dubow and other Gannett executives have received while cutting jobs and forcing employees to take two weeks of unpaid furloughs:

In a proxy statement filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gannett, owner of USA Today and daily newspapers across the United States, including the Springfield News-Leader, announced more than $2.1 million in bonuses for its five top executives, including $1,450,000 for CEO Craig Dubow.

And while Gannett employees have to wonder if they will have still jobs and have to take meager severance packages and/or unemployment pay when they are fired, Dubow and his fellow executives can wreak havoc with others' lives while being guaranteed they will not face similar upheavals:

And while many Gannett employees were shown the door to help the company's bottom line, Dubow has no needs to worry on that account. If he ever leaves the company voluntarily, it has already invested nearly $9.6 million for his pension, he has nearly $6 million in stock options, and more than $3.8 million in restricted stock units, for a total of $19,312,688, according to the proxy statement.
After Dubow leaves the company, he will have medical coverage paid for life, home computer assistance for three years, use of the company plane for the same amount of time (though he will have to reimburse Gannett for that), use of an office, secretarial assistance, for a total of $47,000 worth of perks.
If for some reason, the ownership of Gannett changes hands, Craig Dubow is guaranteed $39 million under his contract, with the other top four officials guaranteed a combined $48.5 million, for a total of $87.5 million.

Please don't blame a fickle readership for the rapid disintegration of newspapers in the United States and don't consider using taxpayer money to prop up this cadaver so it can pillage our communities for more profits and provide little of substance in return.

Readers only left newspapers because the newspapers left the readers.


Anonymous said...

Well said Turner. Well said.

I went back a few days and reviewed what someone wrote.I got a chuckle out of it, and believe it to be true.

"Have you seen the News-Leader lately? It has no local character in any of the content. Some type of page lifted from USA Today is stuck inside and the news is whatever comes down the pike from who knows where.

There are not enough pages to wipe with. I mean we are talking about a thin newspaper in more ways than one.

I was told the delivery route that serves me has gone from over 900 daily deliveries from subscriptions two years ago to 86 today. WOW! And I don't mean Wonders Of Wildlife.

It is sad for our city but I must say from some of the stupidity over the last 20 years on editorial content, the chickens have come home to roost and they too are crapping on the NL."

The News-Leader at one time had 'Randy Turner' like folks out and about getting facts and reporting them. Now they are only interested in a return for the share holders, and that ain't much, if anything.

Flyswatter said...

Most of what Turner says is correct: Big Media decided to skim everything from off the top for theysselfs and put nothing back in at the local level. As a result, fewer people read the lie-papers, preferring to get what they think the criminal regime wants them to hear from the TV or major media on the Internet. Then for agreement on what they want to think, they have their choice of bloggers, forums, and web pages. Thus people have chosen their own media of choice and the end result is fracture and Balkanization as everyone finds out what he wants to believe is true.

But Turner lies about how the 'good ol' daze' of how it was good when Turner and Turner clones/clowns ran things. Essentially Turner was a liar and bully who abused his power as an editor, and then Turner ran afoul of someone much like him on the Right, and in the commotion of a libel lawsuit, the publisher/manager of the local paper was able to ship Turner out on his ear, and thus end Turner's career of shoveling liberal BS to a discerning audience. Of course now Turner is now shoveling his offal to a captive audience. Sooner or later the parents and taxpayers will stop supporting Turner and his fellow corps of parasitic liberal nitwits, and funding will follow children as the best parents take out their progeny and the taxpayers can't support the pub[l]ic skrewels.

Actually, I love seeing all the pain and hurt as clones of Turner lose their jobs and professions essentially lying to anyone stupid enough to read these lie-papers. So it is nice to see what is going around coming around to liberal idiots who advocated exactly what they ended up getting. But now that the effects of globalism and centralization and political correctness is coming around to them, commences now the puling and moaning concerning how they have been downsized and terminated and hung out to dry with the rest of the garbage.

All of the former pillars of society have been picked apart by people like Turner, first in the major media and now in the public school system. Now these parasitic termites find out that the mound in which they lived yet picked apart is falling down, and they whine that when they wanted the social order to fall apart, these silly silly fools never thought that they would be caught up in it.

Turner whining about the management destroying the major lie-papers is akin to a maggot lower on the totem pole whining about the fatter maggots living at theys' expense on a declining carcass. Maggots have no loyalty to anything other than theysselfs, and cannot understand how they had anything to do with the way things have come about due to their own misconduct.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Flyswatter - not because I believe everything you say, but because you say it. He will never figure this out, but Randy Turner isn't the great sage and "knower of all things" that he wants people to believe. And it scares the living daylights out of me to think of him teaching children...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, perhaps you would have been better off if you had Mr. Turner as a teacher since you appear to agree more with Flyswatter, which appears to be another pseudonym for Martin Lindstedt.Mr. Turner isn't always right with what he says, but his honesty and integrity have never been questioned by anyone with intelligence.

Anonymous said...

I had the original post on this thread. Don't let me mislead you. I would not want Turner to be in charge of anything.

But with good bossin' from someone else, he did an above average job of getting the facts and reporting them.

That's all I want at the N-L. A little effort, local contact and honesty.

That said, I'd guess the N-L is preparing to make a fool out of themselves in the Congressional race.

Flyswatter 2 said...

The problem with a drone like Turner is that after those who actually had to deal with Turner's causing the Carthage Press to be hated and despised because of Turner's sanctimonious stupidity -- which other drones like Anonymous @ 1:40 claim is "honesty and integrity" -- turfed Turner out on his ear, this drone immediately glommed onto the other maggots' paradise of the pub[l]ic skrewl system, wherein more self-righteous maggot drones are programmed to be nothing more than consuming excreting animals in a declining system about to collapse hated by both its subjects foreign and domestic.

Yes, the public school system needs to be defunded and its captive audience of institutionalized children set free of the likes of Turner. Last month, Turner was shrieking like a maggot deprived of new fodder over Glenn Beck telling the Tea Partyiers that they need to take out tax money as well as their children from the pub[l]ic skrewls. Turner then yapped about how the current regimen of drone-programming just had to continue because otherwise . . . . liberal drones like Turner would be out of a job programming more worthless drones like Turner.

In a free society, Turner and Turner's army of murmuring mattoids would be free to publish whatever they wanted, and to create as many other mattoid drones as they pleased -- at theys' own expense. The children of ordinary citizens do not belong to them, nor does tax money from their parents or anyone else.

Thus Turner can of course publish his blog and, admitting that Turner has lost the public debate on his own blog, Turner can block commentary at [s]will, and thus admit that he never was or is able to deal with free men able and willing to think for themselves. Of course Turner and his sock-puppet ass-clowns routinely threaten to declare their moral and intellectual bankruptcy by closing the comments section whenever hearing a disparaging word from hostile readers with their own opinions upon whose minds pub[l]ic edumacation didn't take much hold.

As a way to get from the current degenerate state to freedom, private school vouchers, cutting property taxes, and closing down marginal schools, limiting taxpayer-funded public education to three years from the ages of ten to fourteen for the purpose only of teaching the Three-R's or reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic, closing down and privatizing higher edumacation by closing state universities and abolishing the state-sponsored accreditation and licensing systems (which have the sole process of limiting education and training to politically connected parasites) and any other measures to separate schools and the State.

We have an Internet system to use as a library and a school. We simply don't need drones like Turner and Turner-like drones to function as toll-keepers any more. Since Turner and his fellow drones are no longer necessary at the local and regional level, let them be sent out to live in the real world, to either perish or to change their parasitical world-view and become actually productive people living on their own dime.

It also looks like quite a few people are less than enamored with Turner. That Turner needs adult supervision is the consensus, and the Management of the Carthage Press did, and the school board should, grow tired of bothering with someone needing such great amounts of moral and mental supervision to not run amok.

My point is that Turner and those like Turner idiotically insist that it is all management's fault, and not manning up and taking responsibility for theys' part in the collapse of local and regional lie-papers. They were the first at fault. Anyone able to think for himself got into the habit of going to the Internet to read their news. A parasitical Management eating their own seed-corn is finishing the process. But when the big maggots kill and eat the littler maggots, it is hard not to cheer when it is the littler maggots like Turner who are now finding out that what goes around to others eventually comes around to them.

Elizabeth Lundstrum said...

Okay, people Break It UP. This discussion was not an invite to neuter Randy Turner. This was a comment on the demise of newspapers. This is not a local issue- this is happening all around the country. I believe the New York Time is going strictly web based.

Don't get me wrong- I love newspapers. I like the physical feel for them and also the local reporters passionate views of their topics. I love magazines and paper books. For me and my generation. this will never be replaced by Kindles or e-books, or e- papers. But let us face the facts- the production of paper products has increased. Paying staff, selling copies, and distribution are sinking newspapers and publishers.

Also, I can read something on an internet news source at least 10 hours before it hits the paper. The internet has basically scooped the paper business.

The push by certain climate groups for "greener " practices by businesses has also hurt newspapers. Paper is made from wood, bleached with chemicals and than the ink is used. Disposal is expensive. Yes, you can recycle but many just want us to be a paperless society- "save the trees, save the earth".

My last point is that I know Randy Turner personally. You have not worked with him, had him as a teacher, had a child in his class, or even read his stuff. You read his blog for what? information, fun, to post petty insults? I am pretty much sure that you are exercising your first amendment rights by telling him your opinion (behind an anonymous post) but he is also exercising his. Get a life and read something else.....

Anonymous said...

It is simply not credible to say that "the editors and reporters on the front lines" are blameless when they are delivering center-left to hard left editorial content to a center-right country.

Flyswatter 3 said...

Betty, you might be the Head ReTard in the local Tard Corral known as the pub[l]ic skrewel system, but you are simply wasting your time trying to treat grown white men as one of your little idiot tards regardless of whether, judging by your ability to use the English language and ability to 'think' you must have put the 'Special' in Special Edumacation. If anyone needs to get a life, it is you, and for what it is worth I think that you are fit for nothing other than maybe drawing a plow when the Social Order goes down another few notches after the Great Collapse.

Like all drones and parasites in a declining System about to collapse, you seek to whine that this collapse is caused by the predators and parasites who are simply mopping up. The fact of the matter is that the inmates now run the asylum, and as a result the rest of us simply fled it, which is why we home-school our children and don't want to pay higher and higher taxes for you liberal idiots any more.

Turner and those like Turner essentially destroyed the lie-papers because the minute there was an alternative to getting the news of the day, we went onto the Internet, created our own blogs, web pages, and alternative media. We networked and created our own alternative media and schools of thought. We no longer need your kind any more. And thus, we sit and gloat while the former mainstream media is simply looted for what is left, leaving the former parasites who did the grunt work of lying and sleazing being left high and dry to starve.

Now insofar as whether we know Randy Turner better than you do, Liz. You think you know Turner better than we do because you are a drone parasite just like Turner is. Some of us have known Turner its entire life and despised Turner because Turner is a liar, coward and degenerate. Regrettably 'tolerance' leads to toleration of that which should have been eliminated when found. Turner wore away at the patience of the Carthage Press management and readers, and when an excuse was found to rid themselves of Turner, Turner was run off, chop, chop.

If I had a child 'under' Turner, then I'd be kicking up a fit to where that wouldn't happen, or Turner would be teaching children whose parents don't much care how they turn out -- which is the majority. In my father's day, critters like Turner wouldn't have been allowed to teach children in any case.

You parasites are like dinosaurs. You have recreated the world in your image with the result that the social order is on the verge of collapse and simply can't afford to keep you drones and parasites up any more. State and local governments have had to turn loose you useless, evil eaters. Just as the media is in terminal decline because nobody wants their product and a poorer population can't afford to pay the salaries, wages and pensions of the media, likewise nobody really wants you degenerate liberal idiots anywhere near their kids and no longer can pay high property taxes. As a result, soon enough most of you parasites will be out on your ears and out on the street.

Insofar as whether Turner decides to censor the comments section of his blog, if Turner wishes to admit defeat in the war of ideas, then fine by me. Turner never was one to allow free speech when he ran the local lie-paper, and neither are most editors. That's why none of us buy lie-papers anymore unless we are in it. Whatever Turner censors will doubtless show up in another blog in any case.

It definitely is a high-lite of my golden years to see what James Kunstler calls you 'Yeast People' dying off from the toxins from your own foul byproducts after a long decline and season of starvation.

No, Randy Turner and his fellow corps of liars in the media destroyed the foundations first. When us, the disgusted, found the Internet, we left and never looked back. Now all the moneymen are draining what is left in the corpse, nothing more.

Anonymous said...

All of you that are bitching about Randy Turner, keep this in mind...You do not have to read a single thing he has written, you are not forced to believe anything you don't want to. I'm not sure what you complainers believe in, but you are a typical bunch of Republican "againers". If you didn't say it or you don't believe it, then you are again it, and to you its obviously wrong for anyone else to think otherwise. Yep, I work in public and hear your kind every day. Most of them are also called "Baptists".
Now take after this, won't you say doesn't make one little bit of difference to me.

Flyswatter 4 said...

All of you liberal trough feeders who support Randy Turner keep this in mind . . . .

The responses to Turner's silliness involves arguing as to what has finished off the liepapers and mainstream media (MSM). Turner and Liz and the other fools want to blame the looting maggots which are cleaning off the bones off the corpse. Myself and a few others want to put the blame for the initial decline squarely where it belongs -- on Tuner and his corps of like-minded drones who made the lie-papers unreadable and not even remotely honest, triggering the first exodus of working white males and taxpayers who resolved to not pay to read lies aimed against their own interests. So along came the Internet and off went we. We formed our own media for which we pay nothing except if we want to support our own media with our own efforts. Now Turner and the rest of you liberal parasites are whining that since we don't need your kind any more, that we are taking our attention, children, and soon tax dollars elsewhere.

Something that you parasites only dimly understand is rushing up to bite you: The host -- us -- don't need the parasites -- you. You parasites, on the other hand, need us, and cannot prosper or even live when we close our minds, wallets, and doors to the likes of you. You all are parasitical drones surplus to society and thus are left to make it on your own.

Now to these realities, like all liberals you whine and say given the shambles of the New Reality facing you which you created and to which we reacted, "Well, I meant well!!!!" Which is a lie that you liberals tell in order to advance your parasitism in the first place. Your kind was always evil and stupid and vicious, and the end result will put paid to the likes of you.

So, again. Turner can at any time close the comments section to hostile commentary using any excuse Turner pleases. But in doing so, Turner declares moral and mental bankruptcy. And while I and the rest are sure that Turner might well think that he has no choice but to admit defeat, whining and sitting in a corner pissing hisself and having other liberal parasites pulling his finger is certainly no victory.