From the “sensitivity during hard times” file, this Virginian-Pilot headline: Pilot to lay off 40, but executives say outlook is brighter.
As the opening graf of Philip Walzer’s article attests, the layoffs “will be the third wave of job cuts at The Pilot in the past six months.”
Nevertheless, The Pilot’s financial outlook is brightening, said Maurice Jones, the president and publisher.
Combined, the newspaper and its associated companies turned a profit in the first quarter of the year, said Jones, who declined to disclose figures. March was The Pilot’s most robust month in at least a year, he said, with every unit recording a profit.
But the profits, Jones said, still fall short of the company’s targets, required to pay taxes and other bills and equipment costs, including the modernization of its printing press. That, he said, triggered the latest cutbacks.
MediaShift takes a look at an online print marketplace called MediaBids, which empowers businesses looking to advertise:
While the exciting part might be the way they sell ads by auction, the real secret sauce for hyper-locals is that Mediabids is a one-stop shop for getting quotes and buying print ads. All the exchanges are through their website. Another plus is that if there’s a snag in the purchase process, you’ll have MediaBids on your side to walk you through it. It makes placing advertising so easy that any publication that wants to build a relationship with small local businesses has an easy online purchasing system already in place.
I know what you’re thinking (cause I”m clairvoyant like that): “Not again. Not another post on how to save newspapers.” Ah, but this one is pretty darn good, tapping into the wisdom of 10 experts who offer advice on how to keep the presses rolling. Here are a few of the highlights:
On reinventing the core product:
Leonsis: [Develop] a core competency in ad sales so that the organization can represent other local media companies to build scale and create mini advertising.com-like businesses in each market.
On the audience for newspapers:
Mutter: Editors and publishers need to adopt a zero-based, market-driven approach to what they do. They need to learn to ask their readers and nonreaders what they want—and then respond creatively to the answers.
On the role of the print product:
Hall: Print is good at the things the Web is not good at—watchdog, explanatory, enterprise, narrative storytelling. The two media complement one another. One is the flowing river, changing constantly; the other is the rock on the shore, fixed and solid.
On reinventing the newspaper to work in concert with online offerings:
Posted in civic journalism, investigative journalism, news industry, Newspaper industry, newspaper websites, newspapers, newsroom layoffs, print advertising, Print Journalism
Tagged Alan Jacobson, Alan Mutter, Charlotte H. Hall, Howard Weaver, Ken Doctor, Newspaper Association of America, Newspaper industry, newspapers, online advertising, Online journalism, print ads, Ted Leonsis
Ah, much food for thought today. In his ongoing look at the transition from print to digital, Alan Mutter points out that traffic to newspaper sites is derived largely from readers of the print product:
One of the biggest reasons to question the potential for standalone newspaper sites has been identified by Greg Harmon of Belden Interactive, who since 2001 has polled 300,000 newspaper website users in 250 markets across the country.
In his work, Harmon has discovered quite consistently that fully two-thirds of the visitors to newspaper sites say they visited the site because they are readers of the print newspaper.
Jeff Jarvis — BuzzMachine guru, noted “Blog Daddy” and author of What Would Google Do? — thanks Mutter for doing the math, but offers this counterpoint:
Some papers simply cannot afford the cost of print now and so they’d better figure out life post-print or there won’t be any.
Not entirely irreconcilable positions, both with something important to say about the state of media today. Let’s revisit one of Steve Yelvington’s assertions, which inspired this post:
Posted in media criticism, media ownership, news industry, newspaper bankruptcy, newspaper cutbacks, Newspaper industry, newspapers, newsroom layoffs, online advertising, print advertising, Print Journalism
Tagged Alan Mutter, Ben Eason, BuzzMachine, Chicago Reader, Creative Loafing, Eric Deggans, Erik Wemple, Jeff Jarvis, Michael Miner, Newsosaur, Steve Yelvington, Washington City Paper, What Would Google Do?