It’s the Ownership, Stupid

Pulitzer Prize winner Jerry Kammer, in an interview with John Temple:

The closing of Copley’s DC bureau
(which at the end was the bureau of Copley’s flagship paper, the San
Diego Union-Tribune) means that San Diego has no eyes to concentrate on
its congressional delegation in DC. It means the paper would have
missed the Cunningham scandal had it developed a few years later. But
there are some fine reporters and editors who remain in San Diego after
the brutal downsizing. I’m pulling for them. I’m also pulling for my
old colleagues at the Arizona Republic. We had a great I-team there,
back in what we Old Timers will always think of as a golden era, when
we had a sense of mission and the money to carry it out. But that era
started to fade well before the recession, craigslist and the
Internet-writ-large began tossing neutron bombs into the newsroom. When
Gannett bought the paper, they turned Arizona into a colony. As history
shows, the purpose of a colony is not to provide for the well-being of
the natives; it is to generate profits for the home country, which in
this case was Gannett corporate headquarters. In the relentless pursuit
of a greater return on investment, they siphoned off resources that had
previously been spent on reporting, on making the paper the ARIZONA
Republic and not just the Metro Phoenix News You Can Use If It Doesn’t
Piss Off the Real Estate Industrial Complex. (Thanks for that name to
Jon Talton, the tremendously talented columnist let go by Gannett
because he kept on pissing off the REIC). The staff suffered layoff
after layoff, and the quality of the paper declined in tandem.

There’s nothing stopping newspapers from being great except newspaper owners.

Via Romenesko.


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