We Made Things Suck and Now They Suck


Over the past year, the Cleveland paper has followed much the same plan that owner Advance Publications carved out in New Orleans and elsewhere: it reduced print delivery, shed staff through layoffs and buyouts, and saw the creation of a new, non-unionized digital company under the same corporate umbrella. The Plain Dealer Publishing Co. and the new company, Northeast Ohio Media Group, are separate entities, but both contribute material to the free website Cleveland.com and to the print newspaper, which saw its newsstand price rise to $1 this week.

I keep saying this, but it keeps being true: It’s not that newspapers were slow to adapt to the digital age. It’s that they were slow to adapt to the NEWSPAPER AGE. A basic understanding of any business is that if you make a thing more expensive and also shittier, people will not like it as much.

Unless you lie to them and maybe not even then.But hey, go ahead and give that a try!

“We are excited about the collaborative atmosphere that our new environment will provide for our Northeast Ohio Media Group employees,” Hogben said. “We remain committed to operating in downtown Cleveland and the newly renovated space is designed to showcase our digital capabilities and promote a culture of innovation and creativity.”

How does a new office … okay, look, I admit this website isn’t exactly the shiniest when it comes to … ARGH. Let’s take GrubHub. I have no idea what their offices look like. Maybe they’re nice. Maybe they’re somebody’s spare bedroom. What I do know is, from my phone, I order Thai food and it shows up at my house. The digital interweb machine does what it promises to do, without 5,000 pathetic Google ads or code that crashes my entire operating system, which is more than I can say for half the newspaper sites I try to visit.

Your “digital capabilities” shouldn’t require meatspace to show them off. As the commenters quickly point out, because as much as comment sections can expose all the world’s stupidity, they just as swiftly expose yours:

The only reason for keeping the PD reporters and NEOMG’s staff apart is that the newspaper reporters are unionized.

Maybe moving the editors responsible for layout etc. to the printing facility will improve the increasingly unappealing look of the print editions. I don’t know what would help improve the decline in the depth and breadth of reporting content.

In other words: SUCK LESS. Stop blowing smoke about how if you just had a better desk you’d be king.


2 thoughts on “We Made Things Suck and Now They Suck

Comments are closed.