Newspapers Don’t Understand How Newspapers Work

God, THIS: 

 Newspapers cut the physical size of the paper, reduce pages, eliminate syndicated features, cut the reporting staff, severely limit the hours for delivery complaints/problems and then ask for more and more and more money.

At the hotel management company my oldest son and I founded eight years ago (and he still runs) when we raised prices we not only gave you something — nicer towels, better shampoo — we told you about it to make sure you knew you were paying more for more.

At newspapers for a quarter century or more it has been more for less, a strategy that must fail.

Plus insulting the customers you do have, and implying anyone else who might someday be your customer is a fucking idiot who can’t read. Astonishing to me that this isn’t a winning strategy.


5 thoughts on “Newspapers Don’t Understand How Newspapers Work

  1. “First, I was forced to cancel nearly all of my newspaper subscriptions because newspapers can’t seem to get their products reliably and competently delivered. I’m down to the Sunday New York Times, and I’m on the verge of canceling that one, too. And I’m somebody who *wants* daily newspapers delivered to my door. I’d still be getting four or five daily papers if circulation departments weren’t managed as if by chimps.”

    Jeebus effing Christus, circulation has *always* been this way. It’s always been chimps, leading blind chimps, and letting hyperactive junior chimps throw rolled up newspapers at homeowners’ property. If cuts were necessary, circulation was always right beside writing as the first line of bloodletting. If readership took a dive, it was always circ’s fault for not pushing their minions into going door-to-door. If your progeny or sister’s family couldn’t write (or count past 10), they could always work in circ. Bitching about home delivery in twenty-frickin’-fifteen is about 50 years too-damn late.

    Is it any surprise that the same behaviors are present in the electronic version of delivery? Guy I work with now in the University used to manage web content systems for the daily until 2013 when he finally quit from stress and overwork. He’d been steadily heaped with making up the difference in technical staff as they were terminated for budgeting or transferred somewhere else to work harder. His management changed every 6 months and became more remote each time. Systems were patched, never improved. His training was on-the-job, never formal or in-depth.

    Driftglass wrote a great analogy yesterday about the media as your brother’s dilapidated ’85 Camaro, and how Stewart acted as a Big Ass Screwdriver to keep it running for 15 years, when the media/Camaro wanted to nothing more than lay down and die. It’s become clear that news has been on an extended death spiral as it’s various gold mines – including cheap labor – have dried up.

  2. Bitching about home delivery in twenty-frickin’-fifteen is about 50 years too-damn late.

    In my defense, I have been bitching about it since 1995. Circulation, distro and marketing are the places where serious investments could really turn newspaper companies around, but they keep doing all of them on the cheap and then professing ignorance of why everything sucks so much.

    See also “why doesn’t the entire Internet know about my web site by magic,” for a modern-day example.


    1. That’s why I keep comin’ back, A. That was addressed to Romanesko, whom should damn well know better. I think he gets it – media, particularly newspapers, are ridden with incompetence all the way through, just not in editorial and circulation. But his post obviously hit the wrong points in my reading.

  3. We had great home delivery in the Chicago suburb where I grew up. in fact, a couple of years ago I ran into the guy that still ran the distribution office at a bar. When I told him my name, he said, “Oh, yeah, you lived at…” and rattled off my family’s old street address, more than 20 years since my folks subscribed to the paper or lived there. So, there are still people in newspaper delivery who give a shit about doing a good job.

    My biggest gripe about newspapers these days is the piss-poor performance of their websites. They are so clogged up with intrusive, obnoxious adware. Pop-ups all over the place, including those that deploy when you simply roll your mouse over them. Video ads that start playing and can’t be stopped. All this crap makes my browser practically grind to a halt. I’ve sent emails pointing out that I will NEVER buy from any business who uses these marketing strategies, and subscribing in order to bypass the ads is (to me) extortion. I have yet to receive a response.

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