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Texas Hearst "restructuring"

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by BrianGriffin, May 6, 2010.

  1. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    The Beaumont Enterprise announced today that its publisher, John Newhouse, is leaving. The story says it's part of a restructuring of the six Hearst papers in Texas.
    By restructuring, I'm going to assume it means shuffling people around and laying others off. I've heard all kinds of rumors of future changes with Texas Hearsts, including one that says Beaumont, which shut down its presses after Hurricane Ike, going online only (emphasizing that this was just scuttlebutt, nothing ever confirmed). Anybody hearing anything about what's going on over there?

    Interesting, tidbit, I'm told that the Enterprise, serving a market of about 385,000, has seen its weekday circulation dip to 29,000, about half of what it was some six years ago.

  2. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    The TDNA numbers for 2008 I have on my desk for Beaumont are 55,968 Sunday and 50,324 daily.
  3. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    Mondo Times says 45k, which if current, is a more normal decline from 50k in 2008. I'll check on where the 29k figure came from. Sorry for the confusion.

    Meanwhile, a Hearst memo out today names a new publisher for the Enterprise, who will also oversee the community papers in Midland, Laredo and Plainview (those publishers will answer to him). It's part of the creation of the Texas Hearst Media Group, which has a stated goal of "enhancing our opportunities for greater collaboration and idea sharing across the new Texas media group." That's the corporate-speak in the memo.

    I would guess this would mean things like certain beats being handled by one person for the group, etc. The memo doesn't get into specifics. That's the best news in there is there was no mention of job cuts, etc. However, I think it's reasonable to think that there will be cuts as they streamline their coverage.
  4. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    Here are the details:


    The circulation comes from in-house tracking over there. I don't know if the 2008 numbers are completely accurate, but you can track the latest circulation numbers weekly in the office.
  5. finishthehat

    finishthehat Active Member

    The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News already share their Austin bureau, fwiw, after cuts there.
  6. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    Yes, finish. That's true. And previous cuts already incorporated some sharing. I understand they have had problems with coordination with the sharing, hence this reorganization. It still seems like they may find some repetitive efforts they can cut though.

    The move does make sense financially. I think it's bad for overall coverage that, say, the Longhorns have one Hearst beat writer instead of two, but it does make financial sense.
  7. Riddick

    Riddick Active Member

    That 29k number matches what I found on ABC. Kind of startling considering the dropoff, if accurate.
  8. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    ABC numbers for Beaumont on 3/31/10 are

    Daily: 29,939
    Sunday: 33,082
  9. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    I do think the 2008 number quoted above may have been a little outdated for 2008. But I'm going on memory -- I think it was closer to 40k by then -- and not on having figures in front of.

    But I do think this is a classic cautionary tale of cutting without a plan. You cut your news hole, bam, circulation drops. You shut down your press, outsource printing and move your deadlines up to where you are struggling to just get high school scores in the paper IN TEXAS and bam, your circulation drops.

    Meanwhile, have you figured out exactly how you are going to monetize your online product? No? Then what the hell IS your plan? A fire sale?
  10. Riddick

    Riddick Active Member

    good point. almost forgot about their 10:30 deadlines. that's just insane.
  11. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    In Texas? That's crazy. No wonder their circulation is plunging.
  12. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    To be fair, the deadline is pushed to 11:30 on Fridays. But that's still way too early for high school football. And Saturday, what if the Horns and Aggies kickoff on primetime? You might get a score and a generic first lead from AP. Maybe. And forget Astros optionals (Beaumont's an hour from Houston).
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