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Welcome to the newspaper world, Auburn Plainsman

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by times38, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. times38

    times38 Member

    College newspaper calls for firing of business manager, hilarity ensues:

    http://www.theplainsman.com/front/2009/feb-12/plainsman_dying_and_we_thought_you_should_know

    It's my understanding they used about 40% of the front page, above the masthead, in the print edition for this.
     
  2. pseudo

    pseudo Active Member

    Wow. Just ... wow.

    As you say in the hed: Welcome to the real world, kids.
     
  3. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    This is the same paper where a former editor wrote a column "interviewing" kingpin Bobby Lowder and used blank spaces in the body because he refused an interview.


    What a joke.
     
  4. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    For a group apparently interested in journalism, they apparently haven't been reading many newspapers themselves.
     
  5. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Yeah, my last paper didn't sell enough ads, either. I should have written something like this on my last day. Can the shithead business manager!!!
     
  6. bob

    bob Member

    Holy shit. That's totally unprofessional. Oh, wait. They're not professionals.
     
  7. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    I'm voting Davis for President and Houk for Ms. Auburn.
     
  8. housejd

    housejd Member

    I'm not condoning the action this paper took nor am I pretending to know what the entire situation there is, but just to play devil's advocate ...

    Isn't this, to a degree, putting blame where the blame should be? Newspapers have been operating under failed business models for quite some time now. While it's up to the entire organization to work through the down time and come up with innovations that will help the industry survive, shouldn't those in charge of financials take the brunt of the blame for failing to move quickly enough?

    I don't know if it's comparable, but I've watched the business side of my shop flounder through this time, too, refusing to sit down, evaluate where its at and find ways to improve. Meanwhile, the news side has flourished, keeping circulation steady while developing a Web site that is seeing ever increasing viewers. Yet the news side is the one that suffers most with a decreasing news hole and more significant cuts.

    Again, I don't know all the details at Auburn. It sounds as if the news side is a bit behind the times, too. But I do agree with them on one point. College shops are a place to learn, and when failing business models threaten that environment, maybe it is time to act drastically.

    Just throwing that out there. I do think they could have handled it better. But hey, maybe they are really desperate down there.
     
  9. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    Look, the business model newspapers have operated on is unsustainable. We've seen it first hand with the number of newspapers that have gone under or have hemorrhaged staff over the past few years.

    However, you never air your company's dirty laundry in public. Never. I don't care if the staff doesn't see a dime of money from their work at The Plainsman. If they want to become professional journalists, they damn well better act like they're professional journalists right fucking now.

    Blaming lack of coverage on lack of space and blaming that lack of space solely on advertising and business practices is a copout. The saying "it takes two to tango" applies here. In a case of a precipitous decline in newspaper quality, on some level, the editorial side has also failed its readers. Editorial needs to own up to what editorial can control. The business side needs to own up to what business can control. Production, circulation, etc., same story.

    This column smacks of nothing more than whining about the economy and about what someone else is doing. If I were a rank and file reporter working for a newspaper whose editor did this, I'd be ashamed to call myself a member of its staff.

    You can do better, Plainsman. You must do better. But you must do better as a cohesive team. You're not going to do that by airing out everyone's dirty laundry this way.
     
  10. housejd

    housejd Member

    I totally agree with this point. If you don't have the space in the paper, you cover it online and you find ways to marry the two different mediums. It seems that's the area this paper can improve upon. It would be a much stronger argument if the paper's Web site was top notch along with a strong paper.

    Should they have written the column? Probably not. But should they tell the student body the paper may cease to exist as they know it in a couple years? I can see that being newsworthy.

    At least where I went to school, the college paper was one of the more recognized groups on campus. Probably in the top five most recognized names. Twenty thousand people picked it up every day. Were it to be facing such quick financial ruin, I'm not so sure that wouldn't be a story worth covering. Emphasis on story, not column.

    Had this paper done a detailed, thoroughly reported story on the struggle facing the campus media organization and given both the business and news side a chance to speak on the current industry struggles, I wouldn't see that as a problem.
     
  11. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    I think what most of us here find amusing is that they blame the business side for not selling ads ... and don't seem to recognize that falling revenues are an epidemic at every level of the modern media.
     
  12. times38

    times38 Member

    1. It's unprofessional for anyone, anywhere, to call out what amounts to a coworker like that.

    2. It's funny because these bastions of journalism apparently have no idea that newspapers everywhere haven't been able to sell ads.
     
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