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What should we do? Very serious question..

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by jason_whitlock, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. House

    House Guest

    Medium doesn't seem to be the issue with the stupid people I have run-ins with. They just don't care what's going on. No newspaper, no online, no TV. They are totally cut off. Well, maybe some celebrity rag they see at the grocery store.

    But I agree with you. I've often told my wife to find work outside of circulation because if the paper dies, there will be no need for circulation, press room, designers, carriers, etc. There will be four departments to fund (assuming advertisers can come up with a model to pay for this): editorial, IT, financial, advertising.

    And I'm just as guilty. I read many papers online because I want to keep up with what's going on where my parents live, places I may want to return to and put down roots, stuff like that. Absolutely no sense in subscribing to a print edition that is 2,000 miles away when I get it free online.
  2. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    And there's a name for those people: page designers.
  3. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Probably. But they won't be hired.

    (BTW, did you mean to make an error in that sentence? Nice way to make your point :D)
  4. Dude

    Dude Active Member

    The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette does a pay site for the Steelers and by all accounts it does well. And like you stated with the Packers and Cowboys lantaur, the "Stillers" have a very big following outside Western Pennsylvania.
  5. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    I'm not sure Rivals cares about being right, which makes it very hard to take seriously. They are in the business of generating a swirl of rumors, not educating or verifiably informing their readers. (For the record, I know one guy who works for Rivals; he has a modest journalism pedigree and is compensated far better in his new line of work. I don't know how many former journalists work for them, but I can't imagine many college writers being envious and beating down their doors. I labor under the impression that a lot of us got into this to actually cover games and competition.)

    Rivals has already declared bankruptcy once, in 2001. It's not like there's been some huge spike in recruiting interest in five years or that the Internet is a new frontier. The company is just much better run now.
  6. Just_An_SID

    Just_An_SID Active Member

    I would proceed in your current position but be aware of what is going on around you.

    For the last 25 years, ,my brother-in-law works in the shipping industry, arranging for containers to be shipped overseas.  He constantly complains about how things have changed, how customer service is no longer important and how the new people coming into the field have no idea of how things should be done.

    I keep telling him to learn how to change and keep up with what is going on and -- the most important thing -- STOP COMPLAINING.  He is a dinosaur with about a decade to go before he reaches retirement age.  When push comes to shove, he will be the one to be downsized unlesss of course, he gets with the program and learns to change.

    Translating that to the journalism field, I would suggest that you keep up with the trends and be open to new ideas.  Travel being eliminated/cut back at one paper isn't a rogue instance, it is a trend so you will need to adapt.  The internet is here to stay so stop being defensive about it and find ways to make it help you.  Business today is profit-driven so the good old days of having a family-owned paper (or chain) are over.  Corporate doesn't care why revenue is down, they have to answer to investors, etc. so their only concern is fixing the revenue problem.

    Most importantly, be a friend of management.  You can do this without selling out your souls.  I've never been a 9 to 5 guy and my profession all but guarantees that I will work a non-traditional schedule so I wince when I hear people complain about problems in their field of work and then insist on keeping a straight work schedule.  You don't have to work 100 hours a week, but if you refuse to go out of your way to help your employer because your work day is over, then you will eventually have a problem. 

    Keep up with technology.  If you are a beat writer/columnist, then you better be writing a daily/periodic blog for the website because that's what corporate wants.  Everybody laughs at some of the ESPN.com writers (the Chris Mortensen thread is a perfect example), but these are some of the people who saw the problems that were coming in the future and found a way to take advantage of the change and set themselves up.  Chris Mortensen -- good or bad -- is not worried about the changes taking place in the newspaper industry because he has set himself up with the ESPN on-air and website gig that each of you probably would beg to have.

    Good luck.
  7. Baloo

    Baloo Member

    And if worse comes to worse, you can always find a good cobbler and get re-soled. ;D
  8. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Hey, it was 3 a.m. and I was off the clock.
  9. Just_An_SID

    Just_An_SID Active Member

    I hope my momentary lapse didn't ruin your day.  
  10. VJ

    VJ Member

    Thank god we have copy editors at 30k circulation papers who have the readers best interest at heart when you spend 10 minutes debating comma usage.
  11. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    Hey, one of us has to have the "readers best interest" (sic) at heart, you know. And we know it's not the VJs of the world.

    And that's such an original non sequitur argument, BTW.
  12. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    A few years ago we used to wonder how we could use online content to complement our print content. I think in the not-too-distant future we'll be asking ourselves how we can use the print content to complement our online product.

    We need to start getting our basic stuff -- gamers, notebooks, etc, -- online quicker. Give readers a reason to check out our Web sites after a game. Some papers do this, and some do it to a limited degree, holding their full-blown gamers for print, but I think you need to get this stuff out there and to the readers ASAP. Then, put other stuff in the print section, more analysis, longer features. Stuff that readers would rather sit down on the couch or at the breakfast table to read instead of reading it off a computer screen. It'll be smaller, tighter to save on newsprint costs. A good mix of quick hits for commuters and such and longer, in-depth stories, be they features or enterprise or whatever. Include shorter versions of the stuff from the game that's already online, but leave room for other stuff.

    As for pay content, I think most sites should at least experiment with this, see what if anything they can do that would be popular. I think you'll be seeing more papers hiring guys to be primarily online reporters (The Oklahoman posted a job opening like this recently). You have to give readers something worth their money. That might cause us to have to rethink our standards a little bit, offering some trade rumors or signing rumors online that we would never put in print now. This stuff should be available in several formats -- long stuff to read online or print out, quick hits that can be sent on e-mail or to someone's phone.

    Also, we're going to become more truly multimedia, producing more video and animation online. Some will be to complement our print or online stories. Some will be completely independent of it, video stories developed just for the Web. We'll have podcasts with interviews with players and coaches or just opinion spouted off by talking heads (I think there's prep and college audiences that would eat this up in some states). Some of this will even be things that go up right after the game (interviews from the postgame news conference, for example). Some of this will be free for everyone, some will be part of the premium package we try to sell.

    The biggest question right now is resources for all this. Most papers won't be increasing the number of reporters they have on staff right now, so some will be reassigning duties. Guys who were beat reporters will go online. A lot will have to play double duty, change the way they think about things. Papers with two guys on a beat will go to one guy full-time and another who helps but does mostly Web stuff. Some will cut copy editors and designers to make room for an extra position.

    Some of this will happen sooner, some later, but I bet in the next 10 years or so this, and a lot of the other stuff that has been mentioned on this thread, comes to be.

    And (DP will love this) if you're a designer, either get damn good at your craft or learn some more skills. I think designers will be hard hit when it comes time to whittle down the staff, especially if sections do become tighter. No need for many of us on a staff if the paper is half to three-quarters the size it used to be.
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