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You are the media company CEO ...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Bubbler, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    ... what do you do to deal with the combination of a horrid economy and an industry that is, at best, in flux? How would you make it better for all of us? Could you do anything?

    Would you resort to some of things (paycuts, layoffs, furloughs) we've been subject to? Would you have a choice?
  2. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    First I would decline to take my $875K bonus for 2008 and hopefully I wouldn't even trumpet that act to remind the troops how many jobs it saved.
  3. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    I'd either sell for whatever I could get or I'd eliminate all the reporters and just run obits, press releases, community calendars and AP wire. Oh, and letters to the editor.
  4. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    I'd charge for online content

    By year's end, we be bigger than Google and Apple combined
  5. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    Page 3 girls.
  6. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    No furloughs. If the bottom line requires pay cuts, so be it, but no furloughs.
  7. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    Just curious, Playthrough - why is that? My company hasn't done either -- yet -- but if given a choice, I'll gladly take a week off without pay instead of a 5% pay cut, which is essentially working for a week without pay.
  8. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member


    Pretty much what I expected. Why not a serious answer? Like this, whether you agree with his solution or not ...

  9. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    I believe you have two scenarios.

    One is being constrained by a beancounter higher up telling you what to do.

    In that situation I would do my best to be fiscally responsible to the bottom line without resorting to layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts if at all possible. If they were mandatory, I would strongly push for publishing two weekend editions - Friday and Sunday - and everything else would be online. Those two editions would be previewing the weekend and Sunday would be in-depth reporting, columns and investigations. Advertisements would be a premium price.

    The other scenario is complete freedom to do whatever you need.

    In that case I would attempt to put as much money possible into the physical paper's coverage so it would make readers want to pick it up every day. More opinion and features, less AP wire of routine 24/7 results stuff on the 6 o'clock news or CNN-Google-ESPN. I would strive for "that series" that makes people crave the paper. If space has to be cut, the announcements, honors, Business 'moves' and all goes online to make room for the real news.

    I would find the significant things in my area and create beats for those, with experienced and educated journalists covering them in-depth. Those would depend on the geography, of course, and business focus. In short, I would try to create a newsroom where journalists wanted to hone their craft without having to shoot video, Twitter, blog, create podcasts and 18 other things, and readers embraced those journalists and their work.

    Staff members who did not either scenario ... I'd fire their asses in a heartbeat or move them elsewhere. Get with it or get out. That's just the way it is. If you've been here two years or 32 years, it's time to change. If I could fire them and re-hire someone, all the better.

    But that's all a pipe dream. Fucking industry as we know it will be dead in three years, Sam Zell's 'innovation' leaders will be ready to reinvent and then kill the Internet, and lawyers will be having a field day with libel suits from Citizen Journalists.
  10. You cannot improve your financial situation by diminishing your product. It's honestly that simple.
    If you haven't built up any capital, you may be headed for bankruptcy, but you're just making things worse if you're doing layoffs, furloughs, hiring freezes, cutting pages/sections, etc. To me, those moves just make it even less likely you will ever recover.
  11. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I think part of the problem is that companies play follow-the-leader and do what everyone else is doing -- furloughs being one fad that has been seen before, but not nearly as widespread. Instead of treating their companies as unique entities, CEOs seek a generic solution because that is the safest route for them to take. Otherwise, they'll have the board of directors and stockholders hollering: "Furloughs! Why don't you do that, ya dumfuck? Everyone else is!"

    So ... depends. If I'm Tribune Co., with a lot of properties in competitive markets, I might not be the first to charge for online in those places, but then again, I might just say fuck it, someone's gotta do it. But in most other situations, where the newspaper is the dominant newsgatherer, you bet I would pull the plug on the freeloaders. (And I'd retain a slew of lawyers specifically to hound the crap out of anyone who steals our content.) I know the arguments against it, but I don't agree with them and you know what? -- those people haven't really been right so far.
  12. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys. Keep 'em coming.
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