Sunday, July 01, 2007

Poor design, lack of inspiration

As one commenter noted, the Enquirer is shutting down its standalone publications Design and Inspire. This is a big setback for the Enquirer's attempt to forge a new business model. Publications fail for two reasons -- bad content, and inability to sell ads. They suck, and neither readers nor advertisers will bother with them. Read below Margaret Buchanan's spin on this. She pretends to give "reasons" for shutting down the publications, but it's corporatespeak and it's dishonest. In the first bullet point, she calls the publications "superb", but then blathers on about a need to reallocate resources. The fact is the Enquirer keeps trying to do stuff on the cheap, and poor quality leads to poor results. And layoffs -- three people lost their jobs.
To: All Employees

From: Margaret Buchanan

I want to bring everyone up-to-date on some developments happening in our organization, with specific impact on the magazine division.

Inspire magazine will cease publication immediately. There will be one more issue of Design Homes & Gardens magazine (August/September issue).

The reasons behind our decision:
  • While Design and Inspire were superb publications for a time and place, we must continually adapt our strategies and commitment of resources to keep up with changing times, shifting audiences and readership expectations.

  • Based on increasingly sophisticated research, we are finding more effective means of delivering targeted audiences. That’s where we need to focus our resources. We have made and will continue to make investments in new ways of delivering news and information, with stronger results and return on investment for advertisers. Examples of some of those new initiatives: CincyMOMS.com, enhancements to the Community Press & Recorder newspapers, the online Data Center, Our Town magazines, and other ideas in the development stages.

  • We need to be flexible and try new things to add to our core Enquirer and Cincinnati.com readerships. Design and Inspire, while high-quality products, duplicated much of our current strengths and did not add significant reach or frequency. The magazines were not delivering adequate return on investment for our advertising customers and were not delivering expected return on investment for The Enquirer organization.

  • Times change. We learn. And while I am proud of the work many of you associated with the magazines have done, we will be a stronger organization as we tighten our focus on a stronger core Enquirer and Cincinnati.com and targeted initiatives mentioned above.
Margaret Buchanan

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is time to stop being angry. Seriously, it is time to accept that there is NO newspaper and stop being angry because there isn't one. The Enquirer lost all of the endearing qualities of a newspaper a while back. If we all give up on the idea we should have a paper, a record and a voice and move on... maybe, oh maybe.. the voice will surface in a different way.

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bad timing on the decision to acquire the magazine. Gannett was asking its properties to diversify; the Enquirer chose first to go to the print market with acquisitions. It is true the Enquirer did try to do this on the cheap, and it was well known around Elm Street that something was wrong almost from the beginning.

Mystified by Buchanan comment that resources would be focused online and int he Enquirer. Tom Callinan has made it known he expects staff reductions of up to 50 percent over the next few years. And it would appear another round of staff turnover is about to begin, apparently driven by the ongoing lack of leadership in the newsroom.

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

50% reduction??? That is awful!

7:41 PM  
Anonymous A Concerned Reader said...

Anon 5:07 p.m.,

You say: "If we all give up on the idea we should have a paper, a record and a voice and move on... maybe, oh maybe.. the voice will surface in a different way."

Nothing that Gannett has "replaced" the traditional newspaper with so far is worth readers' time. The Enquirer cannot compete with TV and if people are seeking out additional content besides what they get from TV news, it generally means they want more depth and perspective.

Things like CincyMoms.com will hardly be the savior of Gannett's local operations.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 5:07 p.m. to Concerned Reader:

The Enquirer is only going to continue to take away from the core "newspaper" readership.

Isn't it time to give up and see where voices surface?

As much as I don't care for paper in my driveway or sidewalk, I appreciate the fact that my parents do. I am thankful that my parents have a far better newspaper than the Enquirer. When I go home, I look for the "silly" small town paper... it is a giggle, and fun. The Enquirer isn't.

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many stories is the Enquirer going to publish about how "perfect" the McCafferty family of Fort Thomas was (you know, before the wife put a pistol to the husband's head last week)? More ridiculous pandering to suburbia. CLEARLY this family was not perfect, NO family is, so let's stop with the redundant white picket fence crap.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet another reason why Gannett should invest in a new leader for Cincinnati as the ROI for her results continues to below expectations.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet another reason why Gannett should invest in a new leader for Cincinnati as the ROI for her results continues to below expectations.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Notice that none of the remaining publications or online sections named as getting "additional resources" is Cin Weekly, which hasn't come close to meeting its target audience projections and, from a content perspective, "sucks." Wonder if that's the next plug to be pulled.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Kevin LeMaster said...

"enhancements to the Community Press & Recorder newspapers"

WHAT?!? Are they talking about changing the size of the paper?

Has anyone seen the online versions of the Community Press? They're a total joke.

If new outlets like web content are part of their growth strategy, then they're not even coming close to meeting it.

8:52 PM  

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