Sunday, November 18, 2007

Doing less with less

A bullet has been fired at the Enquirer newsroom. It comes as USA Today said it will eliminate 45 newsroom positions, 9 percent of its newsroom. Enquirer Publisher Margaret Buchanan has give the newsroom a Hobson's choice: Eliminate either eight newsroom positions, or find a way to save $500,000 from the newsroom budget for 2008.

Sounds like something from one of the Saw movies. It appears that the bulk of the savings will come from the elimination of the Friday Life section, which will be folded into the Weekend section, which itself will be shrunk by a reduction in the size of the calendar.

I can see it now: Buchanan yells at Tom Callinan that the newsroom has to do more with less. Callinan puts on that hangdog look, the one you get when your glass of Beefeater's is empty and you realize Gannett stock is below $40 a share and retirement is that much further off, and he tells Hollis that he has to do more with less. Hollis will call everyone into a meeting and bellow at people and pound the table that they have to do more with less.

You can't do more with less. You can only do less with less. Killing Friday Life and folding it into Weekend will allow the Enquirer editors to say they're giving readers the same with less. But it's just less. Eight newsroom employees may have dodged the bullet. It zinged right past them, and hit the readers, who will still pay 50 cents for a smaller product.

39 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

eventually they will just put cin weekly in the friday paper and eliminate weekend

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I beg to differ with you on a point. The Friday paper (and any paper for that matter) costs any given reader far more than 50 cents.

Whether or not a subscriber or occasional reader, EVERYONE pays more. See, the price of milk, the living room furniture, the car and EVERYTHING else costs more due to the price for advertising. The advertiser might be the direct payer, but everyone pays for the enquirer, one way or another, because the costs are passed along. We all get less and less and less.

Considering advertising prices are set under inflated circulation numbers means EVERYONE is getting cheated.

Hope MB, TC and HT spend that bonus in good health while the rest of us pay MORE for health care. On that the community payment is in two ways: We are far less informed than ever by the local media AND the cost of advertising has been passed on.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous mr. whig said...

well, when Hobson had the choice, he went to go work for the Bengals.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Editor said...

Good post!

1:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haven't there been layoffs over the past year - or is there a hiring freeze?

6:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of all the issues of "more with less" facing the Enquirer, combining Life and Weekend hardly registers. The 25 people who crave their outdated coverage of the CSO, etc. may care, but the rest of the town will reply with a hearty yawn.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand that you want things to be like they were, but they are not, nor will they ever be again.

The 56th largest city in the country is lucky to have a daily. A couple of weekly community publications would probably suffice.

Stop pretending like this city is bigger than it is. Stop pretending like this city is deserving of a large-budgeted newspaper. Stop pretending that news actually happens here. Stop pretending that anyone outside of the news-writing fraternity cares.

Cincinnati is no longer relevant.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened to the Cin Weekly Stylista?

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, wow. I thought the game plan was to BE like CNN and television.

Wasn't that the reason for NOT being a paper anymore, you know, in the internet marketplace? Or, is it that the PAPER (in paper form) is the only distinction that the Enquirer has?

So what is the Enquirer? WCPO is pain all, but... WCPO has NEWS plus commentary, if you look and can get past the instant sound.

The Enquirer WAS good but it isn't a paper anymore.

Stylista, you ask? Gone. Ask what happened to the others.

12:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the 56th largest city, although accurate, is irrelevant. a better measurment would be the size of the metro area, which is top 25 and according to census projections the largest in ohio

12:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The DMA is #25, behind Cleveland. But The Enquirer doesn't circ well beyond the city limits. And the Cincinnati DMA stretches to just a few yards shy of the Dayton city limits. Go ask those people what city they are in. I assure you, the answer won't be Cincinnati.

You can beat your DMA chest all you want, but in the last 66 years, Cincinnati has gone from the 17th largest city in the US to the 56th.

Wichita, KS, Arlington, TX, Omaha, NB, Tulsa, OK - all bigger than Cincinnati. Funny to think about, isn't it? All bigger than the city you continue to believe is relevant.

However, we Cincinnatians can be proud of some of our top rankings:

#16 in crime (I think with a little work we can hit top 10 next year)
#8 Riskiest U.S. Housing Market

You think this city, this DMA is relevant?

1:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Cin Weekly in trouble?

6:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There has certainly been an exodus of staff over at CIN recently...

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where are they going?

7:49 AM  
Anonymous A Concerned Reader said...

Here is an EXCELLENT commentary on Gannett's push for reductions.

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/greenslade/2007/11/economic_realities_behind_usa.html

4:58 PM  
Blogger Newsache said...

Here's a link to the Guardian story:

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Enquirer historically has cut staff around Christmas, in keeping with the subsequent start of the new budget year. With the JOA expiring and some cuts already in place, this season's round should be of more than usual interest. If reports are true that half a million dollars must be cut from the newsroom budget, and travel and training already virtually eliminated, there are few avenues to go down other than cutting people.

Top staffers (not management) earn $60,000-$70,000 a year. Management salaries are considerably higher. Using simple math, the number of cuts might not be eye-opening, but could be among the most experienced of staffers.

7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few questions:

1. How badly is revenue down?
2. Which advertisers are going away?
3. Is there a hiring freeze?

Thanks.

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Wichita, KS, Arlington, TX, Omaha, NB, Tulsa, OK - all bigger than Cincinnati. Funny to think about, isn't it? All bigger than the city you continue to believe is relevant."

lets go by metro area, a more accurate measurement

Cincinnati 2.1 million
Omaha 822,000
Tulsa 937,000
Wichita 581,000
Arlington (part of the dallas metro and the third largest city in the metro)

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Cincinnati is a good place to live. I would recommend it to friends. However, I am not sure I would recommend the Enquirer as something that is absolutely needed.

11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's up with the Data Center?

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any more news on CIN Weekly?? I have friends dropping off the map there.....

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The plan goes like this:

10. The Enquirer keeps shrinking and finally becomes a combination of the Community Press free-papers and Cin Weekly.
9. All hard news is submitted by people committing the news.
8. All opinions are submitted through a new online conduit called 'Let 'er rip'.
7. The print version of the paper stops when gas prices hit $4, PC prices hit $200, and the youngest subscriber turns 40. Presses to be sold on Craigslist.
6. The publisher position is eliminated. Responsibilities are assumed by the Gannett Corp. vice president who has been giving out orders all along.
5. The newsroom is eliminated.
4. Website posts and editing of citizen-submitted content are outsourced to Myanmar.
3. Press credentials to cover chili, church and Cheviot festivals to be auctioned off on eBay.
2. Break lease on rented space in the "Enquirer" building on Elm Street. The remaining 15 workers in advertising sales and accounts receivable henceforth will work from their cars at newly recalculated mileage-reimbursement rate of 22 cents per mile.
1. Once the company has shed its baggage of reporters, printing press workers, carriers and other in-house operations, it will announce its improved product, reaffirm its commitment to the community and offer a three-month introductory rate of $499 per month.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does it really matter where the CiN staff went? The blogs are chugging along as strongly as they've always been...

(0 comments)

How long can self-absorbed, emo fans blog without audience engagement before CiN gets it?

The audience doesn't care about which laundry detergent you use and why you like the look of the package. And, how it reminds you of your neighbor or the burrito that you ate last night.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give me more cell phone pictures of myself with that CiN Weekly too!

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once I puke, does the meaning of journalism matter?

1:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope. Journalism doesn't matter.

3:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cincinnati, at long last, is getting the journalism it deserves. No Post; the Enqy the only newspaper left, and TV stations bringing you the "news." I am so glad to be getting out of this business.

Soon-to-be-ex-Postie

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who the hell cares about Cin Weekly? It's a piece of crap that insults this city and every member of the alleged target audience. The staff there does little more than pretend to be as "cool" and "hip" as their readers - who are barely aware they exist.

11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the Enquirer about to lay off people?

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A CiN spin-off blog that engages an audience as much as a small pebble:

omgcincy.blogspot.com

(yawn)

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Businesses are just like sports teams these days and when they have a losing streak or year after year of futility, they replace their leadership. Not the Enquirer. I've seen the publisher and top two editors in public functions, and all three strike me as bureaucrats. Heavy-handed Gannett ownership structure apparently stifles independence and original thought at the operating level. If it's true that more cuts lie ahead in news staffing and coverage, it will only worsen what is already a glaringly bad paper.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh .... and your analysis susprises you because?

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG ... talk about pandering sex and sensationalism ... is this really worth anything more than a brief?

Gads ... great judgment, Enqy...

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071207/NEWS01/312070043

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good grief. Sex pandering is Enquirer 101... this sort of thing gets hits. Sometimes letting things go helps good folks keep their jobs. In this case, let the Enquirer SEX pandering go. For that, some might keep their jobs.

Now, if BIG HITS are available, go for the shitty sex story and completely miss the demographic that a good newspaper ought to be going after.

10:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where art thou, Newsache? Given up?

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calling NewsAche, calling NewsAche. Come in NewsAche.

7:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alas, poor NewsAche....I knew him.

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

8:46 PM  

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