Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Do they give Pulitzers for cute animals?

This how the Enquirer plans to save itself from extinction.
From: Parker, Linda
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 11:03 AM
To: CIN-Editors
Subject: Cutest Pet Contest a huge winner

Thanks to all for the great work in promoting this in print.

The contest is by far our most successful GP! promotion to date. In its first three days – Thurs., Jan. 17-Sat., Jan. 19 - it drew 676 pictures (488 Ohio, 188 NKY). That is 40 percent more than our next-best contest, Hometown Halloween, which drew 483 over four weeks.

As we speak, we have 880 entries - 633 in Ohio, 247 in KY.

It has lifted all boats – GetPublished! page views, community page traffic and non-contest GetPublished! submissions.

Deadline for entries is midnight on Feb. 3, so rail items still good to go until then.

Again, thanks! Linda

What will they think of next? College students to cover the presidential primaries?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

awww, that is so cute. I like the pics of the Maltes Shih-tzu. she is just adorable! that little face! those little paws! now i want one!!

7:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Newsache, I don't know exactly what your point is on this one, but I really don't see the harm of the Cute Pets thing.

Sure, it's stupid and vapid. But it's not like they're devoting any real newsroom resources to it -- it's a reader-submitted thing that takes a minute amount of time to oversee. It's an element of Get Published!, which is as much ads and marketing as it is journalism. (And it's a product of Cincinnati.com, not "The Enquirer," an important distinction, I would say.) Is this so different than the dumbass marketing ploys that newspapers have been shilling for decades?

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Careful, Newsache, your pettiness is showing. This element isn't even involved with the newsroom - in fact, I'll bet the editors and reporters didn't know this was even going on until they received that email. It is hardly responsible for displacing any resources.

And as I recall, newspapers have done this forever. I entered my dog into a cute pets contest in my hometown newspaper decades ago.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what Newsache is getting at. It may seem petty to some, to pick on a seemingly non-major, local Gannett reader project, but what's disturbing is the fact this initiative deserved such a glowing memo. The message is that managers are reinforcing the easy, general interest stuff and not, say, writing lengthy memos praising the the latest hard-news, in-depth investigation piece. I'm a recent former Gannett reporter, and they did the same thing at the paper I worked at. They always talked up the BS "fun" (or quirky) stuff saying "we need more of this, it's a hit!" We did a send-photos-of-your-cute-pet project, and all staff heard about for weeks was the number of Web hits it was generating. We once reported a funny fluff piece, it was a one-off incident where a wild turkey crashed through the window of a moving vehicle. The next day, staff were rounded up and told to find more of those kinds of stories.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So maybe the pet thing is a little extreme, but I get the point. How far does fluff go? And how long is the Enquirer (and many other journalistic outlets) going to let it run the newsroom?

One of the reasons I got into this business is because it's a product that people use because they need. In theory, news is supposed to pander less to readers. Cute pets are great, but as a trend, news goes flying out the window only to be replaced by fluff.

4:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm no publisher, or editor, or even journalist, but as far as I know, newspapers only stay in business if there are people to read them. Keep the news coming, sure, but other attempts to draw in extra eyes on the website or the newspaper can't be condemned out of hand.

Lots of other places on the web provide news, and lots of people are more than willing to go looking for it. Good for them for finding something that's working. No need to get snarky about it.

Or perhaps, jealous.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe part of the concern revolves around the fact that fewer resources are available to cover real news. And, in that environment, the assignment of energies to present this type of content has the potential to take away even more. Plus, the accolades provided for doing so could send the wrong message of what's really important.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What's really important" is different to different people. And the only people's whose opinion matters on that subject: coporate/shareholders. The self-righteous and activist aspects of what used to be known as "real news" is being stripped away.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's correct a few things by posters. The online operation is housed right in the middle of the Enquirer newsroom. Online staffers attend news meetings, department meetings, special section meetings. They are completely integrated into the news operation - and when there is a hire for online - and there have been many over the past year - that means one less hire for the reporting/editing staff.

In the end, it is "devoting" newsroom resources to it.

That online person - who was praised in online honcho Chris Graves' weekly memo to the staff - could be helping on a serious news project. Yes, cute pets are a newspaper staple and a fun extra when a reader is getting more than just fluff.

But when you have FRONT PAGE stories about a coffee shop being mentioned in a comic strip the paper carries, or someone buying a cute little car, or Big Foot - should you expect more than cute pets?

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pets are huge. People love their pets, they love talking about their pets, they love seeing pictures of other peoples' pets.

If a good newspaper is, truly, supposed to be a mirror held up to its community, then there's nothing wrong with including this.

You want to see ad sales get a big boost? Start selling pet memorial ads on the obit page.

4:22 PM  

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