There are two groups of newspaper owners now, writes Earl Wilkinson: The ones divesting so they can put their money elsewhere, and “owners who are doing everything in their power to repair the old model or invent a new model before the economic waves cover them up.” Advance Publications, which has decided to cut daily printing in New Orleans and three Alabama cities, is in the latter, he writes.
Wilkinson, Executive Director/CEO of the International Newsmedia Marketing Association, takes particular issue with the idea that a newspaper must be published every day and that moving online means abstaining from editorial judgment:
Apparently, nothing short of seven-day publishing of a print newspaper will resonate with a community — an absurdity. The U.S. market is staring in the face a business model of weekly print or even no print this decade. The criticism that may be more correct is whether the digital model that replaces it is sufficient in size and scope. The criticism that may be correct is whether sufficient “oxygen” (marketing, sales, research) exists behind the remaining enterprise.
… As for this being an abandonment of journalism at the expense of embracing what people consume, that is another silly connection. If journalism is about funding art that is not consumed, make no mistake that idea is dead or dying among private-sector publishers. Let’s agree that Britney Spears’ love life is not going to become the lead story no matter how many clicks, while simultaneously we need far fewer “Trekking Through Zimbabwe” stories. There is a happy medium, and our industry today continues to trek through Zimbabwe too much.
Related: Three-day subscription to cost $3 less per month than 7-day subscription (Jim Gabour/Guardian) | ”We may not be going daily, but we’re not going away, either,” says New Orleans weekly (Gambit) || Earlier: Cutting print is a money-loser for Times-Picayune, but cutting staff makes changes slightly profitable (Poynter)