Digital First | AJR
Advance Publications has an ally in John Paton, CEO of Digital First Media, who writes that despite some missteps, he supports the company’s decision to stop printing The Times-Picayune every day and focus on the website. Paton expresses surprise that the company has been “lambasted for not continuing with the old line of business that is driving them out of business.”
Could they do it better? I think they could do it a lot better but they are attempting to dramatically change their business.
And it is a change largely directed at a future that focuses on the new line of business and less on the old.
Importantly, they remain committed to their core business and mission with what resources they have.
So I support them because their industry is my industry and it will not survive without dramatic, difficult and bloody change.
And like them I am willing to do what it takes to make our businesses survive.
AJR’s Rem Rieder agrees that the status quo can’t continue, but considering how the news got out, the company’s “clumsy response,” and its poor website, he can’t be nearly as supportive of the course Advance is charting.
Yes, you can give the company credit for taking bold actions in an effort to preserve the paper. But when you are doing something that’s this important to the community and the industry, you’ve got to have your act together. By doing such a terrible job of talking the talk and walking the walk, Newhouse has managed to alienate an entire community and undercut the cause of transforming the news business for the digital future.
Rieder notes, as have others, that Advance is making the same changes at its Alabama papers, but the outcry there doesn’t compare to that in New Orleans.