cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
I opined a few weeks ago about the state of newspapers across our country. Much has gone into causing the problems faced by most of the major newspapers in the United States. Increased costs for much of what makes up a newspaper are largely the fault of this dilemma.
This morning the "new" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel debuted in its 'smaller' size. The Business section has been reduced largely be eliminating the full financial report in favor of stocks of local interest. The 'B' section that was formerly tailored to various locales has been changed to the "Local" section providing a little news about most of the outlying area. Other changes have been made but these struck me as the most visible.
Marty Kaiser, Editor, was featured on the cover page explaining the changes and the reasons for those changes. The essence is that revenues continue to decline while expenses continue to climb. That combination obviously cannot be permitted to continue if the newspaper is to have any hope of survival.
My intent is not to "pick on" newspapers in general or the Journal Sentinel in particular. I believe that Journal Sentinel leaders are doing that which they think will help stem the tide of red ink. I'm not sure they have any other choices. Two rounds of voluntary buy-outs and involuntary lay-offs have already come and gone. I suspect that at least one more will come again before this has been finished. Whether or not those actions will be good or bad ultimately remains to be seen.
Similarly, the reduction in size/content may or may not be part of the solution. It could prove to have been part of the problem before all is said and done.
This effort is meant to recognize that much of the content has been available on websites for some time. It recognizes that advertising dollars are moving to where the readers are and leaving those places where readers are frequenting less and less.
I wonder if the latest changes in content on the printed page will help stem the flow or if it will end up exacerbating the problem by moving more people to the Internet more quickly?
We'll not know that answer for sometime, but I suspect that we will ultimately learn the answer. I am happy about one thing: I do not have the responsibilities of trying to operate a newspaper on my shoulders. I would not wish that on my enemy at this point in time.