Monday, June 9, 2008

New Tribune Editorial Policy May Have Grave Consequences

People are reading newspapers less, and that will increase, especially if there's not as much there.

-Ken Doctor, a newspaper analyst with Outsell, Inc.

In Erik Sass, "Paper Cuts: Tribune to Slash Edit, Employees," Mediapost's MediaDaily News, June 9, 2008

Doctor was specifically commenting on a decision by Sam Zell, owner of The Tribune Company, to cut editorial content at all its newspapers so that at least half of each edition is advertising. Among the papers involved are the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun and Orlando Sentinel. Currently, the editorial split seems to hover around 63% editorial and 37% advertising. The downsizing of the papers--or "right-sizing" as a Tribune executive calls it--will allow the company to lay off still more employees. As Erik Sass notes, citing Ken Doctor, "the Tribune Company's approach runs opposite to the tack of other publishers like Dow Jones, which are trying to maximize the amount of content distributed via digital channels--in part by retaining print reporters and repurposing their work, or adding to their workload."

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