Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Trib Gets Laid (Off)

According to the Tribune today, it is going to lay of 70 employees, change several sections and "shift resources to delivering news online"

"We know from research that our readers want news that is hyperlocal and useful to their daily lives," Denise Palmer, president and publisher of the Tribune, said Tuesday. "We plan to provide more focused products to better serve changing reader and advertiser needs. At the same time, we will accelerate efforts to operate more efficiently."

One of the things they are going ot do is combine some of the weekly community papers with the community sections.

"The Tribune also plans to merge several neighborhood editions in Hillsborough County with weekly newspapers owned by the Tribune's corporate parent in the same areas.

The paper has six neighborhood sections in Hillsborough. Once those are merged with the weeklies, the newspaper will publish eight neighborhood editions in the county twice a week."

That makes a lot of sense. I never did understand why both existed seperately. Another change is on Friday to combine the Baylife with Friday Extra. That is a good idea. I never read the Friday Extra, so this will make me likely to read tsome of it. Frankly the Friday Extra was boring. The Weekly Planet/Creative Loafing was always better. As it the TBT.

So if you were King what would you do to improve the Tribune?

I'd reduce the expected return on investment. I'd actually hire more news staff or I'd let them write longer stories. Compare the Tribune and The Times. The stories are often longer or written more interestingly. Sometimes I get the feeling that the editors and management at the Tribune are just interested in "Just the Facts Ma'am" and not the flavor that sometimes is more interesting than the facts. Let your writers be freer.

I'd also be more cutting edge, experiment more. However the Tribune has a dismal record in some of that area. The Orange is an example. I never read one. Yet I read the TBT every day, in addition to being a Tribune subscriber. The Orange is not their first weekly failure. They tried to compete against the Creative Loafing years ago and failed. I can't remember what that was called.

It's hard to be hip when you are stodgy, or simply a cog in a large corporate organization.


Anonymous said...

Good for them. May they get what they deserve. The Tribune has always been too bottom line focused, never caring about the end user/consumer. I have switched to the Times and while they are not much, better, they are better. TBT is wonderful!

The Tribune has always known they were in trouble. They have continually tried to force advertisers and subscribers into unnecessary "forced buys". Now it comes back to bite them in the butt!

No sympathy here!

Anonymous said...

People are losing their jobs, and not the ones who have made questionable management decisions. I'm sorry you feel that's what they deserve. No one deserves that.

Seminole Heights said...

From last week Creative Loafing:

"Those who consider journalism like any other business will cast dumping Doonesbury or killing a cartoon to prevent canceled subscriptions as no-brainer marketing decisions. Find out what clients want and give it to them. Such one-track thinking -- which ignores journalism's constitutionally sanctioned public service mission -- explains in part why so many cartoonists are now losing their jobs.

Since 1975, more than two-thirds of America's independent newspapers have been swept away in a tidal wave of media consolidation. The result? Large publicly-held chains beholden to Wall Street now dominate much of the newspaper industry. Despite complaints from publishers about tough times, Gannett raked in 1.16 billion dollars in 2006. Even the supposedly struggling Tribune Company, whose flagship Chicago Tribune once employed three staff cartoonists and now has none, earned $587.69 million last year.

Newspapers typically enjoy profit margins of about 20 percent. That's nearly double what most large U.S. firms make. But stockholders demand constant growth, so, despite margins that would make manufacturers salivate, the bean-counters gut editorial staffs -- a book section here, a Sunday magazine there, cartoonists everywhere."

Anonymous said...

The TBT blows. If I wanted to read nothig but pulled AP stories and indie rock reviews I'd... well I'd gouge my eyes out with a spoon.

Lara said...

Sigh... it makes me so sad every time I see news called "product."

Honestly, I rarely read the Trib. I'm a pretty loyal St. Pete Times reader, and tend to get the rest of my news online from The Guardian UK, and aggregates like Google News.

Anonymous said...

The Trib would do well to change their format to the Planet style newspaper and yes, hire more writers or be open the other outside writers. As it is, it fails to enlighten OR entertain.

Perhaps they could even write a story about rezoning all the houses facing Cental to commercial.
This is a great way to improve the commercial aspects of Sem Heights! Think of all the nice, new entreprenural (sp) business posibilities; maybe just north of Hillsb. No car lots, pawn shops, crack pots! What a wonderful world this could be!

Anonymous said...

As long as the Trib continues to describe Seminole Heights as "South Tampa", they can pretty much assume I'll never buy their paper.

I mean, come ON people. If the "newspaper of record" cannot even figure out the cultural divisions in a community, what good are they?

(And yeah, the was a bottom-line decision too. One after another.)

Anonymous said...

Bob Ross and Judy Hill got the axe.

Judy Hill might be the worst columnist on the planet but it sucks she lost her job.

Gotta think these two were let go b/c they are approaching retirement.

Anonymous said...

TBT is a great quick-read. Tribune has been so old fashioned and arch conservative that they are their own undoing. Check out the front page story today where they sing the praises of that crackpot Rhonda Storms. Hopefully the Tribune will end up out of business altogether.

Greg said...

I don't think that Judy Hill was horrible as a writer - she just had those warm and fuzzy stories that do have a small but loyal following. It was nice to have her bring to light the good things that can happen or to remind us to look at the little things as just as important.

All that being said, I was not a loyal reader of her column - I did like Ross's take on things though.

Bottom line is important - hopefully the Trib will become as generic as USA Today or even any of the ClearChannel radio stations. They can save cost by printining everything at one plant in Memphis and just have the paper Fed-exed all over the country.