Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae

Curated knowledge, trenchant insights & witty bon mots

It's not downsizing, it's … <em>reinventing</em>!

U.S. newspapers are being forced into a new round of cost-cutting and layoffs. Some editors — perhaps as an act of emotional self-preservation — are trying to imagine how this would be to the paper's advantage.

An excerpt from the NYT story:

When Amanda Bennett, editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, heard last month that she had to cut 75 jobs in her newsroom – 15 percent of her staff – she was sick to her stomach.

But after some reflection, she said, she realized that the depth of the cuts would force the newspaper to reinvent itself, and this would be to its advantage.

“This is a chance to hold everything up to the light and say, 'What value does this give to the readers?' ” she said, adding that she would rethink everything from the concept of local coverage to the formats for delivering the news.

“If we miss this opportunity to change ourselves from a newspaper into a news organization,” she said, “shame on us.”

Such rethinking is sweeping newsrooms across the country as the industry faces a wave of job cuts, among them 700 announced since May at The New York Times Company, including its business operations and the various media properties it owns, and 14 at The Hartford Courant. Most recently cuts have been announced at The Boston Globe (a division of the Times Company), The San Jose Mercury News, The Philadelphia Daily News, The Baltimore Sun and Newsday, and over the last few years The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have also moved to eliminate jobs.

Industrywide, ad revenue is flat, costs are up and circulation is eroding. At The Inquirer, circulation has dropped 30 percent over the last two decades.

Beyond the industry's economic woes, the future is clouded by the rapid expansion of the Internet, leaving newspapers in an identity crisis as they try to come to grips with fundamental changes in the industry and society that are significantly curbing their growth.

Tue, October 11 2005 » Main Page, Media