My local newspaper is begging

Art Page — Black Box Fund

As I told the young woman from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the phone when I cancelled my print subscription a few weeks ago I just couldn’t stand it anymore (She asked why, I answered).

For me the final straw was the paper’s brutal editorial, placed on the news pages, attacking US Senator Ron Johnson.  They allowed Johnson a rebuttal, but then inexplicably responded with another editorial, with footnotes. I’ve never seen them do that before.

The bias and downright hatred is so blatant with nary an attempt to hide it. Anyone with an (R) after their name is public enemy #1 in this newsletter for the Democratic Party.

I still receive the online version thanks to a $1 for three months deal. But that’s horrendous as well with the exception being the sports section.

Now the paper is attempting to make up. Twice since I cancelled I’ve received e-mails offering discounts that say “We miss you and want you back.” That’s a far different approach then what the industry  tried with consumers years ago. From my blog…

Newspapers are hurting, but won’t admit it
By Kevin Fischer
October 2, 2007

Fewer people are reading newspapers. Circulation is down for newspapers all across the country. Newspapers are still an important part of our daily fabric, but are certainly less relevant.

Today, the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel announced it is looking for ways to reduce staff. One way is by “offering employee buyouts in the hope of reducing its workforce by 35 to 50 people.”

If that doesn’t work?

“The company said if not enough employees take the offer, an involuntary program will be considered.”

Having received a few pink slips, some from the Journal Company, I think that’s newspaper-ese for, “We’ll fire you.”

More from

“Elizabeth (Betsy) Brenner, president and chief operating officer of the publishing group of Journal Communications (JRN) Inc., said the employee reductions are necessary because of falling revenue. In recent years, the Journal Sentinel and other newspapers have been losing revenue to Internet-based advertising. She said gains in online advertising at the newspaper aren’t strong enough yet to replace traditional advertising revenue.

“It is never easy to call for staff cutbacks, but we must continue to align our cost structure with the realities of reduced revenues in the newspaper industry,” Brenner said in a statement to employees.

Effective immediately, full-time employees of Journal Sentinel Inc. with 10 years of service or more as of Oct. 26 are eligible to apply. The company said it is anticipates that between 35 and 50 employees, or 3.5% to 5% of the Journal Sentinel’s full-time staff, will accept the buyout offer. That number may change depending on the number of employees who apply and are accepted. The separation date is on or about Nov. 15.The buyouts will include cash severance and temporary health care coverage.

A memo on the voluntary separation program distributed to newsroom employees said participants will receive two weeks of pay for every full year of service and two months of paid medical care benefits, not including dental and vision.

Non-newsroom employees would receive 1 1/2 weeks of current base salary for every year of service and six months of paid health benefits, also not including dental and vision.”

Newspapers are getting beat up in the competition for news consumers, so the workers suffer. This is a trend that didn’t just materialize overnight. Long before the explosion of cable and talk radio, newspapers were losing the news audience to TV viewers.

There are so many choices for people to get information, including the blog site you’re reading right now. Newspapers have adapted, but they’re not the only game in town, and by their nature, are not the first and the fastest game, either.

This is how much the times have changed. The newspaper biz is now trying a Pulitzer Prize effort at putting a positive spin…on declining readership! The New York Times just published an article on why large newspapers are happy about lower circulations.  Huhhh?? (Ironically, the same article required a major correction for an error. You’ll see later in this blog).

The New York Times writes:

“As the newspaper industry bemoans falling circulation, major papers around the country have a surprising attitude toward a lot of potential readers: Don’t bother.

The big American newspapers sell about 10 percent fewer copies than they did in 2000, and while the migration of readers to the Web is usually blamed for that decline, much of it has been intentional. Driven by marketing and delivery costs and pressure from advertisers, many papers have decided certain readers are not worth the expense involved in finding, serving and keeping them.”

Oh my goodness.

What a ludicrous, rip-roaring laughable argument.

What industry tells its customers that it’s okay, we don’t need you. You don’t want what we’re selling? No big deal.

Earth to the newspaper industry: The public soured on what you were selling years and years and years ago. And you know why? While you were in your ivory towers dictating what you thought was news and what you thought everyone should be thinking, the news-consuming public decided they wanted something else, and more.

Your liberal editorial rants suddenly were being met by people who thought, no, there’s another view. I don’t have to accept this.

And quite frankly, newspaper readers got fed up.  Their attitude exists today. Are there people who get the Journal/Sentinel just to read the outstanding sports section? You better believe it.

Keep writing those lefty editorials.

Keep shoving the race-baiting columns down our throat.

See how many extra subscriptions that gets you.

Here’s the New York Times article where newspapers try to make excuses for their significant drop in readership.

There are ways to address increased competition. Newspapers have tried, but have failed, in large part because they refuse to admit their failures.

While they sit at their keyboards and egotistically tell themselves, “Oh, this is great stuff,” their target audience is tuning into Fox, or talk radio, or blogs like this one.

Go ahead, newspaper big shots. Insult me again. Tell me why it’s no great loss if I don’t read your paper.

—October 2, 2007

TODAY: “We miss you and want you back.” I’m not sure that will even work.

8 thoughts on “My local newspaper is begging

  1. They twist the truth into pretzel like columns and call all conservatives “brain-washed” and they think we should still read the garbage that they call newspapers. We cancelled our Journal-Sentinel subscription 3 years ago and don’t miss it at all (except for paper to start our fireplace). We subscribe to the Epoch Times now and can read a paper that doesn’t twist the truth (and still have paper for our fireplace).


  2. The Newspaper business ain’t what it used to be and neither is Radio and TV. The internet has changed the world and the way we get our news. Unfortunately, the low cost of internet entry, certainly compared to the aforementioned Newspaper, Radio and TV, means that anybody can be a “publisher” and write and print anything they want, whether is is verified or truthful.

    With the exception of “This Just In,” not everyone “publishing” has the credentials and the morals. And truthfully, we don’t know if they are who they clam to be. Newspapers have always taken sides on the editorial pages and it was clearly obvious it was an opinion, not news. Radio and TV also did editorials, “back in the day,” some still do, but rarely. The world has changed and certainly is much more polarized than I can ever remember. The line between Editorial and News has also become very blurred in all media, especially the Internet.

    I continue to get my “Retiree Rate” on JSOnline and enjoy it since I like to see what is happening in Milwaukee after my 50+ years invested there.

    That said, we’re not making politicians like we used to either. Ron Johnson included. I will leave it there so I don’t get unfriended.

    Agree or disagree, I appreciate your writings and opinions, and… I actually know who is writing it.


  3. Pingback: My Most Popular Blogs (02/01/21) | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

  4. I’d be more concerned about mainstream-media newspaper survival against big social media platforms had major newspaper owners taken humanity’s great plight of global warming a lot more serious since the mid 1990s (a point from which sufficiently positive climate measures were much more possible).

    Instead, what I read was, as one harrowing example, the unsigned editorial that a local community newspaper printed just before Earth Day 2017, titled “Earth Day in need of a facelift”.

    Varied lengths of the same editorial was also run by other community newspapers, all owned by the same news-media mogul (who’s also an aspiring oil refiner).

    It opined that “some people would argue that [the day of environmental action] … is an anachronism”, that it should instead be a day of recognizing what we’ve societally accomplished. “And while it [has] served us well, in 2017, do we really need Earth Day anymore?”

    Though in my lifetime I’ve never heard anyone suggest we’re doing so well as to render Earth Day an unneeded “anachronism”, considering the sorry state of the planet’s natural environment, it was the most irresponsible form of editorial journalism I’ve yet seen in my 32 years of newspaper consumption.

    For, while some readers may dismiss it as just another opinion, there are many readers (as I once was) who may take such unsigned editorials, especially from their local press, as a seriously considered and balanced argument.


  5. Pingback: UPDATE: My local newspaper is begging | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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