Sunday, July 27, 2008

LA Times Gives Up

And not a decade too soon.

The future of the Los Angeles Times, in print and online, rests in our ability to meet the needs of our readers and deliver news and information that is unique, far-reaching and indispensable. In-depth journalism remains our hallmark and we are committed to that mission in the face of economic challenges to our industry and our nation as a whole.

Translation; the blogosphere is eating our lunch. Alright, not just the blogosphere. I think I''ll coin a new term; The Immediate Media Cloud. The IMC for short.

Our website just recorded its biggest month ever in June with 115 million page views, a 50% increase over last year.

Translation; our paid circulation is plummeting.

Couldn't happen to a more arrogant company. Well it can and will but Microsoft is years from this kind of realization. Just like it took a decade after the Chandler family got out of the newpaper business before the Times imploded Gates' departure will eventually result in the dissolution of Mr. Softie.

And how does the LA Times plan on meeting this future?:
I deeply regret to report we will be reducing the size of our editorial staff, both print and Web, by a total of 150 positions, and reducing the number of pages we publish each week, by about 15%.
[emphasis mine]
Would you like some collar stays to go with your new spats sir?


Steve said...

Dead Tree Media is dying, that''s for sure. Are TV talking heads next?

Mursting Firsting Musings.

Lost Cause said...

The heavy government wartime propaganda has been only good for Fox News so far. The reich wing editorialist that occupy most newspaper offices might have something to do with the wholsesale rejection of the Times. The website sucks.

incessant_din said...

I think that this too, is cyclic. Perhaps dead tree as the medium may indeed be dead. The people currently cemented in positions of editorial power have become increasingly of a particular viewpoint. Unfortunately, that viewpoint is not representative of a large enough segment of the audience. So, we have a decline.

Let me also predict that the unedited opinions-as-fact of the blogosphere will grow old at some point when it becomes difficult to differentiate fact and fiction.

Then some enterprising people will seek to portray the true story, and admit when they were wrong or duped, and they will build credibility, followed by loyalty. Front page headlines and middle-late page corrections and retractions don't fly in the current climate. I don't think now is the time to launch such an enterprise, since 1) doing it right is costly; and 2) the pendulum needs to swing more wildly, with some good internet hoaxes, before people appreciate ethical editorial review at the point of publication.

In a related prediction, ethical banks may be the future... We might also see a decline in banks as a financial pillar. Note this prediction is made without editorial review, so don't go starting a bank run based solely on this and getting Sheila Bair on my case.

w said...

I am thinking that the price of gas is killing them. In the past month I have received maybe only half of my papers. I would guess it is hard to recruit delivery people at $5 a gallon.

Arthur Wankspittle said...

Every editor and owner here is probably looking at doing the same thing or more. Why? Because the realtors and developers can be 40% of advertising revenue. Replacing that revenue with court notices isn't going to happen.

serinitis said...

Even if they had the real estate advertisements, Craigslist would still be killing them. I like newspapers, but their business model is doomed. And they won't be able to support it by moving it to on-line

Peripheral Visionary said...

"I am thinking that the price of gas is killing them. In the past month I have received maybe only half of my papers. I would guess it is hard to recruit delivery people at $5 a gallon."

You may be right on that one. Back in the day when I ran my own newspaper delivery franchise (total customers: 30), everything was done on bike. But I suspect that newspapers had a preference for not dealing with kids, and I noticed over the years that there were fewer kids in the business and more immigrants (same for lawn care, same for fast food . . . ) Deliveries went from small bike routes to much larger car routes. Well, that was a mistake.

And their primary source of revenue through advertising is in serious trouble. I'm beginning to agree that the local paper daily may be on its way out. Local news has become increasingly dominated by local TV, and national and international news by the cable empires, who have successfully branched out into the internet world. WSJ and FT and a few other specialized papers will survive (although increasingly online as opposed to print), not sure about the rest.