Saturday, September 02, 2006


From David Wilson, former reporter and editor for the Akron Beacon Journal and one of those laid off.

"Newspapers have often succeeded in spite of themselves. That's no longer the case."

Read the entire story at Cleveland Scene.

No reflection on Wilson or any of the B-J folks when I say this. But just a thought: If the journalism cycle is true to form, this is just one of the "Woe is us" recrimination stories you can expect to see over the next six months. The NYT's explainer of Knight Ridder's downfall had some of the same tone.

Take them all with a little grain of salt. As written here before, a lot of financial and personnel items are going to have to be worked out of corporate balance sheets before this industry even has a remote chance of coming back. (I keep running through my mind a piece that asks the simple question: Why would any newsroom want to own the presses anymore? Maybe I'll write more on that later.)

It's going to be a very tough time. Some managers and companies (in fact, given the history of this business, I'd bet most is more likely) will do it poorly and look Draconian -- and then should be called on the carpet. Others will do it well, but still look Draconian through the rear-view mirror of what this business "was." In those cases, the overwrought hand-wringing is a disservice to those who are struggling to find new, viable business models. It's incumbent on all of us who love journalism and want to see it flourish to not only look through the mirror of what it was but through the windshield to what it could be.


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