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« Warren in Winston | Main | Ontological »

May 17, 2012

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I believe Jay Rosen has it right when he says that the future belongs to news orgs that know everything about something as opposed to something about everything. For national orgs like NYT and even TPM in your other link not so much. But for local news I think the rise of the independent beat reporter might be one sector that gets traction. 99 Blocks is close to this target. I think someone could be successful in building an organization that dominates something like state and federal court news, transportation or infrastructure and public works.

Another concern I have is about the watchdog role in small communities. Think about the collapse of watchdog reporting at the News and Record with their staff cuts. Imagine what that is like in counties and towns half or even 1/10th the size of Greensboro and Guilford County. What are there, something like 65 to 75 localities or more that fit that segment in our state alone?

Billy Jones

Question: If YesWeekly and the Rhino are profitable then why can't the N&R do what they do times 7 and be profitable?

Ed Cone

Billy, I don't think the question at the N&R has been profitability so much as level of profitability -- dailies kept chasing the unsustainable levels they enjoyed in the post- tv, pre-Internet era long after that was realistic.

Also the N&R covers many things and the weeklies cover few things, per Jeff's comment above.

Billy Jones

In other words: The people who own newspapers like the N&R are simply allergic to work.

But seriously, would circulation not go up if the paper were free and if circulation went up could the N&R not charge more for advertising and if they could charge more for advertising would they not profit more?

Or is there some kind of Voodo-Ronny-Ray-Gun-trickle-down-thing going on here that voids accounting as we know it?

Ed Cone

It's not that simple. For one thing, paid circulation gets you higher ad rates than free circulation. That's not an accounting trick, it's a difference in what the market will bear for different ad vehicles. Not to say changes in pricing and distribution strategy should be off the table for dailies, just that there are actual differences in the business models.

Thomas

I sometimes see Rhino paper racks on Wednesday still chock full of last Thursdays edition. I assume those are counted in the circulation numbers. It would be interesting to get a real count of how many people actually read it each week.

Billy Jones

Thomas wrote: "I sometimes see Rhino paper racks on Wednesday still chock full of last Thursdays edition. I assume those are counted in the circulation numbers. It would be interesting to get a real count of how many people actually read it each week."

Some of the free weeklies pick up the extras and return them to a 3rd party who counts the extras and certifies their circulation numbers. I've no idea if the Rhino uses a 3rd party circulation verification agency or if any such companies exist locally.

It would also be interesting to know how many are read by hamsters, gerbils, canaries, parakeets and chickens. Of course, my chickens prefer the N&R for it's wider coop coverage.

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