Wired mag on Gannett

Dateline: Thu 26 Jul 2007

A former colleague has sent along an article from the August issue of Wired magazine, analyzing Gannett's new strategy to reinvent the newspaper. Sorry, but the piece is not online yet, so no link available.

Writer Jeff Howe focuses on the Cincinnati Enquirer, just one of many Gannett papers to introduce such cutting-edge concepts as letting readers do the work once done by journalists.

None of the concepts tried in Cincy will be news to the readers of the Star, since Gannett, with typical cookie-cutter style, has applied the same principles to all its papers. Hence there is a Cincy moms web site just as there is an Indy moms site, and all the papers are on the bandwagon of publishing "data," such as government workers' salaries and other boring stuff.

The irony is that, as Howe reports, newspapers are still seeing killer profit margins -- 21 percent, for instance -- even as they are supposedly in the death throes. Will re-invention help save jobs and the industry? Maybe for a while. But in the meantime, all dignity is lost. And where, I would like to know, are the really good, compelling, fun, interesting stories?

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