Gannett Blog: The future 'no media exec will admit'

Dateline: Mon 19 Sep 2011

The following was posted Friday on Gannett Blog; please read the comments too on Gannett Blog.

"I am in management at another media company and I think posters here, in their complaints against Gannett management, often fail to see the big picture.

"Newspapers are being phased out and Gannett, because of its size, will likely be in the forefront of this strategy. The future of information delivery is the Internet and mobile and the future of content generation is freelance, reader feedback and outsourcing.

"The old model of hiring professional, fulltime photographers and reporters is dead. The photographers are already being phased out at some companies, with art provided by freelancers, services and readers who seek no pay.

"Each site in the future will employ a handful of editors to organize and edit reader/freelance/service and, yes, robotic content. Traditional newspaper-type information of this sort will be a small part of any site with other information products and services providing major revenue streams.

"Old-fashioned investigative journalism and watchdog reporting will be left to non-profit websites. A good example is what will be happening at the Carnegie-Knight News21 program at Arizona State, which is foundation supported.

"While no media executive will admit it (bad for morale), this is the blueprint for the future. I will be very surprised if Gannett operates any print products except USA Today (a vanity product) in 10 years. "

Afterthought: several of you have sent in outrageous errors in copy in the Indianapolis Star -- mistakes that are making it into print. The loss of the copy editors at the paper is something we mourn every day.



hendy [Member] said:

AOL and HuffPo are already trying to assemble VOLUNTEER "jounalists" in various cities to augment their coverage. Various subsegments now also try to ride this trend: Angie's List, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and so forth.

Yet there are other successful models, like,,, and others.

Gannett errs in an important way: community development. The reason they like comments on, is to increase pageviews and hit counts. What they do in fact is to roust all of the disaffected and unmedicated in the greater region. There is no discourse there, no community involvement where "community" means grouped together for civil action.

All along, these several years of your blog, Ruth, I've tried to encourage the good writers, some ex-of TheStar, to do their own site and get it right where Gannett bumbles their way along, a simpleton whose website doesn't even work well with Macs. They are self-aggrandizing, boorish, full of their corporate selves, and don't represent the core community, only the rich-white demographic they so desperately want their advertisers to glom onto.

You truly have to tear yourselves away from the tintype attitude of traditional newspapers and get back to the core of communications, ethics, and journalism to succeed, but if you do, it will pay not only you, but the people that desperately need to hear objective information and untainted, unpropagandized streams of information. Some will rise to the call; others have already been sucked into the vortex of malaise.

2011-09-19 08:39:17

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Ugh, Ruthie dear, not before breakfast. Please.

2011-09-19 10:23:29

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Yes, I think freebies are the wave of the future. I've always thought that the paper-shuffling newspaper executives (consciously or subconsciously) believe that journalists have no relevant talents or skills.

(I.e., the old Bob Knight comment that sports writers can't do anything important, so they write about what other people do).

I write regular book reviews for a national magazine and get paid about one-fifth of what I used to get paid for writing freelance for them. Probably not far off in the distance: no pay for the reviews, but hey, you get a free book!

Photojournalists are having a rough time and it's going to get rougher. We old-timers who used to shoot photos as well as write articles for small newspapers remember how complicated those old 35 mm cameras were. Now, one of my dachshunds could take a decent photo with a modern digital camera.

2011-09-19 12:41:29

Ms. Cynical [unverified] said:

<I>We old-timers who used to shoot photos as well as write articles....</I>

Ah, I remember the days when I had a permanent callus on my finger from balancing the lens of my Nikon.

2011-09-19 16:27:31

Pete Boggs [unverified] said:

Is "media exec" now synonymous with holocaust denier?

2011-09-20 20:28:32

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