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Old 04-18-2009, 11:11 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,601 posts, read 33,080,249 times
Reputation: 29160

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Wall Street has once again threatened to de-list the McClatchy Co., publishers of the Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee, Modesto Bee and 27 other newspapers across the country, for failure to maintain the minimum average stock-market valuation and shareholders' equity required by the New York Stock Exchange. If that happens it could signal the end for them.

Now I'm not a big fan of The McClatchy company, believing they have a discernable political bias I find inappropriate for a "news" organization but I certainly don't wish to see them disappear. While I realize that many younger people couldn't care less about newspapers in this age of the electronic media, for us oldsters nothing online satisfies like the tactile pleasure of sitting down with a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee in the morning and turning the pages - reading local, state, national and international news, perusing the ads, keeping up with the politics, working the crosswords and other puzzles and even reading the funnies.

I find it devastating that papers across the land are folding. Sacramento, capital city of the most populated state in the country was, until 1994, a two-paper town until the 143-year old Sacramento Union, the oldest continuously published paper west of the Mississippi -- a newspaper Mark Twain used to write for -- went out of business. The Union had a strong bias as well that was the opposite of the Bee's so it was interesting and enlightening to read both. I believe a lot is lost when any paper closes its doors and the thought of this statecapital with no local newspaper is devastating.

I'd welcome your thoughts.
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Old 04-19-2009, 02:09 PM
 
119 posts, read 472,843 times
Reputation: 63
The places where newspapers are folding are places with more than one local newspaper.

Its sounds like you don't like the editorial content of the Bee, yet you want to continue to see it survive. I don't know why you subscribe, but I do it for the advertisements. I figure what I save from coupon's each week pretty much pays for the cost of getting the newspaper.

There are certain types of products that are just better suited to advertising in print. The grocery ads in the newspaper allow you to compare the prices of different goods at different stores. When the grocery stores run ads on tv or radio, they really can't do that type of comparison type ads. There are a lot products like this. When I was looking to get new tires for my car, I wanted to look at the ads that showed the price of tires by my car's tire size. That is the type of ad that works best in the newspaper.

The problem with online, is that its much tougher to target the right audience. No one site has particularly large market share and your ad would miss everyone who isn't online. Moreover there is no way of targeting them directly at a specific address. There is little proof to advertisers that your email account is correlated with your actual physical address. Most mass mailings I get online, are screened out of my system as spam.

For this type of adverting the Bee's biggest competitor is direct mail. But between the cost of delivering the paper to its subscibers and the advertising circular it delivers to people who don't subscribe to the paper, the Bee can deliver an ad cheaper than it can be sent out in a direct mail piece.

This is why I don't see the newspaper ever actually going away completely.

But I do think it will continue to shrink a lot. There are a lot of places where online advertising is cheaper than in the paper. Craigslist pretty much has captured the classified adversting market. I see no reason for the local newpaper to continue to provide stock listings. The people who want information about a specfic stock are going to look up the richer data available on line.

I think newspapers will start charging for content along the lines of what Alan Murray proposed.

Five tips on charging for content from Alan Murray of WSJ.com | Bridging the gap between print and technology (http://www.newspaperwebdesign.com/node/100 - broken link)

McClatchy may go bankrupt because they borrowed a lot of money to buy a lot newspapers from Knight Ridder and the local housing market in a lot of the markets they are serving is really bad, so the local advertising market is probably much worse than they imagined at the time of their takeover Knight Ridder.

But even if they go bankrupt, I doubt that these markets will not continue to be served by a newspaper. I suspect someone will buy these newspapers from the creditors, probably for less money than McClatchy paid Knight Ridder.
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Old 04-19-2009, 02:36 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,601 posts, read 33,080,249 times
Reputation: 29160
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattinsac View Post
Its sounds like you don't like the editorial content of the Bee, yet you want to continue to see it survive. I don't know why you subscribe, but I do it for the advertisements. I figure what I save from coupon's each week pretty much pays for the cost of getting the newspaper.
No I don't but it goes back the the tactile pleasure I mentioned and the fact that it's a far better source of local news than the sounmd bites that pass for broadcast news nowadays; and you're right about the ads.

If nothing else the Bee's editorial policies get me going in the morning. They kinda kick-start me and give me something to complain about, without which no true curmudgeon would long survive.
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:10 PM
 
Location: Sacramento
13,863 posts, read 24,637,304 times
Reputation: 6599
Actually, I have been a Bee subscriber since arriving in Sacramento a few years ago. However, as of last month I cancelled my subscription. It is the first time in my life that I haven't had a newspaper delivered to my home.

My reasons are the continuing lessening of the paper content. They have significantly reduced business news, and reduced the outside columnists contributing to the printed paper. The final touch was when they changed the delivery method, no longer using a plastic bag but using a rubber band to hold the paper together. My front page was torn everyday, and frequently partially unreadable. I called and let the Bee know, and they suggested I tape the page.

I had a better idea...
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Old 04-21-2009, 01:53 PM
 
1,020 posts, read 1,607,525 times
Reputation: 394
I know nationally that daily newspapers are having problems, but what about the weekly newspapers. In Sacramento, you have newpapers like the Sacramento Business Journal and the News and Review. Are these newsweeklies loosing their audience or advertisers to the internet and if not why not?

Its seems to me that one option for something like the Bee would be to go to the weekly format. A lot of the advertisers in the Bee seem to advertise just once a week, like Fry's or even the grocery stores. Why not deliver a lot of this advertising once a week all together. One paper with the grocery listings, ads for the big box retailers etc. That issue should still be very profitable.

In terms of timeliness, for breaking news it seems like the internet, radio and tv are better formats. A newspapers natural advantage seems to be more a long the lines of in depth reporting. Once a week they could tell you when the city government meetings are being held and what the topics are, but they could also give you more background about the consequences of decisions. Perhaps ideas on how to bring back Florin Road or redevelop the sites of the old Air Force Bases. That type of content.
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