In a perfect world I wouldn’t be writing what I’m about to write…
I’d be recuperating from hanging out until 3 a.m. in the Power & Light District, taking the measure of those pesky African-American flash mobs that threaten the struggling downtown entertainment Mecca.
Then, depending on my findings, I’d likely face a quandry.
Should I hold the story for my Wednesday print column? Or unleash it on the Star blog I was poised to set up on KansasCityCom. In other words, should the news come first online, or should the people who pay the bills – print subscribers – get first crack at it.
Therein lies a key dilemma facing the newspaper and print industries of yesteryear.
They can’t come close to replacing past profits in print while print readership is dying and/or wandering off. And now they’re forced to cut their own financial throats by breaking more and more news online to remain competitive.
Sending a clear message to all but the most clued out newspaper subscribers that they’re paying through the teeth to get sloppy journalistic seconds.
Add to that mix a sour economy that won’t quit and you have what amounts to a modern day boat ride on the Titanic.
Leaving beleaguered news staffers with little choice other than to huddle on the deck every three months – following each fiscal quarter – and await the inevitable. More bad news, more layoffs and more cutbacks.
Which brings us to the Star‘s parent company McClatchy, its gawdawful 2nd quarter earnings and its spanking new Star publisher, the lovely, the likeable and reportedly quite bright Mi-
Scarcely a month into her reign, Parish is faced with the grim reality of needing to make difficult cuts. That after McClatchy got hammered with earnings declines of 32 percent in advertising and circulation.
"Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services lowered McClatchy’s credit ratings further into junk territory in May, saying ad revenue declines are increasing, outweighing the company’s cost-cutting efforts," the Wall Street Journal reports. " Meanwhile, Moody’s Investors Service raised the company’s outlook to positive after it sold 14 acres and the building that houses the Miami Herald for $236 million in May"
Meanwhile, McClatchy has yet to unload the Star‘s magnificent, $250 million, downtown print pleasure dome. It stands as a haunting monument to bad timing and the future uncertainty of the print news industry. A world where fringe players like Borders Books and Barnes & Noble are fighting losing battles to market physical reading materials to the general public.
There is some small hope…
With the strong possibility that cuts will be announced as early as Monday, sources say odds are the Star will unfurl another round of furloughs. Mandatory, unpaid vacations staffers must take between now and year’s end.
As opposed to another broad lopping off of heads.
Those would be far kinder cuts. Shared suffering versus lottery-style plank walking. Which would allow Parrish to ease into her new role as Captain of the local news Titanic.
May the force be with her…