It’s gotten to be kinda like Groundhog Day, you know, the movie…
Every handful or so of months the powers that be at the Kansas City Star issue some sort of interoffice memo about how things are looking up and even toss in a cocktail party for the ad execs to celebrate. And then – whammo! – the next thing anybody knows, here comes another round of layoffs and or cutbacks.
Bait and switch? You make the call.
Star publisher Mi-Ai Parrish set out some goodies to celebrate the latest round of “good news” to help make up for the newspaper’s recent gift of a mandatory week’s unpaid vacation to be taken in the first half of this year.
“Folks,” Parrish memo begins. “I’ve scattered some treats in the Living Room, Newsroom Reception Area, The Landing, Circulation/Edit Board and the Press Break Room this morning to share some of the sweet news around Our Star…”
Parrish’s good news:
“The Kansas City Star was No. 1 in page views in McClatchy in January, with year-over-year growth of more than 3 million page views. This is especially cool, as our paywall launched Dec. 5.”
To put those numbers in perspective however, the Star‘s new “paywall” – that severely limits non subscriber’s access to the newspaper’s website and requires a monthly or annual fee for full access – was only in place for less than one month of the last year being measured.
Raising the obvious question of how much if any falloff in traffic has there been since the Star started charging?
Not much, if any, is what management has been putting out, sources say.
However, according to the web information company Alexa, traffic on kansascity.com has fallen off more than 15 percent in the past month.
No small thing.
Meanwhile, back at 18th & Grand the Star launched its new online look and “Radio commercials start tomorrow,” Parrish’s memo continues.
And as reported here last month, the slimming down of the Star‘s print edition is nearing fruition, Parrish reports.
“Work on the wed-width project is moving forward on time and on target,” she writes. ” ‘Danke’ to our partners from Germany and the team pushing hard to meet our complicated goals.”
The flip side of Parrish’s treat?
That same day, February 7th, parent McClatchy posted a net loss of $30 million in its fourth quarter earnings report.
Meaning unfortunately that sweet treats aside, the beat goes on.