Thursday, July 15, 2010

Gannett's announcement on centralizing design is unintentionally funny

Sometimes media news can make you laugh out loud. This morning's example came from reading a story about how Gannett will be consolidating design in five locations across the U.S. It's the typical story these days with a corporation using computers and the Internet to cut jobs by consolidating positions in a far-away location, and it's something that has been foreshadowed by other media companies consolidating design, including some who are outsourcing to India.

Gannett's announcement says it will locate the jobs in Louisville, Asbury Park, Nashville, Des Moines and Phoenix. OK so far. Actually design is one aspect that can easily be transferred to another area. Then the announcement, as reported by the Louisville Courier-Journal and that doesn't say how many jobs are going to be cut, goes on to report that "Some copy editing positions will remain at individual newspapers," indicating that at least some copy editing would be done locally where copy editors have a sense for the communities. This was followed by the "laugh out loud" statement: "The consolidation is intended to allow Gannett outlets 'to focus on - and protect - the creation of unique local content,' the memo said."

In other words, to focus on "the creation of unique local content," Gannett is transferring work away from local control to strangers who have only a vague idea of where, say, Green Bay is.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Magazine industry stabilizing?

In a sign of stability, MediaDailyPost reports that the magazine industry has reached some sort of equilibrium with a net gain of three magazine titles last year (measured by subtracting the 87 titles that folded from the 90 new ones). Significantly, those numbers are both way down from the previous year, which saw 187 new titles but 279 folding).

Meanwhile, magazine ad pages rose in the second quarter, a decided improvement over their big tumble a year earlier. Sure, it was only a 0.8 percent gain, but that beats the heck out of the 9.4 percent decline in the first quarter. This was the first increase in more than two years.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Are there too many journalists?

Are there too many journalists? That's the provocative question asked by this blog, which uses numbers to show no correlation between size of staff and newspapers sold. Even better are some of the points made in comments, especially one by Judy Sims of SimsBlog, who points out the importance (not mentioned in the analysis) of promotion and advertising. By the way, her blog is fast becoming one of my favorites. I'd especially recommend her current post, "If Newspapers Cease to Be, There Will be Two Causes of Death," in which she only gives one, promising the next in up upcoming post.

Good news: Paris Hilton no longers sells magazines

We're always looking out for "good" media news, a category I'd place this report that Paris Hilton is not only no longer a magazine cover "seller" but a negative. Unlike the recent past, this annual survey from GfK MRI, which looks at trends in magazine cover sales, found that Hilton was a negative, along with stories on "green" issues, negative feelings and most celebrity scandal. "Good" sellers include Barack Obama, George W. Bush, some celebrities (Jennifer Aniston, for example) and issues such as the economy, beach bodies and "best of . . ." stories.