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Monday, October 26, 2009

New captain for the Titanic

The O's official paid weekday circulation has dropped below 250,000, and continues to fall. Both it and the paper's paid Sunday circulation (teetering close to the 300,000 mark) are down 12 percent from last year.

Into this gloom comes a new publisher. A guy named Chris Anderson, a native Oregonian who spent many years running the Orange County Register, is coming to Portland to preside over the city's daily. One of his early duties will be to start laying off people who for many years were told not to worry, they'd never be laid off. Good luck to him.

Comments (16)

Layoffs won't stop the death spiral. They need to refocus on news. How quickly they forget that we want digging. Find the scandals. And, yes, there are scandals to uncover. We don't want to know 101 uses for kale or how to make our dogs vegans. We want to know who's hand is in the cookie jar and who's meeting whom in the men's room.

The failure is clearly foreshadowed in the quote graf:

"This is a very challenging time for newspaper-based news businesses, but at the same time there are many opportunities to strengthen how we serve advertisers and readers in print and online. The Oregonian is important to Oregonians and we will strive to make it more so in the months and years ahead."

He puts serving advertisers ahead of readers. Ergo, nothing but cosmetic changes coming at the Zerogonian. Hence, nothing but continued decline to follow.

Giving credit where credit is due, I thought the piece in Sunday's paper on PERS was one of the best (an accurate, thoughtful treatment of a comolicated subject) I have ever seen in the Oregonian. Bob Wiggins

The quality of the news content (whatever one may think of it) is not what's killing the O. It's the internet, coupled with management who aren't up to the task of coping with the internet. The paper's dippy editorial stances are probably a slight minus as well.

It's just a big, mature corporation in an industry without a workable business model.

Yeah, I saw the breakdown on newspaper circulation, too. Gee, when the Dallas Morning News finally goes under and forces its readership (these days, consisting almost solely of little old ladies who sent their grandchildren to fight Sherman and Grant) to pick up something that isn't a longhand version of "The Limbaugh Letter", I think we're going to have to pause and consider the value of the standard sole daily newspaper in our times. And then throw a big party as we listen to it scream on its way back to Hell.


Agree that The O can occassionally hit a triple, once in awhile even a homer, the PERS story being one of them. My only gripe with that particular story was that it did not explore the real anger and resentment we could see among taxpayers when their taxes go up and their services get cut to fund the pensions of government retirees and their guaranteed 8%, some of whom are working a second or even third (a la Randy) career.

I feel like it's important for my job to stay up on the local news. I honestly don't know what the alternative to the Oregonian would be? It isn't the greatest, but it would sure beat trying to piece together what's happening locally from the alternative weeklies, or (shudder) local TV news.

I agree. What's needed is a massive amount of attention paid to current events, especially government and big business. Even if the O survives on paper, it will be devoting less and less resources to that. Meanwhile, local government loads up its staffs with p.r. people to spin and obfuscate. It's not looking good for democracy.

Are European newspepers having similar troubles? How about Japan?

I'm guessing they have things like Craigslist in those parts of the world.

Be that as it may one big selling point is to do more in depth local stuff and give us more than one side of a story but I wouldn't count on it from the big O!

We are not alone in this.

Local conservatives, such as Don McIntire and The Executive Club, have been attempting to notify all of us (you) of the unsustainable nature of PERS for YEARS and YEARS. Ditto for urban renewal. Ditto for the police and fire pensions. Ditto for regulatory takings. Ditto for the outrageous and (say it again) unsustainable increases in local and state spending as compared to the ability of taxpayers to pay. Many of you don't like the messenger, so you've been unwilling to listen to these presagers. It's time to grow up and listen.

I gave up on The Oregonian a number of years ago for international news: I subscribe to The Economist and The Wall Street Journal. If my wife did not enjoy the crossword puzzles in The Oregonian, I would cancel our subscription at home and at the office. As a Beaverton resident, for relevant news, I subsribe to The Beaverton Valley Times. I do enjoy the metro section of The Oregonian, but it is only in the Thursday edition I find something of interest (too bad - no Harry Bodine, David Anderson or Jerry Boone or any of the other reporters who use to cover Washington County).
Damn it, I understand it is tough to run a business, I am 62 years old and will probably never be able to "retire", but every day I do my best and so do my employees.

Yes, good luck to him, and good luck to everybody too.

Newspaper circulation drop accelerates April-Sept
US newspaper circulation down 10.6 percent as rate of decline accelerates amid rising prices

* By Michael Liedtke, AP Business Writer
* On 6:50 pm EDT, Monday October 26, 2009

I was up in Vancouver, BC a month ago and the hotel gave me a complimentary copy of the Saturday Vancouver Sun. I was shocked by the large number of ads it has and all the news. It was like reading a Sunday Times. How come their newspaper is so voluminous?
Does anyone know???

Dittos Molly

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