Saturday, March 29, 2008

About American Newspapers (Post 1)

A reader responded to The life and death of the American newspaper posted today.

The reader’s comment follow in italics, with my interlinear comments in plain.

It is simple arithmetic.

According to Reuters here, five years ago The McClatchy News Company’s stock (symbol MNI) sold at about $60 per share.

McClatchy owns The Raleigh News & Observer.

Two years ago the N&O published a series of grossly biased, racially inflammatory and often false reports about what it called “the Duke lacrosse rape scandal.” At the time, again using Reuters here, MNI sold at about $50. per share.

Reuters says MNI closed yesterday just below $11. per share.

On the record, McClatchy execs and N&O editors are very upbeat about MNI.

I guess that has something to do with "the arithmetic" they learn in J school.

Newspapers simply cannot continue to alienate half their readers and expect to reap the same profits as they did prior to their industry wide decision to be flacks for the left wing.

Your right on that. And liberal/leftist newspapers like the N&O don’t help themselves with informed people when they deny their news bias and launch advertising campaigns (at readers’ expense) touting themselves as “fair and accurate.”

Arrogance and hubris have destroyed American journalism and they don't even know it.

The arrogant attitude of many in American journalism has certainly been a major contributor to the low esteem and distrust most Americans have for our newspapers.

Your comment has given me an idea. I’ll run a five-part series starting Monday giving examples of the N&O’s arrogance.

The Associated Press, for example, continues to write news stories that are nothing more than opinion pieces.


AP now stands for Agenda Press.

But most news organizations won’t admit that. Bald face denial is part of their agenda.

Local newspapers purchase these [AP] stories and discredit themselves.

Well, yes. But most of them do plenty on their own to discredit themselves.

I'll bet you agree.

Circulation falls off.

It sure does.

But I’m betting that tomorrow when the N&O talks about it’s future, it will spin its circulation decline the past five years in the percent of population in its circulation area who subscribe or buy “at the rack.”

N&O executive editor for news John Drescher gave a very strong, if unintended, hint of that spin when he posted at the Editors’ Blog saying tomorrow he'd "describe our growth in readership (when print and online readers are combined)"

The real story here, though, is that newspaper editors remain clueless as to why all this is happening.

I think I know what you mean.

The N&O’s public editor Ted Vaden wants to bar readers from commenting if they don’t give their names. Many of those readers point out N&O errors.

Many of them say, to take just one example, that the N&O should retract and apologize for its deliberately fraudulent March 25, 2006 story which it told readers was about “sex crimes” and an “ordeal” a “victim” endured which “finally” ended in “sexual violence.”

But at the N&O, those readers are, in the words of its former executive editor for news Melanie Sill, just “people who want to bash us.”

Their professional lives continue to take place in a bubble while the bubble chorus continues pumping them up with lies. So sad.

Sad, indeed, but true.

Thank you to the Commenter.

Folks, I plan to say more tomorrow about American newspapers, particularly the N&O.


mac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thanks John

In your post "What's the future of the N&O", you quoted Drescher mentioning they would write something up in the N&O's "Sunday’s Q".

One of the articles I caught there was Changes affect newspapers' bottom line, by Orage Quarles III. On page 2 he writes; "...We have a mission to advance our tradition of excellent public-service journalism and serve our community."

That line is open to opinions! The balance of what he tells us was an interesting job of explaining what his goals are and what he anticipates, limited to the short article.

I then read Drescher's The N&O is winning new readers. Without pasting all of what he told us, the basics were that their reader count is up. That leaves me with questions!

One certainly has to wonder how they do this counting. If I read the print paper, they'd count me as 1 (or 2.4 maybe going by what he tells us), no matter how many of the articles within it I read. Does the online counter ring up a new reader every time a page is opened, does it count me as two readers if I come back to that same web page again, or is there a system in place that identifies me and only counts me as a single reader in those situations?

It's not my intention to disprove the 'good news' count of readers here, I'm simply curious how they come up with it. Most counter systems used to track traffic for advertisers on a web page counts the "hits", so it could be the same reader coming back or who had read various other web pages at the N&O, meaning every time that page is opened, it's a hit. I have personally clicked the same page to run up the hits before just playing around to see how a particular counter worked on sites that display their user count.


Anonymous said...

I don't believe the decline in newspaper readership has anything to do with the political leanings of the publishers.

Via the Internet, I follow news stories from newspapers all over the world and the newspapers are not collecting a penny from me (oh I may have hit an advertising link or two, but it was by mistake).