Friday, July 03, 2009

The end of a newspaper era

It looks like Today Newspapers, a group of south suburban Dallas newspapers, and my employer for most the last 9 and 1/2 years, less an eight-month hiatus, is now history.

Causes? Many.

The recession and the newspaper economy in general.

Others in particular? South suburban Dallas is tough. The Dallas Morning News never even tried to run a free-standing paper here, other than their (subsidized?) freebie tabs they do now in different parts of the Metroplex.

At the same time, in a Tar Baby style dysfunctional relationship, many civic leaders in the “Best Southwest” suburbs have, for years, done what I call “whoring after the Morning News,” riffing on the Old Testament prophets’ comments about Israel “whoring after the Ba’als.”

Schadenfreude, in a large glass says, Fine, now you have the News, or either a small daily paper with unaudited circulation which doesn’t run school lunch menus, honor rolls and more, to cover your area.

And, some of the problems were peculiar to our staff. Without going into details, or throwing people too far under the bus, we never did get much in the way of online ad sales from our staff, who never seemed that interested in learning more about doing online sales, sales techniques for online ads, etc. (Of course, one of our ad reps claimed she could always get a job up at the News, which wasn’t likely even before all of its cuts.)

I do feel sorry for people in our area who will miss us and know what they’re missing. As for the rest, no.

The actual ending? To riff on George Santayana, both tragedy and farce at the same time. Pettiness from our webmaster, taking down all news stories off the website, because somebody else had already "moved" CDs with archived digital hardcopy pages, photos, etc.

Beyond that, I’ve been wanting out of newspaper journalism more and more. If I have to stay in it shorter-term, fine. But, I know there are other things that better fit my skills and acumen, even if I didn’t go to the right Ivy League or other school.

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