Praying about their next publisher in Louisville

“Oh dear God, what fresh hell is on the way now?”

— a Courier-Journal staffer, talking to alternative weekly LEO about an impending change in publishers at the Louisville paper.

9 Responses to “Praying about their next publisher in Louisville”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    That article nails the issue with this line: “…But the painful truth is that there’s no longer a business model for quality journalism.”

  2. Anonymous Says:

    sad thing though about the LEO is they’re having the same problems the CJ is. They were just bought out by someone in Nashville and just laid off the majority of their staff.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Re: Anon 1:29.

    That’s something that doesn’t get mentioned a lot. The “alternative” media is hurting almost as badly as we are.

    In Phoenix, New Times is a shadow of its former self. And talk about corporate culture corrupting journalism, look what New Times did to the Village Voice when they bought it. Gutted it.

    Sadly, the only reason the grass is greener on the other side of the fence is because that’s where the septic tank is.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Well, there was a time most alternative papers were locally owned. They sell to chains, for various reasons, and then they’re no longer alternative. The urban hipsters who read alt media don’t want the same drivel they can get from the daily media — chains un-alt their alt-weeklies.
    Plus, they’re expecting to grow profits. Alts live (and sometimes thrive) on the margins.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    …worse yet in Tucson is a great example of stupidity. To have a publisher with a Gannett background, daily newspaper taint, to run an alternative weekly. Don’t work. I know.

    Wick Communications is pretty lame.
    In the wrong business, like most.

    Gannett always tried to invent new ways to garner business. Forgetting the basics with absurd advertising rates.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    It really is a shame what happened to the Village Voice. It used to be such an enjoyable read, and there’s nothing that has risen up to replace it.

  7. stemmer Says:

    My name is Cary Stemle, and I edited LEO for 10 years until the recent sale, at which time I was let go. Frankly, I think I wore out my welcome. So it goes.

    The comment here about the new owners laying off most of the staff is flat-out wrong. Four of us were let go — editor, sales manager, distribution manager and a designer. The new owners have added some new faces and Id say they are redistributing their payroll expenses, but not drastically cutting them. Payroll may have grown.

    About alts and chain ownership …. It’s true that alts have changed and their owners, in many cases, are corporate — ie they own more than one paper and/or they’re not in the same city as the paper.

    but … there’s still a lot of alts doing good work with more editorial freedom than any daily i can think of. yes, it’s on the margins, but i think one facet of the new fragmented media world is that you can make a decent go of it by plying the spaces in between — ie the margins.

    alts do fall prey to some of the same market forces that are slamming mainstream print and broadcast, but alts are far from dead, and — here, you may accuse me of damnning with faint praise — many readers, especially your more engaged readers, still get a better bang for their editorial buck from alts than dailies. granted, that’s because dailies seem so compromised by now. and, it should be noted, alts are also good for a certain segment of advertisers, many of whom can’t afford to be in the dailies.

    So, I think it’s important to understand the scope of alts compared to mainstream print. Certainly alts show signs of strain from tough business times, and sometimes they cut back more than we’d like — Village Voice is a good example, as are the slightly less prominent Chicago Reader and Washington City Paper, which were bought last year by Atlanta-based Creative Loafing.

    That VC-backed deal represents a big play by CL, which already owned papers in Atlanta, Charlotte and Sarasota. The Reader and WCP have been highly respected over the years, and Creative Loafing did cut a lot of staff, including all of the designers (in favor of a centralized design shop serving all CL papers) and some experienced and well-regarded investigative reporters at the Reader, and that’s a clear example of where chain ownership has watered down the weeklies. But both papers still offer a style of writing and reporting that’s more probing, more independent and more stimulating – at least to many readers.

    The bottom line, to me, is that we’re all in a tough spot awaiting the full transition from old media to new media — with something like an analogous business model. Some of us may never live to see it reach full bloom — it’s incremental and slow, in practice, even though we know that folks do a lot of reading online. They’re just not as attuned to looking at ads online, and advertisers don’t want to (can’t) pay the same sorta bucks for online ads as they would for print. Especially now that the analytics tell you exactly how many people look at your ad, when in the old days, the advertiser basically trusted that their ads were being seen, with little real proof.

    We who work in print kinda know this intuitively, but no one has that magic 8 ball. so we just muddle through the best we can.

    Sorry for the ramble … I still think journalism is important and I consider it public service, not a great investment vehicle. Call me idealistic.


  8. Anonymous Says:

    Cary, Thank you for your thoughtful insight. It is very refreshing. I hope you’re right.

  9. stemmer Says:

    You’re welcome. The status quo seems like the classic Catch-22, but I’ll always think information and truth are important to a good society. I can’t tell you how many times I read reader comments on blogs saying that if media would drop the gimmicks and all the suck-up things and actually do good reporting, well, that’d be a decent business model.

    Who’s got the guts to go against the tide? We’ll see, eventually.

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