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At the DMN, Sales Folk Rule the Roost, Ctd.

Here’s a dispatch from inside the newsroom:

Everybody is disgruntled, to put it mildly, over the newsroom reorganization making editors answerable to ad sales people. It sucks. How could you not hate it? The problem is that a lot of us sit around complaining how bad everything is, but nobody has an idea about how we can save the newspaper. Personally, I think this is a bad idea, but if you ask me to come up with a better one, I can’t, and I doubt any of my colleagues can, either. ..It’s not like any of us can point to a newspaper somewhere else and say, “Look, they’re doing it right — let’s copy that strategy!” My guess is that the Mong memo will convince more writers and editors to get their resumes out there, because they’re not going to want to work in that kind of journalism environment. I get this, but we shouldn’t have any illusions about the situation that the newspaper industry is in. We’re at the brink. Newspapers that want to survive are going to have to start doing things they never imagined they’d be doing in healthier times. Don’t get me wrong, I hate this new strategy. But I prefer doing something bold to sitting back and doing the same old thing, and hoping that things will get better if we just sit tight.

That makes me reflect. You know, it’s easy for the rest of us to react with shock and outrage. But we don’t work there.

11 comments on “At the DMN, Sales Folk Rule the Roost, Ctd.

  1. Maybe the DMN newsroom could assign a reporter or two to the Global Warming Hoax and actually print a story about it becoming the first major newspaper to cover it, apologize to their readers for not investigating the Global Warming “facts” for the past decade or so and actually expose the financial reasons that the “scientists” had for not telling the truth about global warming. That might be a start to restoring credibility which would attract or bring back more readers which would attract more advertisers.

  2. I don’t know if they still do this, but some time ago, Las Ultimas Noticias (www.lun.com), a paper in Chile, used to decide which stories to feature the next day based in part on which stories (or types of stories) the readership clicked on that day.

    How is this different (featuring stories that advertisers want to click on)?

    We long ago accepted the evening news to be driven by eyeballs and advertisers? What’s so holy about the DMN?

  3. Are there any publications which operate (successfully) on the NPR/PBS business model?

    Not-for-profit, independent of stockholders and politics, raises funds from core-audience, access to some federal funds, etc.

  4. As a business model, I can see the downside of giving one-star to one of your biggest restaurant advertisers. Would the world have changed if they had just decided not not review such an old restuarant in the first place?

    And having half of the food staff working overtime on a week of dining that brings ad revenue only to a competitor (OK, so a different medium) would make me cringe. Does it really take a business major to see the money on the table?

    It used to be people would scootchie up to you while you read the Guide and ask “so who was reviewed?” – completely unnecessary now that the review is printed on-line two days before the print product. Does no one have to pay for information anymore?

    We want more local, but import a restaurant reviewer from the West Coast. Does anyone get 5 stars for their efforts when based on that history of food?

  5. maybe the DMN should be less raw raw on somethings and more skeptical. I’m talking about the rivuh.

    or better yet why not do a little more investigation into why South Dallas is so hard to develop. could local politics being playing a significant role

    or investigate the issue of voter fraud. why does it take two youngsters to expose ACORN for what it is?

    how about more hard reporting about the Mexican consulates efforts to help illegal aliens

    report the local stuff first then worry about the national and the international. if you’re going to report the national and international look at it objectively (ie no bias) and put a local spin on it

  6. Will someone explain to me how this is a “bold” move?

    And no doubt DB will get his wish when hometown Exxon starts taking out whole page ads on the “myth” of Global Warming.

  7. Uhm… it’s not a strategy. It’s abandoning a code of ethics. Part of what newspapers used to do is act as an editorial voice in the selection of their stories; if a story appeared in the paper, it was important. Moreso if it was on the front page. When people used to trust newspapers, this was good.

    But thanks to this and other stupid moves, people don’t trust editors anymore. Even though one would think that the overload of information nowadays makes this function more, not less important – so letting advertisers dictate what gets play is even MORE depressing.

    No, we’re not in their shoes. But somebody there needs to grow a friggin’ back bone. (I always think about this piece: http://www.nypress.com/article-9701-shoveling-coal-for-satan.html)

    (Also: Global Warming HOAX? Are you SERIOUS?)

  8. I’m mildly curious why you, Wick, or any of your editors have not voiced an opinion on this change.

  9. C’mon people. All editors report to a publisher. That publisher also is in charge of all advertising. So that publisher is the head of the sales dept.

    Wick is a publisher…and he knows darn well that balancing the sales and news needs is a delicate thing.

  10. Sarah – You won’t read about it in the DMN or hear about it on the networks because they have chosen to not investigate the facts but instead fell for the hoax. I fell for it in the ’70′s when the “coming ice age” had some influence on my move to Dallas from up north. Don’t take my word for it but google “climategate” and decide for yourself.