Wednesday, July 31, 2013

As the ink dries

We kind of lack a place for meta-media news coverage in town.  Usually not much to comment on, but there is today just up the turnpike at the other end of Cleveburgh.  Just one of those mysteries in town is how we have two daily newspapers still operating.  Lots of places, to include major metros, have a hard time keeping even a single daily newspaper operating.  Appears that the PD is following others with major changes in what they put into 'print'.. Cleveland is a city and region pretty much the same size as Pittsburgh. The Plain Dealer is pretty much the only major seller of ink up there, yet still appears to be struggling.  How can two nearly identical (market wise) places be so different when it comes to ink-based information distribution? My hypothesis is that our two-paper competition is why we still have daily newspapers in Pittsburgh. If either major paper existed on its own, I bet they might feel empowered to cut back production much as is happening elsewhere.

One result this morning is the big news is that the Cleveland Plain Dealer is laying off an unknown as yet number of its workers.  Not the first big set of layoffs at the Plain Dealer either.  Just a few years ago the PD ran a really positive story about Pittsburgh:Pittsburgh's renaissance holds lesson for Cleveland, and the writer of the story was laid off the very next day. Coincidence I am sure, but ironic. 

You can keep an eye on developments via media pundit Jim Romenesko or a Save the Plain Dealer Facebook page.


Blogger Jason Togyer said...

There's another possible factor --- Advance Publications (owner of the Cleveland Plain Dealer) is a much larger corporation than either Block Communications (owner of the P-G) or Trib Total Media.

Although it's not publicly traded, they likely have much larger creditors and investors than Block (which is closely held by members of the Block family) or the Trib (which, as far as I know, is held 100% by Richard M. Scaife Publisher Inc.).

So --- Advance has much less emotional connection to the quality of a product such as the Cleveland Plain Dealer than the Block heirs or Mr. Scaife have to their Pittsburgh papers.

A lot of people argue that daily journalism in the U.S. can trace its decline not just to the Internet, but to the increased influence of venture capitalists on the media business, beginning in the '90s.

I doubt there's much venture capital involved at either the P-G or the Trib --- therefore, there's less pressure to improve short-term earnings.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 2:28:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

and from what I hear RMS has trust set up which will mind the gap for the Trib long into the future, making any modest deficits a moot point into the future.

the economic point is that the PD , being the sole supplier of newsprint, as it were, is relatively free to cut back how much news it supplies market much like any monopolist. If one or the other of the local papers here did something similar you might expect the other to try and take market share.

Ironic in that the competitive outcome here results from the two papers being immune to some of the bigger competitive forces out there.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 4:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CB has a line on RMS estate planning?! Stop the presses!

Monday, August 05, 2013 11:26:00 AM  
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