“So, by cutting the section and laying people off, you’re improving the paper to attract more readers and advertisers. Right? Because what advertisers want most is less business coverage. Correct? And what readers are begging for is a smaller, less complete, duller product. Have I got the business strategy right?” – “Johnny” in opinion posted at Journalnow.com
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – If you read the newspaper for business news, more changes are coming your way.
The Winston-Salem Journal said Thursday that it is eliminating its daily separate Business section except on Sundays. Citing economic reasons, the newspaper said two pages for news and stocks will be added to the daily local section.
The bet here is that the Journal’s move is far from the only one that will be made by newspapers. Many have already eliminated or reduced dramatically the amount of space devoted to stock listings.
With papers like the Journal daring to fold Business into another section, others will follow the trend in order to save costs.
Not everyone greeted the news warmly, as “Johnny’s” comment posted on the Journalnow Web site shows.
Of course, another reader complained that the newspaper is still too large to get through quickly each day. You can’t please everyone.
However, I believe Johnny’s comment captures the feeling of many readers who remain committed to newspapers in print. Fewer pages, fewer sections, smaller staff, less news – why subscribe?
The Journal said its Web site continues to grow, and newspapers around the country find comfort in growing online audience numbers. But virtually all newspapers are available for free online, and the Web advertising model continues to evolve. There are no guarantees that growing Web readership means a corresponding link in online advertising revenue.
By continuing to make cuts like the Journal and others are carrying out they are giving subscribers more reasons to NOT subscribe.
What separate sections will go next? What newsroom positions will go next?
Some New Zealand papers recently announced plans to outsource some editing functions. Just wait. U.S. newspapers will jump on that trend, too.
Then readers like Johnny will be talking to copyeditors in Singapore or Bangalore when their name is misspelled and they call for a correction.