Posted April 17, 2009 9:09 am by with 4 comments

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I know it has everything to do with journalistic integrity and it is the right thing to do but when a newspaper the stature of the New York nyt-logoTimes reports on the cuts it must make to its sections to ‘survive’ it’s still sad.

The Times announcement is almost dog piling the evidence of just how bad things are for newspapers in the current environment. We have reported it here quite bit but it is important for the Internet marketing crowd to see what is happening to be able to see what opportunities may arise from this shift in the balance of power in media.

My hope is that newspapers will be able to do what radio did when it was proclaimed dead with the advent of TV about 60 years ago. Radio has become very viable again and has made the transition to online in a way that makes it important again. Is it as important as it was from a pure numbers standpoint? Maybe not but it is more relevant than ever because it can segment consumers for advertisers in ways that are very valuable. It has adapted and found its place in the new world order of media.

Will newspapers be able to make the transition? Too early to tell. The changes that the Times announced were removing sections and combining other areas to cut back on traditional costs like ink and paper for its print runs. Here’s a list of some of the casualties:

  • Eliminate the Friday Escapes travel section
  • Reduced local area focus
  • The magazine will no longer have a regular Fashion feature

These efforts are all in hopes of keeping the newspaper viable without having to make too many more staff cuts and pay reductions. As talked about here the Times also owns the Boston Globe and has gone as far as threatening to shutter the paper if unions do not cooperate to create better economic efficiencies.

What I didn’t see that was probably more upsetting is the effort to improve the online presence and possibly even recognize that the shift that is occurring almost everywhere else is also being recognized by newspapers. Of course, just moving online isn’t a silver bullet because some papers are not even seeing that work as well as hoped.

Maybe the industry has done so much harm to itself from an integrity standpoint that the consumers of news etc are saying that they want different sources regardless of the delivery vehicle. Who knows but all things to be considered when looking at this sea change that is occurring across one of the most prominent traditional media outlets there is.

  • I find it incredibly sad t hat newspapers are going down the drain. I guess I shouldn’t quite dismiss them yet but I’m afraid that’s how it’s looking. I mean, let’s face it; technically, newspapers ARE obsolete- you don’t NEED them to get your news. But what will we have come to if they truly disappear? It will be as much an iconic loss as it is just plain sad. Great post, hopefully it will get people to care!

  • You summed up their woes perfectly – they sacrificed their integrity to promote an ideology and now they have found out that idealists don’t buy ads or subscriptions.

    Chris Wysocki’s last blog post..Stop breathing, the CO you exhale causes global warming

  • The New York Times has an in-house SEO team. If that team isn’t going away I would not be too concerned about their online strategy just yet.

  • @ Michael Martinez I think it’s fair to say that just having an SEO team is more symbolic unless they are really tearing it up. I honestly have not taken a look around to see how ‘well’ they are doing but in general the larger the company, the bigger the bureaucracy the harder it is to get SEO done. But hey at least they are thinking that way

    Frank Reed’s last blog post..The Genesis of Twitter