Fall budgeting often means deciding the fate of a magazine; union announces 46 layoffs at Philly newsrooms
Morning Brief: CIO Magazine goes digital-only, All You is shuttered, and Lucky Magazine finally has a folk stuck in it – expect a few more such announcements before the holidays
The print magazine business has had a bad few weeks as a number of titles have been shuttered or gone digital-only. Time Inc. announced the end of All You, while the publisher of IDG’s CIO Magazine said that the November issue would be the last seen in print as the title pursues a digital-only strategy.
“I know this leap to digital is a shift in the way you think about CIO. Most, if not all, of the print magazines in tech media have closed their doors in recent years, and we bucked the trend to go all-digital longer than most,” publisher Adam Dennison told readers late last week.
“But we’ve written and talked about digital transformation so much over the past few years, it’s time for us to participate in the same challenges and successes our readers are experiencing.”
Like a lot of magazines that have decided to go digital, CIO Magazine had chosen to outsource its digital edition strategy and so have no fallback position when it comes to what happens to that app – it will simply go away. For so many publishers, “digital” means the web, and “digital editions” means presenting a print product in an unreadable digital form.
For editors worrying about the fate of their print magazines maybe it is time to begin to take their digital editions more seriously. There are few examples of a print magazine folding but retaining its digital edition, but the reason is that far too many publishers see their digital editions as simply an extension of print. From a business perspective, this is malpractice. After all, there are plenty of examples of cases where a title is folded, but then still sold off to be published by the old publishing team or another publisher. Reed Business Information folded a number of titles at the end of 2009, and months later announced announced that they had sold the assets. All needed to return to print because there was no alternative.
Mashable yesterday wrote about the demise of Lucky magazine, saying it will finally be put to bed (I thought it already had).
Last week the owner of the Philadelphia daily newspapers announced that the newsrooms of the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com would be merged – and, yes, there would be layoffs,
“It’s a difficult day for everyone in our organization, most of all those who will be losing their jobs,” the company said in a statement. “Like every media organization in America, we are going through a necessary restructuring to meet the realities and demands of a changing market. Out of respect for the individuals impacted, we will not be commenting further on this internal, personnel-related process. We have contracted with a highly-respected outplacement firm to help these good folks find work as soon as possible.”
Hardest hit was the newsroom of Philly.com as reports say that 17 of the 30 staff positions would be eliminated. The Daily News also lost a large percentage of its newsroom. Though 10 position being cut seems like a small number, it represents about a quarter of the staff.
Everyone, literally everyone knows where we go from here. It has been apparent for years that there is no need for two papers and three newsrooms in Philadelphia. While The Inquirer has a daily circulation of around 156,000, The Daily News is at 44K.
The problem, of course, is implementing the strategy, getting the union onboard, and completely rethinking what kind of newspaper organization they want to have going forward – of course, this usually occurs after a company has filed for bankruptcy. The good news is that the papers actually have experience with that.
Google has released an update for its iOS app for Google Maps. The update might appear to be minor, something that doesn’t grab your attention, but I think it is more significant that it first appears.
It is a minor thing, I suppose. But since 2010 I have argued that media companies are missing out by not making their apps more interactive, encouraging readers to contribute information, content. Some news apps adopted this strategy for a while.
Back in February of 2010 I wrote about what the Minnesota company DoApp was adding to their mobile apps:
DoApp’s news app also contains a nice citizen journalist feature: the ability to contribute photos and videos. The reader can click the submit banner located on the top of every page news home page and enter a new page. The reader uploads the image or video, enters their name and e-mail address, and composes a description — basically writing the story. I would think this would be very handy in covering high school sports — an area notoriously difficult and cumbersome for many newspapers.
I think publishers missed a huge opportunity here, though they may still be able implement this strategy.
Readers should be able to communicate directly through news apps – both to the paper, and to each other. This is one way it might be possible to resurrect classified advertising, for instance. While I doubt readers would want to buy classified ads their the news app – and Apple would likely want a share of the money – they could place ads for free, building up a readership for classifieds once again.
Many younger newspaper executives may not have been in the business when classifieds were a major revenue driver. But what many may not know is that classifieds were also a major driver of readership. When surveyed, readers often said the classified sections were a top reason for reading the paper. At one alt-weekly in LA, I know that readers said it was the number one reason for picking up the paper each week.