Some newspaper thoughts

First, congratulations to Lord Black on a small victory before the Supreme Court. Lord Black ran Hollinger and has faced some persecution by the US government over allegations he cheated shareholders. You can read more about the Supreme Court’s decision in a story below. But one important point about Black, he was a successful newspaperman.

According to Mark Steyn at NRO, “For the rest of us, it’s worth noting that, even before the industry’s recent difficulties, very few people know how to run newspapers. Conrad did. The Chicago Sun-Times, The National Post and the Southam papers in Canada, the Telegraph Group in London, and many others are all worse without him.”

Running a newspaper takes a combination of talents. You must control expenses without alienating your employees. Perhaps most important of all is finding the right gearing ratio; if you have too much debt it will strangle your operation, and this can be a major problem in publishing today.

Second, did anyone notice a Washington Post blogger resigned after saying some mean things about the conservatives he was supposed to cover? (see story here.)

I’ve said before and will continue to say that media bias is a serious problem. Reporters fail to represent (or reflect) the public. If you look at research into the views of the media, it shows liberals tend to dominate. What troubles me the most is not the political divide, but rather the cultural divide. The 2008 Pew Research Center released its survey of Journalists and revealed only 8 percent of journalists attended church or synagogue every week. Conversely, over 40 percent of the adult population attended church or synagogue weekly based on research from groups like Gallup and Barna. When reporters are so much more liberal and so much less religious than the general population, how can they deliver a product worthy of a democracy?

Finally, this was reported last week on, “The Birmingham News, Mobile Press-Register and The Huntsville Times an¬nounced Wednesday they will coordinate some political and sports coverage through the creation of shared bureaus.”

Need more proof that these newspapers are dying?

Why are they facing a shrinking readership and reduced advertising?

They aren’t delivering a product people want to read. Again, look at the two issues mentioned earlier in this post—the two things critical to newspaper success. These two things are good leadership and quality staff that reflects the people the newspaper serves. Does anyone believe these failing newspapers have good leadership? The Birmingham News is now run by an Auburn fan. Does anyone believe the staff reflects the sports values of the public?

Does anyone believe this coordination will result in better coverage of the Alabama Crimson Tide?


Add Yours
  1. 2

    Conservatives my ass.There is nothing conservative about a never ending war.Stick to football or die.

  2. 3

    Huh? Since the blog launched I have and will continue to comment on the media. The biggest problem in the media is that a super majority of reporters and editors are liberals. This has been the case since at least the 1980s and no doubt as far back as the 1960s (but I haven’t seen the research so I can’t comment for certain.) This materially impacts the product produced by newspapers and that translates to the bottom line.

    That isn’t a political statement, but a simple statement about a business that highly correlates to football coverage in this state produced by the Birmingham News.

  3. 4

    what does it mean when you have to go to the rolling stone magazine to get an objective view of the goings on in today’s world???

    newspapers (and especially the one’s in this state) are waiting on their bailout. it’s ok, for instance, to pile on b p over the spill. but the fact is b p did nothing in the run-up to that explosion the government didn’t approve. now if you can find somebody in the state media who’s wrote that i’ll kiss your ass and give you thirty minutes to draw a crowd.

    these guys are afraid to write something critical of the obama administration for fear of sacrificing the media bailout i’ll bet they’ve been told is coming.

    money is driving the train as much now as it ever did under the evil bush/cheney regime.

  4. 5

    I’m all for a media bailout.

    As long as blogs are included.

    I value my “losses” from BP at $115 million. All the oil in the gulf reduced the people using the Internet because so many people were working on cleanup. I think I lost about $1 billion from the economic and advertising downturn. This was no doubt caused by Wall Street and its trickiness. (The Wall Street trickiness in no way should be seen to apply to Goldman Sachs of which I own stock.)

    I’ll be waiting on my check. I’ll also be happy to write about the wonderful things going on in our government and how swell a guy Hugo Chavez is too!

  5. 7

    Yeah. There is going to be some kind of Bail-Out to compel the Papers to become much more friendly to the Government View. It is the creeping socialism.
    I have got to ask – If Randy Kennedy in Mobile is the De Facto Head of Sports – what does that mean and how does that affect Tom Arenburg’s Position as Sports Editor of the News ?

  6. 8

    I don’t know about what it means for Newhouse papers, but if I were running the company that person would be a prime target for early retirement. But I’m cheap like that.

  7. 9

    “that person would be a prime target for early retirement.”

    there’s certainly a precedent, eh?

    i spoke w/ mike bolton a while back. he told me after the latest round of layoffs at the snooze these same people were offered early reti. he said he couldn’t believe they didn’t take it.

    he did and now owns a crappy bbq joint.

    (mike, quit boiling your meat)

  8. 11

    from “doctor zero” at

    “Here we cross the line between editorial decisions and bias. Why would an unbiased newspaper be afraid to honestly report news that makes one side of a political debate look appealing, instead assigning a reporter to highlight fringe material to cast them in the most negative light possible? Of course, they are biased, but it’s even worse than that. They’re subjective. They pretend to be commentators, but they’re actually players in the game… just like everyone else. Our fates are all controlled by the immense central government worshipped by the Post. They have a vested interest in ensuring its sustained growth, so they can make their fortune writing epic tales of its heroic deeds.”

    that vested interest???

    government ching!

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