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Columbia Missourian

Efforts to save money will eliminate some regular print features

By Tom Warhover
January 11, 2008 | 3:00 p.m. CST
Tom Warhover is the Columbia Missourian's executive editor for innovation.

Starting Jan. 28, television listings will run in the daily print edition. The last TV Week, with Sunday through Saturday listings, will run on Jan. 27. The size of the daily edition will increase by two pages — one to accommodate the listings and the other for more news and advertising.

Also, Tiger Tipoff, the weekly stand-alone section during MU basketball season, has been discontinued. Articles that would run in these sections are carried in print and online in the daily Sports section. You might have seen Tipoff articles in the Sports section on Friday.

The changes are being made to save money. Even with an increase in pages in the daily editions, the newspaper can save pressroom production and newsprint costs.

The Missourian is dealing with the double whammy of stagnant revenue and increasing cost. It’s not unique. At a conference this week in New York on improving journalism, every panel eventually turned to how the media can pay for the news they produce. Businesses are splitting their advertising in more ways. Or they appeal directly to consumers through the Internet: A USA Today article Thursday reported total online retail sales last year of $116 billion.

Legally, your newspaper is a not-for-profit organization like a church or a Rotary group. Practically, it needs to operate at least on a not-for-loss philosophy. General manager Dan Potter and managing editor Reuben Stern have done a great job in finding a way to keep the prime-time listings while saving dollars.

Some of you won’t be happy. You can find television programming information in other ways, including guides on cable and listings on the Internet. (Columbiamissourian.com will have the TV listings available from a tab in the upper right part of the home page.) But having the whole week of TV listings available, tucked away next to your coffee table, is convenient and comprehensive. I hope you’ll give the daily listings a try.

Indulge me in one other topic this week.

Pundits and pollsters devoted bucket loads of ink (or virtual ink) to one of the most pressing questions of their day: How could they have gotten New Hampshire so wrong?

All the polls last weekend showed Barack Obama walking away with the Granite State. On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton won in the only poll that counted.

Here’s a question I wish someone would address: How did the failure of the pre-election polls affect the democratic process of selecting the next president?

I suspect the answer is: not at all.