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Partnership between two Columbia newspapers could save money for MU

Friday, June 6, 2008 | 5:00 p.m. CDT; updated 4:40 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dear Reader:

I’ve written to you several times about ideas floating around the hallways of your Columbia Missourian. Some, though not all, have come to pass. I wanted to share one intriguing question that has been put forth: Should the Missourian form a business partnership with the Columbia Daily Tribune?

Some background: The Missourian is an independently owned, not-for-profit newspaper. It has been affiliated in a practical sense with MU for all of its 99 years and 9 months, providing a real community newspaper experience for thousands of students. The newspaper receives a “laboratory fee” that was set in 1996 when the university and newspaper were affiliated in the legal sense. Still, most Missourian revenue, like almost all newspapers, comes through advertising and subscriptions, and most of the costs come from newsprint and payroll.

There’s the rub.

For decades, the newspaper has lost money. MU has restored the balance sheets, and, in return, asked for an improved bottom line from Journalism School deans and Missourian general managers. The discussion has taken on more urgency lately. The university needs to find millions in cuts to pay for faculty raises. Meanwhile, newspaper debt has increased. In faculty meetings, Provost Brian Foster has used the Missourian as an example of places to cut MU expenses. (Now, I think I could make a pretty compelling argument that he’s getting a great deal. But that’s for another letter.)

And so, on to the partnership idea. The Tribune, or any other interested press, could print this newspaper five days a week. The Missourian cuts its printing expenses, while the other publication gets distribution and advertising considerations, including potentially the highly coveted on-campus delivery.

Or not. Nary a thing has been decided. The advisory board of directors for the Missourian voted last month to pursue talks with the Tribune or any other interested party.

It also approved considering other models that would primarily move the newspaper to a mostly digital publication. These variations mainly would entail limiting the printed editions to one or two a week, with perhaps some other specialized publications. The rest of the news would be published on ColumbiaMissourian.com. Again, lots of newsprint cost would be saved.

It’s unclear to me how many jobs would be cut from either option, although presumably this second scenario would require more people in those business areas.

Each option would require some adjustments in the newsroom, but the core mission remains. In each of the seven years on my watch, and I assume for generations before, students and staff are told the first mission is as a daily community newspaper for the people of mid-Missouri. Formats, print cycles and even story-telling methods may change; the mission won’t.


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Comments

Peter Rozier June 6, 2008 | 10:54 p.m.

The partnership idea with The Tribune seems to have value.

And while the first mission should to be to provide a community newspaper for the people of mid-Missouri, the primary value and true reason-to-be of the Missourian will continue to be to provide a hands-on teaching lab for the students.

Pete Rozier, BJ '64

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith June 8, 2008 | 10:08 a.m.

There would appear to be no surprises here. In an era of declining print journalism one would NOT expect to find two daily newspapers in a city of less than 100,000, and if two did exist, that at least one of them would be having serious revenue problems.

My understanding is that nationally some newspapers are scrapping their print editions and have gone strictly to on line publication, complete with advertising. In terms of training student reporters and editors, would that make much difference?

(Report Comment)
Sheena Martin June 9, 2008 | 10:30 a.m.

Although I agree that the partnership route has value, I have a couple of concerns.

First, I would be cautious in how completely the Missourian is transformed into an online publication. The Missourian is a teaching publication for J-School students, and I think the current method of being a print and online publication gives students the most well-rounded training in the newspaper field. Layouts and deadlines are often different for online publications vs. print.

Second, I was wondering the numbers on how much money this would save the paper. Would the Missourian break even? Woudl it make a small revenue through a partnership? And if so, where would these extra funds go? Would they benefit the students?

Finally, I always enjoyed the competitive aspect of scooping the Trib while in school. How would competition for stories between the papers work? Meaning, would there be any conflict of interests with two partnering publications covering the same events or news items?

Thank you.

(Report Comment)
Tom Warhover June 9, 2008 | 11:39 a.m.

Just a few daily, community newspapers have gone mostly digital. (None that I know of have gone completely without print.) The most-watched example right now is the Madison Capital-Times. http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=45&...

I get the sense that a few more specialty/niche newspapers have switched. One example is a business daily in New York that went completely digital, and then evolved to a rich-media "newsbook" format developed by Roger Fidler, who works at the Reynolds Journalism Institute here at Mizzou.

The pedagogy of teaching newspaper journalism in with a mostly digital model that keeps just a few print editions has been the topic of a lot of discussion. My view: We can still train great reporters, editors, etc. using the Missouri Method of publication no matter what the form/format.

The debate over whether students need skill sets to match the online world is over. (Again, this is my opinion, not an institutional stand.)Digital is here to stay, regardless of the future of print. Print is likely to be around for a long time as well, but most of the skills required for print are transferable to online. The exception is design, and so we need to keep some print publications for newspaper design students.

Sheena asks what the Missourian would do about the competitive aspect with the Tribune. We would continue to compete editorially. It raise questions about conflicts of interest, and we would definitely have to review the rules pertaining to students who want to work at both newspapers. (As I recall, Sheena, you did a little scooping of your own when you were reporting at the Missourian. :) )

As to the money: I don't think discussions are at the point where there's any hard dollar figures thrown out. The goal, though, would be to cut the deficit. If there was a profit, it would have to roll back into the Missourian operations to keep our non-profit status.

Tom

(Report Comment)
Katey Charles June 9, 2008 | 12:26 p.m.

I would prefer to see a fully digital news and entertainment site for Columbia in competition with all the local news outlets.

Katey Charles, MA '98

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith June 9, 2008 | 2:10 p.m.

What benefit or benefits would this proposal, should it go forward, hold for the Tribune?

(Report Comment)
Tom Warhover June 9, 2008 | 4:38 p.m.

I can't speak for the Trib, as I haven't been involved in the business discussions. I know getting into campus mail has been seen as highly desired by both newspapers for a long time, because it's a demographic that advertisers love. (Higher disposable incomes, relatively more stable jobs, etc.)

(Report Comment)
Tom Eblen June 9, 2008 | 8:24 p.m.

The greatest benefit for MU's journalism students and for the Missourian would be a partnership with the Tribune. Such a partnership could preserve the print component as long as possible and could provide more revenue for the growing need for an extensive online presence.

The newspaper world is changing at an unprecedented pace. As an old guy, I would hate to see print vanish, but the reality is that many people under 40 get their news online rather than in print. Keep both for now. You can do so with an agreement that would make sense for both the Missourian and the Tribune.

Or you can wait, do nothing, and watch as the red ink explodes on your books. My vote would be to preserve print and further develop online.

Tom Eblen, BJ '58 (a former member of the Missourian board)

(Report Comment)
Bob Wilson June 9, 2008 | 9:51 p.m.

Some sort of amalgamation is probably inevitable, but I think that the school and the students will be diminished by it. Even in the early '60s when I was in J-School the Missourian played second fiddle to the Tribune, but the students were the Missourian's reporters, copy editors, advertising salesmen, etc. No commercial, for profit newspaper is going to allow that. For years, one of the strengths and key selling points of the University of Missouri School of Journalism was that it produced a daily newspaper that was meant for consumption by the city at large.

Without the Missourian as an independent newspaper, J-School at MU will lose its uniqueness among the schools of journalism in this country. It is a loss that probably cannot be prevented, but the passing of the Missourian should be mourned every one with a degree in journalism from Mizzou. (BJ63 photojournalism)

(Report Comment)
Tom Warhover June 10, 2008 | 7:00 a.m.

Following is NOT from me (Tom Warhover). It's from James V. Grimaldi, an investigative reporter at the Washington Post and BJ '84. He had trouble posting, and so sent along e-mail:

This is sad news. I've spoken to other alumni. One frequent comment:
"Hank won."

Which leads to this point: that the Board of Curators has never
permitted the Missourian to compete fairly. The j-school has had to
fight a competition in the marketplace with one hand tied behind its
back. This is for a further elaboration, but there are a myriad of
ways -- thanks to Mr. Waters's successful lobbying of the legislature
and Jesse Hall -- that the school is hamstrung in its operation of
the Missourian.

Also, this plan is horrendously unfair given that the journalism
school operates a money-making machine known as KOMU. The University
happily skims massive amounts of profits from the KOMU cash register
and does NOT give the J-school credit on the bottom line. Why?
Because the television station is licensed to the Board of Curators
of the University of Missouri.

It is fine for MU to profit from KOMU. But this plan is at best
ironic and at worst destructive to the world's best and oldest
journalism school. Won't the proposal here will essentially lead to
the elimination of the Missourian teaching vehicle (as we know it) in
the name of cost savings while continuing to extract millions of
dollars from the j-school's other primary teaching outlet (KOMU)?

This plan is not right, does not make sense, is not fair and does
damage to the journalism school. The Missourian board needs to go to
Jeff City and to the Board of Curators and engage the fight on the
real battleground.

James V. Grimaldi

(Report Comment)
Scott Ward June 10, 2008 | 11:05 a.m.

Because of my experiences during my time spent in Columbia (2000-2004) and in my time since leaving, I have to say that anything that pairs the Missourian with the Tribune will never sound like a good idea. The product is inferior "over there," plain and simple.

But ... if the future of the print edition of the Missourian is in doubt, the situation is different. I'm all for moving forward and keeping the journalism school on the forefront of the industry, but there's much more going on in the Missourian newsroom on a daily basis than just "putting out a paper."

Gaining a journalism education on a professional, working publication was the single most important element of my time in Columbia. After working part time on the statistics desk at The Kansas City Star after graduation, my first "editorial" position came at NPG Newspapers (now Sun Newspapers) north of Kansas City. The newsroom was filled with recent graduates from other programs (Kansas, Central Missouri, Northwest Missouri, to name a few) but none -- zero -- had the ability to hit the ground running and rise to a "lead" position as quickly as I did. My first weekend there, I edited and designed an entire paper myself. That a "first-week copy editor/page designer" was charged with such a task says a lot for the Sun's set up, but that's for another story.

Simply stated, the Missouri Method (founded in daily, print-newspaper principles) was the reason for my quick transition to professional journalism and is the reason why the Missouri School of Journalism is the best in the country.

In discussions with graduates from other programs, I always say (mainly just to keep from getting slapped) that classroom education is probably comparable at many j-schools across the country. But the experiences I learned while working alongside professional journalists -- like Ray Murray, Tom Warhover, Daryl Moen, Jim Sterling, Grant Hodder and many others -- made me a professional journalist before I even graduated.

Digitizing the Method will still allow for a professional education, but something will clearly be missing. If teaming up with the Tribune, which has one of the best production systems in the world, keeps the Missourian flying onto Columbia driveways, then I say do it.

Even if it's for no other reason than to keep Missouri ahead of Kansas, in terms of journalism school prowess.

Scott Ward, BJ '04

(Report Comment)
Tom Warhover June 10, 2008 | 3:57 p.m.

Couldn’t get a comment onto your site, feel free to post if you’d like.

The best way to save money at the Missourian is to get the students into every department, not just the newsroom. The Missourian has always been an inverted representation of the typical newspaper, with an editorial staff three or four times larger than the other departments. You should turn the students lose to produce ideas on how to market, sell and distribute the paper in the most effective way. Create the seventh sequence--“Business of Journalism.” Teach students more about the printing process, circulation and company management. Journalism needs more Dan Potters and fewer reporters.

Graham Johnston
Manager of Internet and Technology
Wednesday Journal

(Report Comment)
Mary Jo Feldstein June 10, 2008 | 4:32 p.m.

During my time at the J-School I broke news stories at both publications, working as a reporter at the Missourian my junior year and as a reporter at the Tribune my senior year. I guess I had this whole partnership thing down early.

The issue to me is not whether there's a partnership in place. It's whether the Missourian remains a competitive community newspaper. In some ways, I think the KOMU example is relavant and shows the benefits of a partnership with a corporation. It's profitable and students still receive one of the best broadcast journalism educations around.

The Missourian was among the greatest professional experiences of my life. It's passion for our craft still inspires my work. But there are some elements of this job I could only learn in the gritty, scrappy world of the Tribune.

In an ideal world, a partnership here would keep the Missourian competitive and its rich journalistic history fresh while giving interested students more opportunites at the Tribune.

I do question why this discussion is occuring though as a massive capital campaign has just raised so much money for the Journalism school. Does the administration not see how much of the school's teaching value is in the experience of the Missourian itself, not in the classrooms?

(Report Comment)
Ken Bilderback June 10, 2008 | 5:00 p.m.

In 20-some years of newspaper management, I learned that papers see themselves as factories, geared to production deadlines tied to a physical product.

I hope you'll keep your eye on the real purpose of journalism: to inform people, not to manufacture a product. I would be sad to see the demise of the printed product, but sadder still to see the burden of the press drown the entire enterprise.

I'm making my living now blogging at whapwhap.com about how newspapers are destroying themselves by clinging to outdated technology. You have a great opportunity to train the next generation of journalists to be a lot smarter than my generation was. Good luck.

(Report Comment)
Andy Kravetz June 10, 2008 | 7:25 p.m.

Reading the comments, it's sad and reflects what is happening across the country. That Columbia even had two newspapers for this long is amazing. Going digital isn't the worst thing. What I have found is that stories aren't as tight and the little things aren't as adhered to as well as they were in print. Would that happen at Missouri? Who knows.

It's just sad. I remember the thrill of my first byline in the paper and when we did beat the Trib on some things. I agree with the person who commented above about how people can hit the ground running.

Here at the paper I work at (Peoria Journal Star), the Missouri grads seem to be the least flustered when it comes to new ideas and crazy editors. Maybe it was the stress of the classes or that we had crazy editors too. I don't know. Things change. That's part of life. It's just a shame that a teaching platform as good as the Missourian has to suffer along with the rest of the business.

(Report Comment)
Michael T. Martinez June 14, 2008 | 12:12 p.m.

While the newspaper industry is changing and I do believe online news websites will gain importance in the profession, I am not ready to sound the death knell to the print product.

Rather than focusing on cutting cost, why not focus on generating revenue? Acting Dean Esther Thorson, with others, produced research that shows investing in the newsroom will benefit the bottom line. While your discussion is not aimed at staff reduction, it does discuss eliminating a portion of the print product and that is not investing in the newsroom.

I wish the Board of Curators saw the value of the Columbia Missourian, both as a teaching tool and a public trust, and would fund it properly. However, just as the University has lost support from the Missouri Legislature over the years and is now faced with seeking significant levels of outside funding, why not establish a fund drive to support the Missourian. I am among the alumni from the School of Journalism who cherish the memories of working at the Missourian and would be willing to contribute to such a fund.

Mike Martinez
MA '80 and Ph.D. current

(Report Comment)
Derek Kravitz June 16, 2008 | 3:22 p.m.

Coming at this as a recent grad who worked for both the Missourian and full-time at the Tribune until fairly recently, this partnership makes little sense for the Missourian and MU.

If a Tribune partnership is supposed to amount to a type of financial solvency for the Missourian, I don't see it. It looks like it just works out to be a hell of a deal for the Tribune: A cheap student workforce, more advertising, less competition, a route to highly profitable direct mail circulation on the MU campus.

Does the Missourian really need a print product to survive? Couldn't an online-only publication still serve a growing web audience while also operating as a training lab? And if the Missourian still desperately wanted to keep some sort of print product, why doesn't it truly invest in the newsroom in a pilot program, for say one or two years? The school had no problem plunking money into ventures like eMprint...

And is this really a case of looking toward the future or is it just another way to cut costs? Has the Missourian disclosed that its in the midst of a hiring freeze? And, frankly, the Tribune is foaming at the mouth for a Missourian-type boost: Despite the growing customer base in Columbia, the Trib hasn't seen an increase in subscriptions in years. Hank is already cutting costs there.

Couldn't the new Reynolds convergence center serve as a way to bridge platforms and make the Missourian somewhat viable? What about hyper-local newsletters distributed to specific areas in the city, similar to the distribution method following the East Campus explosion this spring? Has the idea of a less frequent publishing schedule, maybe once a week instead of six, been explored?

And is the Missourian's governing board going to make the final call on this? Are there different ideas being floated by faculty, staff and administrators?

Derek Kravitz, BJ '07

(Report Comment)
Tom Warhover June 18, 2008 | 7:03 a.m.

A few quick responses:

* Mike Martinez asks about a Missourian endowment drive. I'm happy to report that there is one. Colin Kilpatrick, the executive director for advancement at the j-school, directs the effort. You can learn more at
http://journalism.missouri.edu/giving/10...

Derek Kravitz, who, by the way, produced some pretty darn good journalism while here, asks several questions.

* On eMprint: The money plunked down was actually money from the Reynolds Journalism Institute, not the j-school. The Missourian -- students, faculty, and staff -- plunked down a lot of time and effort. (eMprint was an 18-month experiment in publishing an edition designed as a kind of "newsbook" and developed with rich media pdf. Roger Fidler, the creator, is still with the institute and has built the Digital Publishing Alliance with little shops like The New York Times.)

* The Missourian has not disclosed it is in the middle of a hiring freeze. However, we have run stories about the university's Compete Missouri initiative in which many jobs are being left unfilled to make faculty salaries more competitive with peer institutions. The Missourian isn't immune from the cuts. George Kennedy recently wrote a column about it:
http://www.columbiamissourian.com/storie...

* The hyper-local reference Derek makes is to a pilot project we did in the spring with four neighborhoods in town to publish newsletters. We're pretty excited about the possibilities to create partnerships with many more neighborhoods (perhaps defined even beyond geography). I'll be writing a full letter about it soon.

(Report Comment)
Tom Warhover June 18, 2008 | 4:55 p.m.

The Trib published a story today pertinent to the discussion. Here it is:

http://www.columbiatribune.com/2008/Jun/...

(Report Comment)
Isabelle Roughol June 19, 2008 | 7:03 a.m.

I posted my ideas at length on my blog at http://jjunkie.wordpress.com, but in short, I would say I don't see how a deal with the Trib would benefit the Missourian. In fact, as Derek pointed out, I think the Trib would get a lot more out of it (mainly the unpaid kids working crazy hours).

I'd rather The Missourian keep trying to move the industry forward by exploring online-mainly possibilities, than use the Trib as a financial crutch. Besides, the Trib will, eventually if not already, feel the same financial pressure that all print newspapers are dealing with. What would become of the Missourian then?

Isabelle Roughol
BJ '08

(Report Comment)
pat fowler June 19, 2008 | 1:52 p.m.

I read three newspapers a day, yours, the Tribune and the Wall Street Journal.

Your quality, day in and day out, far exceeds that of the Tribune; your students work hard to write stories that explain an issue rather than leave me with three or four unanswered questions. I realize you have the luxury of not being a for-profit business, with ad revenue pressures, or reporting beats that are too wide which means your coverage would be too narrow. That's exactly why I'd like to see you continue as you have. It's a luxury the students are paying for with their tuition dollars.

We are a teaching institution. The analogy I see, clearly, is that the Medical School and University Hospital provide millions of dollars a year in un-sponsored care because their mission is to teach and train highly specialized doctors. The fact that the Journalism School, a highly successful academic unit that brings in positive cash flow in tuition dollars, runs a deficit on the Missourian is, for lack of a better way to put it, the cost of doing business.

I don't see where the students, or the readers, would be well served by a cut back in print media or an alliance with the Tribune.

Pat Fowler
community member

(Report Comment)
Tom Warhover June 19, 2008 | 5:35 p.m.

J-alum and local resident Ted Farnen opines here in a letter to the editor: http://www.columbiamissourian.com/storie...

(Report Comment)
Wm. Srite June 20, 2008 | 4:40 a.m.

I'd like to echo Pat Folwer's comment about the role of the Missourian.

The Missourian and MU are teaching institutions and not for-profit businesses—or at least, they shouldn't be. I'm not sure where along the line the curators and the University got it into their heads that the Misourian should be profitable or even operate in the black, but it does a disservice in terms of the pedagogical mission.

The problems at the Missourian are symptomatic of the larger issue of decreased or stagnant funding from the Assembly. In fact, while a reporter at the Missourian, I wrote about this issue—one of many, many important topics that our editors assigned to us during my tenure.

I've never been one for blind institutional loyalty. If I thought that the print edition served no other purpose than to make money and inform the citizenry of Columbia, I would say, "let it die." However, now that I'm working at a large international publication I can see that my time at the Missourian was by far the most valuable spent at MU. I hit the ground running on my first day at work, better prepared, better informed and better able to handle the insane politics of a working newsroom (in the interest of full disclosure: I work in the online division as a multimedia producer, and my job has almost nothing to do with the print edition of our publication). In fact, most of my classroom time was a waste of my efforts and school resources, and it was the editors at the Missourian who straightened me out (thank you: Katherine, Scott, Rie, Brian and John).

It occurs to me that the problems at the Missourian my be issues of organizational leadership and not of editorial savvy. The "product" is quality, the mission of education is fulfilled and the people of Columbia get top notch reporting. Maybe the interests of the Missourian and the students and residents of Columbia would be better addressed by a re-evaluation of the roles of the folks in executive positions. Which is to say: if you get a bad omelet, are you going to blame the chicken or the chef?

Wm. Srite
BJ '08

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith June 22, 2008 | 8:31 a.m.

"It occurs to me that the problems at the Missourian may be issues of organizational leadership... [William Srite, see above post.]

There may be at least two related problems, and the "organizational leadership" problem probably isn't confined to only one unit of MU.

Two of the four campuses of University of Missouri System operate using academy systems. Using that type of system, communication with alumni, and alumni assistance (in several forms), are definitely enhanced. Perhaps the Journalism School at MU uses such a system*, but I don't believe that MU in its entirety does, nor does UMSL.

Want to know more? Phone UMKC and/or Missouri S&T and arrange a meeting. We're all supposed to be campuses of the same university, aren't we?

*- One would expect an academy to already exist.

(Report Comment)
Jeff Sonderman (BJ '04) June 22, 2008 | 7:35 p.m.

The UM higher-ups are absolutely wrong if they've decided the Missourian must be a profit center for the university. Write off any financial losses as a sound and worthy investment in the 100-year-old Missouri Method.

They must understand the value of maintaining the world's best journalism school. The J School, and the unique Missourian experience, are the crown jewel of the entire university. Cut money somewhere else in the university system, because Missouri just won't be "Missouri" without this hands-on, real-world learning experience.

That said, the described partnership with the Tribune would not be the end of the world, as long as it stops with the printing-distribution-advertising end of things. The Missourian newsroom must continue as a independent enterprise controlled by the school's editors and governed by the Missourians standards and dedication to teaching. Also, it would be good to preserve reporting competition with the Trib. Competition makes for better journalism and a better learning experience.

And please, whatever else you do, keep printing the paper. Online-only has a place for some niche journalism, and online news must be a big and growing part of the Missouri experience. But printed papers are still the heart of American journalism and the J School risks becoming irrelevant if it abandons print now. And even in the Internet era, many Americans (especially poor and minority) don't have ready Web access. We still have an ethical mission to serve our whole community, not just the ones with computers.

(Report Comment)
Hildy Johnson June 24, 2008 | 3:25 p.m.

Why is there no news story on this in the Missourian? So typical. The public gets one side from the editor of innovation? Is there a news article I missed somewhere? And what is going to happen to the advertising and circulation staff? Fired? What about Vox?
Please commit journalism somewhere in this newspaper. You don't cover events that happen at the Journalism School very well -- you usually ignore them or write columns. Get a student and an outside editor to actually cover this.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith June 25, 2008 | 4:12 a.m.

Cindy, please note my previous post, two posts above yours. Again, I believe we have systemic problems that are not confined to the immediate situation. We now have a UM System president who realizes there are better ways to organize a university, and he has models elsewhere in the system to draw from.

(Report Comment)
Tom Warhover June 25, 2008 | 6:05 p.m.

The Missourian Press Association Board of Directors has passed a resolution concerning all of the above. You can see it here:

http://www.columbiamissourian.com/storie...

(Report Comment)
Wayne Brasler June 28, 2008 | 12:03 p.m.

In the early 1950s, when T.V. came in, the film business all but collapsed. Theaters closed by the hundreds and prying people away from their television sets became nearly impossible. Eventually, the film business came back; today it is larger than anyone even envisioned back in the early '50s. News from computer screens similarly is in the novelty stage. Down the line, however, consumers will increasingly realize they aren't getting the depth, quality and breadth they get/got in print media. Throwing newspapers out is a big mistake; this too shall pass. The key is to blend and balance print media with other media. As long as Missouri students have the opportunity to work in multiple media forms, among them print, the learning experience won't be diminished. At Missouri we learned everything we needed to know about being journalists and how to do it all excellently ("isn't there anything you can't do and do well?" my first publisher asked me; "no, sir, there's nothing," I replied, "I'm from the University of Missouri"). We learned to roll with the punches, to embrace change rather than run from it, to expect the unexpected and--somehow--to blend utter seriousness about our craft, humor about it, respect for the rules and equal respect for the human spirit, and come up with something not only high quality, but thoughtful, and warm and beyond the basics. None of that will change, whatever the media involved.
Wayne Brasler
University of Chicago Laboratory Schools
B.J. '62

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith June 30, 2008 | 6:45 a.m.

Mr. Brasler's points are good ones. Do any of you recall that some years ago we were told in popular magazines that a "delivered" print newspaper would become a thing of the past? Customers would have "facsimile" machines in their homes or places of business and would "print" daily papers by subscription. That prediction was made before the Internet. Of course these same magazines, following World War II, predicted we'd be flying rather than driving to work! My point is that the "product" and the "delivery system" may be connected but definitely aren't the same.

(Report Comment)
Matt Wynn June 30, 2008 | 11:57 a.m.

"Down the line, however, consumers will increasingly realize they aren't getting the depth, quality and breadth they get/got in print media..."

How is this true? What makes the Internet less in depth, of diminished quality, or less broad? Even at the most ack-basswards news organizations, the print product gets thrown on newspaper.com, complete with fact boxes, photos and all the other bells and whistles of print. The user experience is different but the information is EXACTLY THE SAME.

I'm young, and I'm willing to listen if there are serious arguments to be made that print is inherently better then anything the web can offer. But so far I haven't heard such an argument, here or elsewhere.

(Report Comment)
Matt Wynn June 30, 2008 | 2:33 p.m.

I should add, too, that such web publishing is basically the bottom rung of the web-savvy ladder. Other organizations (Missourian included) do all of that, and add video, slideshows, interactivity on top of the product that saw print publication.

I'd argue it's actually much the opposite -- the Web provides depth, quality, breadth, interactivity and community, whereas print leaves something to be desired.

(Report Comment)
Hildy Johnson August 11, 2008 | 4:11 p.m.

Has the Missourian still not written about this? Sad. I guess the Tribune scooped them on their own story. Yikes.

(Report Comment)

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