"Summertime Blues" seems like an appropriate soundtrack for the newspaper business. Every which way we turn this summer, the answer seems to be: "No dice, son..." At least we are still raising a fuss and holler about why editing matters.
We're seeing layoffs, reduced news hole and outsourcing. Many of my fellow bloggers have been writing eloquently on what is happening, and Pam Robinson at Words at Work has been especially vigilant on the outsourcing issue. And this piece at Poynter offers a look at what it all means for the future of the copy desk.
In addition, recent posts at an L.A. Times blog also speak to the situation at that paper and more broadly. Jamie Gold, the paper's reader representative, recently posted the memo from the paper's editor about impending layoffs and reduction in pages in the newspaper. That's followed by another memo from the Web site's executive editor discussing how the site has increased its readership and expanded its offerings. So yes, the L.A. Times, like most newspapers, has more readers now than it did 10 years ago thanks to the Web. But its finances do not reflect that.
This is our problem: People want news, but it's no longer profitable to provide them with it. It's enough to drive an editor to drink.
Fortunately, John McIntyre has arrived just in time to show us how to make a proper martini. Here's some "Summertime Blues" to go with it:
UPDATE: Perhaps this Webinar at NewsU, set for July 16, will offer some hope.