Monday, August 25

Assert.IsTrue(newspapersAreDying);

I know it's been said before, but I was shocked when I took a look at former-employer Gannett's stock price this morning -- a paltry $17.xx!



They were treading near or around 80 when I started in November of 2002. They were in the low 50s I believe when I bailed in December 2005. The site I was at, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, was doing about 8 million hits a month with over a quarter million unique visitors ... but just didn't "get it" when it came to technology. They became followers rather than innovators, led by the nose by page views and ad campaigns, mimicking their socially-successful neighboring markets of Buffalo and Syracuse, but only years after their lead tech guy (me) had tried to encourage forums and article comments. Rather pathetic -- so much wasted potential and lead time.

They were starting to push the "hyperlocal reporting" and "local data machine" campaigns in a very drone-like fashion in my waning time there. I had some hope for them when they made the token effort of changing their "newsrooms" to "information centers," but unfortunately I think that corporation is too filled with stodgy, curmudgeonly personalities and mindsets to make the transition to the 21st century anytime this decade. No dancing elephants there -- no Lou Gerstner either, for sure. Over the past five years all their sites have, through corporate edict and ad-driven mania, become cookie cutter, ad-noisy copies of one another. Gross. AdBlock Plus is your friend.

Recently, an editor at the Glens Falls Post-Star haughtily insisted to me, via a poorly-designed article commenting system, that the newspaper wasn't dying -- "just look at all the hits this site gets!" Tell that to your parent corp's stock price:



Just for comparison, let's see how the innovation-friendly (ish) big-budget New York Times has been doing over the same 5-year period:



Only slightly better than the corporately-retarded Gannett Co, Inc.

Say it with me now: "Newspapers are environmentally-disastrous dinosaurs, please quit wasting time, money and resources, liquidate your assets and finish laying off your underpaid workforce already."

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