Patrick Goldstein’s Big Picture column for today was killed after he suggested the LAT make a pact with recording artists to give away scads of free CDs (a la Britain’s Mail on Sunday).
Newspapers, as you may have heard, are in deep doo-doo. While the Times still is a profitable business, our revenue was down 10% in the second quarter while our cash flow was down, as our publisher put it the other day, a “whopping 27%, making it one of the worst quarters ever experienced.” Times are so hard at the Times that the publisher has proposed putting ads on the front page to generate new revenue.
So far we’ve made little headway developing imaginative strategies to bring back lost readers … The record business has been just as slow to provide fans online with new, convenient ways to hear music… That’s where the newspaper comes in. As the Mail on Sunday has shown, newspapers remain a formidable distribution machine. My paper has roughly 1.1 million Sunday subscribers and generates 65 million page views each month. If you’re a heritage artist looking for exposure with an audience that might appreciate your work and has proven by reading a newspaper that it’s curious about the outside world, what could be a better starting point than the Times?”
It’s a wonderful idea, Patrick, one that would have been great addition to a memo to management. But trust us, we’ve had enough spiked columns to know that this kind of musing is the stuff of blogs, not columns.
When it comes to themselves, we doubt your bosses truly want the Big Picture.
UPDATE: A reader suggests Patrick Goldstein might have a future at the New York Post.
UPDATE: Nikki Finke has Goldstein’s statement:
Obviously no columnist is ever very happy about having their column killed. But I’m much more disappointed that the column that was killed was full of ideas about how to help my newspaper. I love working at a newspaper, especially this one, but if we don’t start embracing change in a big way, there won’t be great jobs like the one I have much longer. I’m constantly writing about how all the studios and big media companies are radically reinventing themselves. It’s time we did the same.