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Posts Tagged ‘Rocky Mountain News’

Revisiting That ‘Tom Sawyer Business Plan’

Five years ago, the New York Times painted a not entirely hopeful picture in Santa Rosa, NM.

GuadalupeCommunicatorLogo

The article was all about the decision by laid off Rocky Mountain News D.C. correspondent M.E. Sprengelmeyer to purchase weekly community newspaper The Guadalupe County Communicator. Anchored to an area two hours east of Albuquerque, the paper had a circulation of just a few thousand:

“It’s the Tom Sawyer business plan: I’m trying to convince all my friends how much fun it would be to help me,” said Sprengelmeyer.

Cut to 2014. As part of a special article commemorating the enduring success of another AZ print publication, the Sante Fe Reporter, Sprengelmeyer, once also a reporter there, revealed the following:

Just this month, he used profits from the [Guadalupe] paper to make the final payment on a five-year loan he took out to buy it. He’ll tell anyone who asks, “The future of print is print.”

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Grim Revenue Numbers For Papers As Publishers Meet Secretly

newspapers.pngHot on the heels of news that newspaper executives from across the country met secretly in Chicago yesterday, the Newspaper Association of America released troubling revenue numbers for the first quarter of 2009.

According to the NAA, total revenues for papers in the U.S. dropped 28.3 percent during the first quarter of the year, down to $6.6 billion from $9.2 billion during the same period last year. (For reference, first quarter revenue hovered in the $11 to $10 billion range for the five years prior to 2008.)

This precipitous drop is due to a 29.7 percent decline in print ad revenues (down to $5.9 billion from $8.4 billion in Q1 of 2008) and a 13.4 percent decrease is online advertising revenue (down to $696 million from $804 million last year).

Reportedly, executives at yesterday’s meeting discussed ways to monetize online content, but they have be careful in describing what the confab was about in order to avoid antitrust scrutiny. NAA president John F. Sturm told Nieman Journalism Lab that antitrust counsel was present at the meeting and noted that “the group discussed business topics such as protection of intellectual property rights and approaches to the Congress and Administration to address these and other issues.”

If the revenue numbers from the first quarter of 2009 are any indication, something needs to be done to ensure that newspapers will be around in the future — and fast. Otherwise, we’ll be seeing more papers go the way of the Rocky Mountain News in the near future.

The Future of Newspapers Arrives Online in Seattle

spg04.15.09.pngOn Tuesday, former staffers at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer launched Seattle Post-Globe, an online venture dedicated to keeping the news alive in the Pacific Northwest.

In a post explaining the effort, Kerry Murakami, a former reporter for the P-I, wrote:

At first, we’re doing this as volunteers. But what you’ll find on this Web site is a story much larger than ours.

As in Denver, where the journalists of the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News also are starting their own news site, we’re forging on because we believe newspaper-quality journalism needs to continue even as newspapers close.

We’re relying on you — the community — to keep us going.

Welcome to the new world of newspapers. Lead the way, friends.

‘Death’ of Rocky Mountain News Drives Traffic

s-ROCKY-MOUNTAIN-NEWS-large.jpgThe death of a newspaper is big news, also, ironically, it’s apparently great for website traffic.

Over at HuffPo Danny Shea crunched Rocky Mountain News‘ website numbers — turns out the site experienced a surge in visits in its final days last week.

Thursday, February 26 — when it was announced the Rocky would fold the next day — RockyMountainNews.com saw 250,000 unique visitors, well above its 12-month average of approximately 90,000 uniques a day

Whereas the site’s 12-month daily average was around 383,000, it served 1,130,797 pageviews on Thursday and 1,286,756 pageviews on Friday.

Now imagine if somehow that could be monetized. Or, you know, if newspapers could figure out how to attract that many people to their sites without having to close down to do so.

Rocky Mountain News ‘Final Edition’

Most readers have heard by now that today will be Denver’s Rocky Mountain News‘ last. With the San Francisco Chronicle hanging in the balance, and Seattle holding discussions about what it would be like to be a no-newspaper town, one can only hope the RMN‘s closure isn’t just the first sign of what is to come. Meanwhile the RMN has put together this (well worth watching) good-bye vid which covers the last month of its existence and is currently running on their homepage.


Final Edition from Matthew Roberts on Vimeo.

When the Twitter Goes Too Far

rmn-twitter-300x197.pngWe are big fans of the Twitter. According to Patrick Gavin, our FishbowlDC comrade in blogging, the Twitter may have had its coming out party during the conventions (we suspect Patrick may have been the one throwing it, actually). But all good things must cross the line eventually. Like, say, for example deciding to twitter a young boy’s funeral for the local paper, which is exactly what someone at the Rocky Mountain News in Colorado recently did. Seriously.

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