Wednesday, November 19, 2008

American Press Institute: that secret meeting & the Manhattan Project that may have to follow

The American Press Institute ran a behind closed doors session to kick-start the american newspaper industry last week.

At times akin to group therapy and at other times resembling a business-school class, the summit took shape in three general segments: Specific financial forensics for determining the depth of trouble a company might be in; a discussion of management tactics for leading a company on new paths; and participants trading frustrations, ideas, best practices and suggestions for collaboration.

From the API site.

Here's Steve Outing on what happened:

from what we know so far, this still looks like an industry in denial about how much it must change, with many leaders whose heads are still high on Shein’s crisis curve (below) while their enterprises are much further down.

Here's the graph:

And Steve linked to this from "News After Newspapers."

Six months? What are they thinking? They've laid off more than 10,000 people in the last six months—what will be left six months from now? They need to launch a Manhattan project to blow up their industry and start over. Now, not six months from now.

"We have nothing to lose" is about right, but they may have nothing left to invest in change, either.

Four days on News After Newspapers is even more extreme: it's good to see the unthinkable being said:

Here's my suggestion: drop Monday and Tuesday, consolidate Wednesday and Thursday (for delivery Wednesday), drop Friday, and consolidate Saturday and Sunday (for delivery Saturday). So, a twice-weekly Wednesday and Saturday paper.

(This presupposes, of course, a completely kickass 24/7 online news operation, and a staff that totally gets that online comes first. The web operation should have plenty of blogs, plenty of databased local information, a wiki, social networking features, Twitter feeds, you name it. And it should be ready to evolve and adapt as even more tools and features come along.)

Steve's update: press conference cancelled...

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