Digital killing the dinosaurs, Tribune Co. to cut 700
Tribune says no cuts to editorial, yet.
Tribune Co, the parent company of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and six other daily newspapers, is laying off nearly 700 staff as part of a restructure. The change comes as ad revenue and print sales continue to decline.
Layoffs will impact staff in technology, marketing, and in other departments, but not editorial. The company says it will retain its editorial staff to maintain its "best in class" rating. However, the company did mention that there would be minor cuts to editorial staff, coming later.
Structurally, the company is combining "advertising, marketing, manufacturing and digital media under common leadership," according to its own report on the changes. The change is expected to save about $75 to $100 million in annual costs. It is not expected to diminish editorial output or quality.
These changes are a response to changes in the way news is produced and consumed, and how much people pay for advertising. The internet now allows real-time bidding on advertisements, which allows advertisers to find better rates with better targets across all media. This hyper-competition continues to slash advertising revenues for newspapers year-over-year.
Also different is who is producing news. A growing population of bloggers and less-trained, amateur journalists are writing news reports which are being widely consumed. The final nail is the transition of readers to electronic devices, away from actual print-on-paper.
What once cost money, or required a person to tune in and watch, is now available largely for free, anytime and anyplace.
Still, newspapers are working hard to transition o the digital realm. More large publications are erecting paywalls, compelling readers to buy subscriptions for the news from sources they prefer to read. Websites also incorporate video and related content as well as targeted advertising, which makes them more effective at engaging readers and generating revenue.
Still, few have mastered the art, and they continue to struggle, downsizing as they go.
Meanwhile, other publishers such as Catholic Online and the Huffington Post are entirely digital from the start and have been successful in the new realm of digital media. A formula for success already exists, but for the dinosaurs of print, the transition won't be easy.
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