Saved by the net?
Only a few short months ago The LA Times was one of the newspapers on the short list of those expected to fail in the next year or so. Today, according to a report on Buzzmachine, it’s web revenue covers the entire editorial payroll.
Russ Stanton, editor of the LA Times, sent [an] email following up on questions I had confirming the much-discussed report below that its web revenue is now sufficient to meet its entire editorial payroll, Jarvis wrote today. “Given where we were five years ago,” he emailed, “I don’t think anyone thought that would ever happen. But that day is here.”
This transition hasn’t been painless. The Times has drastically reduced staff over the last few years. Likewise, meeting editorial payroll isn’t the end of the story (last I checked newspapers still need other departments, like advertising and IT). But it does hold out hope.
Any parts applicable to The Star-Ledger?
We have added some outstanding web talent over the past two years, including latimes.com editor Meredith Artley, blogging guru Tony Pierce and database specialist Ben Welsh, who is part of a new 10-person team of interactive and data experts supplementing our print report with terrific online material (more on that in a minute), according to Standton. And our printside reporting and editing staffs have embraced the future like never before.
• A training program for staff to help them embrace the future properly.
• Cooperation with the advertising staff to make the online enterprise a paying proposition.
• And finally, as one commenter on the original Buzz item suggests — BOLD LEADERSHIP.
Dave Martin wrote: Interesting post. The issue is larger than you suggest. Dr Gary Hamel proffered a profound thesis that seems applicable here, to wit: “What ultimately constrains the performance of your organization is not its operating model, nor its business model, but its management model.” Tribune and others in the dead tree trade have a leadership problem. Your “do your best link to the rest” and “reverse syndication” concepts are certainly interesting and they do merit consideration, however, both will require bold leadership.