When I walk into a newsroom for the first time, there’s always a moment of hesitation as I gauge how prepared the group is for my visit. I’m normally greeted with one of two emotions: either, “Who are you and why are you here,” or “We have been waiting for you!”
The primary reason I continue to collect data and survey newspaper managers is to help my newspaper colleagues. Several times, over the last few weeks, I’ve received requests for advice from publishers who, after looking over data from a recent survey, found the answer they were looking for.
In the midst of my busiest year ever, Dale Gentry, publisher of The Standard-Banner in Jefferson City, Tennessee, called to ask if I could find time to visit his newspaper. Less than an hour away from my office, I’ve visited Dale’s staff numerous times over the past 20 years and there was no way I was going to say, “no.”
So between trips to Edmonton, Alberta and Preston, Minnesota, I found an afternoon to spend with the staff of the Standard-Banner. The request from Dale was simple enough: “Can you teach us to use InCopy?”
I guess I might as well change my permanent address to “Midwest,” following more than a dozen scheduled visits to Iowa and Minnesota during February, March and April. People began to ask with frequency, “Why don’t you schedule your visits to Minnesota (or Iowa or Canada) in the summer?”
My most common response is, “I need a new manager.” I suppose the honest answer is that I go when I’m asked and people in the coldest areas are practical jokers or they just seem to need me more in the winter and early spring.
What if the professor is right? What if young people really don’t read print anymore? Could I be wrong? Could the studies be wrong? After all, a lot of journalism professors I run into seem to think that print is dead. And so do most of the people I know who sell online services. Maybe they’re all right. Maybe young people do not read news in print anymore.
I planned to start on this column four hours ago, but the phone started ringing. Karen, who emailed late last night, needed my help to get an ad to print correctly in her paper. How could I not take care of that first thing? Jim called from another state to get my advice about a publisher’s job he’s been offered.
You know the drill. We work in a deadline-driven business. We get it done. No matter how busy we are or what is already on our plates, we get it done.
Hank Bond, co-publisher of The Greenup Beacon (Russell KY),
wrote last week to ask me a pointed question, “You keep writing about people saying that newspapers are dying. I don’t hear it. Who are they?”
Well, Hank, here’s another one to add to the list of about a dozen or so I sent you last week and those were off the top of my head. As Hank would probably attest, he finally said, “Enough!”
I sometimes write a column twice, for different audiences. This version of my column on Robert Kaiser's essay includes statistics from free newspapers across North America.
And just so you know, there's happy ending.
I have to admit: I’m as much to blame as anyone. Honestly, I figured everyone was already using Adobe Bridge, so I’ve not put much effort into teaching Bridge tools at workshops and classes over the past few years.
Longtime photo editors remember the Browser from versions of Photoshop prior to CS2. Since then, Bridge has been included in all Creative Suite/Cloud packages and also with stand-alone Adobe Photoshop.
Readers have been asking what I think about The Times-Picayune adding two print delivery days - that’s back up to five days a week delivery - plus returning to a full broadsheet page. Our industry must be in a free-fall. Or is it?
My dilemma doesn’t revolve around those things, however. I promised to pen a question/answer column this month and I keep my promises.