Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cincy | Derek Krewedl is not one of the 83%

The Cincinnati Enquirer will switch to its planned smaller, tabloid format this fall and will erect its all access content subscription model paywall in October, top editor Carolyn Washburn told a local group of poultry industry executives yesterday.

The paper announced plans for the 10-by-14-inches size a year ago. With the change, the Enquirer will move printing to Ohio's Columbus Dispatch, eliminating about 200 production jobs.

"Focus groups and polls of thousands of readers showed 83% preferred the new format," the paper quoted Washburn as saying in a story this morning.

Speaking to the Northern Kentucky Chamber's Eggs 'N Issues meeting, Washburn said she expects the new format and online and print subscriptions will boost the numbers of readers.

But it won't satisfy them all. In a comment on the Enquirer's story, reader Derek Krewedl of Centerville, Ohio, summed up the changes as "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic."


  1. The other 83% were smiling from ear to ear because "We know there's a pony in there, somewhere . . . "

  2. 5:34 Jim, just like any good bully, you love piling on after the crowd's already pulled out the pitchforks. Wow. That readers comment was so original and inciteful that you just had to highlight it! Because, as you know, it's so unusual for readers to complain about change. Why not do an intelligent assessment of the new format once it's launched? That's something that might actually be valuable.

  3. The Enquirer's letter to readers states that "We recognize this is a very different price than what you're accustomed to paying." The poor grammar alone tells readers something about the commitment to quality under Margaret Buchanan, but isn't that a precious choice of words - "different"? LOL

  4. The Northern Kentucky version ( drew this comment:

    "I hope some improvements to quality are made along with the format change. Today's paper and online version ran the same item about St E and providers. Print headline "Seniors May Pay More at St E" . Online reads: "St E Measure Should Save Seniors Money". Do you read your own paper?

  5. With leadership like this, who needs competition?

  6. Why can't newspapers just be honest with the public? The format will save millions in newsprint costs, helping to maintain decent margins and lay off fewer people.

    We used to cite newsprint costs as a reason to raise advertising rates. When paper prices went down, we never lowered the price.

  7. 8:02 I hope you would agree that ignoring reader feedback -- such as yours -- is a lousy customer service strategy.

  8. Washburn: "Because the size and the design you end up moving toward with this size, are more compelling.”
    Articulate, isn't she?

  9. Study after study showed readers preferred a smaller format newspaper in the mid-West, wait for it…..twenty years ago.

    Frankly, Buchanan can spin it all she wants but the physical size of the Enquirer isn’t why its lost tens of thousands of paying subscribers since her arrival, it’s about shrinking content and a strategy that let readers get news they used to pay for online for free, even the most unique, local content.

    Washburn’s tenure doesn’t appear to show any improvement at all, in fact, its arguably worse (naming herself someone to watch was embarrassing). Going to this reduced size, will at least according to rumors, result in about 7% less newshole with larger pictures.

    Yeah, readers and advertisers will love that. Not.

  10. "The cost of the new subscriptions has yet to be determined, Washburn said. It will be metered, allowing for some free access online.

    This will allow The Enquirer to afford its 150 journalists, Washburn said."

    Wow. Really?

    Washburn says they have yet to figure out how much they will charge, but she knows it will pay for the staff she hasn't fired yet? What kind of business plan is this? Where did this woman go to school?


  11. 8:02, it's not Jim attacking. It's readers and others who realize that Gannett is not a job creator, but a company on the skids that is destroying careers, credibility and a business.

  12. Will the smaller print version feature mostly photo essays? That seems to be all they put on their website these days.

  13. You'll need the online portion when I-71 freezes and the morning paper arrives at 2:00 p.m.

  14. To pay for the enqy's 150 journalists? Looks like someone could use tutoring from a math teacher. There are maybe 4 writers who produce copy on a daily reliable basis. And some "journalists" who go weeks without a byline. Also a couple of writers who are easily taken in by feel-good topics and a couple of "storytellers" who do obvious, one-inch deep topics. But in no way does this add up to 150, even counting the clerks and the cleaning crew.

  15. 10:35 I'm puzzled by an even bigger number: 5,000.

    That's how many "journalists" Corporate is counting across the company. The figure first surfaced in March, in connection with the establishment of a national news desk.

    Back then, I wrote that the previous official number on newsroom employment was as of December 2001, when the company said it had 5,614 journalists.

    Since then, GCI's overall employment has been cut 40%, to 31,000.

    If the more recent 5,000 figure is correct, this means newsroom employment fell only 11% during the same period. That seems very unlikely.

    Yet, the 5,000 number continues to show up. Gracia Martore used it only Monday, during her presentation to Wall Street analysts.

    I can't figure out where it's coming from. I've roughly estimated employment in Gannett's 20 largest newspaper newsrooms, including USA Today's, and I come up with only 2,300 staffers.

    That would mean there are another 2,700 combined employed at the other approximately 60 U.S. newspapers -- many of them, very, very small -- plus 23 TV stations, 17 U.K. dailies, and assorted tiny weeklies.

    No matter how I crunch these estimates, I can't get anywhere near 5,000.

    1. You don't believe the other 100 sites have at least 25 journalists each? I think your math needs some work.

  16. @10:35 - Washburn is obviously including the Community Press/Recorder editorial staff which at last count was around 30 plus people. Lucky for her that Gannett bought them else it would be interesting to see how that group would play...more papers, more local reach, better ad rates and arguably, more loyal readers.

  17. That columnnist is typical of the Enquirer under Washburn. Gushing, unskeptical, regularly taken for a ride.

  18. 11:45 is right. Washburn must be counting the community papers because there are nowhere near 150 left in the 19th floor newsroom. Washburn has gutted the newsroom and brought in some hacks. She's gutted the editing ranks. No way will this paper improve.

  19. If they facebook comment on stories, they're crowdsourcing - i.e. they's one of dem der jurnilists!

  20. The rate change is yet another PR debacle for the paper, which sent a letter to employees and retirees saying their discounted rates would disappear. That was last week. This week, publisher Buchanan e-mailed an apology and said that while rates would go up for this group, they would not go up to what regular subscribers will pay. Of course, she did not say what the cost WILL be. When you cannot communicate correctly with your own current and former employees who can you communicate with?

    On another point, they also will be saving $ when they layoff the entire predation and making $ when they sell that land.

  21. It's ridiculous that we are now in the fourth or fifth wave of these rollouts and we are still hearing such bullshit as 'we don't know exactly what rates will be.' If it's utter incompetence on the part of those setting rates, those people should have been fired long ago. If it's leadership trying to game our readers somehow, it's despicable.

    The result is the same - our public has repeatedly castigated us for not knowing our product or respecting their intelligence by not knowing how much we will charge.

  22. Hey Jim @ 11:16 AM:
    She is very loosely defining journalists to include anyone who gets a byline for whatever reason. That would include unpaid college interns, part-timers, community (free) content creators, etc. You see it would be pull any number out of your butt for that.

    Now, let's quantify it as FTE journalists, then let's hear what she comes up with.

  23. 7:28 I considered that possibility, especially if you also include, for example, Gannett Government Media, which publishes Army Times etc.; and the Clipper Magazine group; DealChicken editorial writers (assuming those exist), and other subsidiaries.

    The average you cite also conforms with, for example, the 10-paper Wisconsin group, which has 223 newsroom employees.

    But then I scan down the list of other U.S. community papers, and I see so many small ones, especially the so-called NT-31s like Battle Creek, Mich., and Coshocton, Ohio, and Salinas, Calif. I know of three N.J. papers with combined newsroom employment of about 50.

    Maybe all that adds up to 5,000. But without a breakdown from Corporate, we don't know.

    In any case, see this list of U.S. newspaper sites, with department-by-department breakdowns that include my 7/19/12 estimates for newsrooms.

  24. Their labeling of news stories as "Enquirer Exclusives" reek of desperation and are nothing but a lame attempt to dupe people into paying unknown subscription rates.

    How can you not know what the rates will be when you plan to start charging in three months? My guess is they know to the penny but don't want to endure three months of bad publicity and negative comments on the website.

  25. Same things happened at Wisconsin sites; we all got the letter telling us we'd have to pay full price, then we got an "oops" email saying that wasn't true, we'd still get our "discount."

    And the papers all announced the paywalls in the same Sunday editions, with the launch that very week! WTF?! Way to announce it in advance. And of course none of the publisher's/GM's columns mentioned price.

    The only one of the 10 paper heads who gave his office hours and when he'd be available in public to talk about it was the EE in Oshkosh. Gotta give him credit for that since I bet he got pretty beat up for the actions of corporate.


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