Monday, November 05, 2012

Montgomery | In new model, it's getting deep here

Sam Martin, the publisher of The Montgomery Advertiser, has managed to announce a substantial hike in print subscription prices without ever actually using the words "price," "increase," "cost" or "higher." Indeed, he never even uses a $ sign. And he certainly doesn't mention that word banished by Corporate.

Instead, in a 646-word column published yesterday, Martin tells readers that in two weeks, the daily will introduce "a new subscription model . . . that will include full access to all of our content in print, on the desktop Web, mobile and tablet formats."

Of course, we know what Martin isn't telling readers: The Alabama state capital's newspaper is becoming the latest Gannett daily to erect a paywall that's brought average 25% subscription price hikes across the U.S. community newspapers.

Martin, who's been publisher since May 2010, isn't the first company executive to try slipping one past his readers; we've seen other recent examples in Louisville, Ky. and Phoenix.

No doubt, publishers must start charging for digital content previously given away free in order to keep newspapers in business. This is true at papers of all sizes, including the Advertiser, where weekday circulation is 29,532 and Sunday is 38,671.

But it's disingenuous at best to introduce a double-digit price increase without being upfront about the financial hit customers will take. And it's all the worse when promising, as Martin does, "significant improvement" to content that may or may not be real.

More, or less?
Martin says readers will get "deeper content in select areas of coverage, including more watchdog journalism." There will be "deeper coverage of what we are now calling 'The New Montgomery,'" and the paper will "delve deeper" into education, job creation, state and local government, plus sports.

But how?

Has the Advertiser replaced the editors, reporters and photographers lost to layoffs and attrition in recent years? Martin doesn't say. Without more details, it's hard to see how all these content improvements will actually take place.

In other words, it's getting deep in here.


  1. They're all working from the same bogus script dreamed up in the fantasy world of Oz, er, I mean the Cryatal Palace.

    Banikarim likes to think of herself as Dororthy.

  2. GCI guy needs writer. Just like USAT. (LOL)

    This is just like when ex-Govt. Motors CEO claimed it had "repaid its debts." Still outstanding to taxpayers: by GM: $50,000,000,000.00+. Most analysts believe GM will never repay all that taxpayers shelled out.

  3. A 'paywall" that can be evaded by 2 clicks of the mouse (or, heck, a keyboard shortcut) isn't much of a paywall. Gannett's implementation of the 30-stories-free limit should be as insulting to those who create the news as it should be to those who consume it.

  4. Same bullsh*t we got in Phoenix from Randy Lovely. This is one reason why the Republic's circulation is down 6 percent and digital is anemic. At what point did Gannett corporate think it was a good idea to try to hoodwink its readers?

  5. Gannett thinks their ever decreasing subscribers are stupid.

    Yes, people know that the price of their paper has increased.

    Yes, people know that local content is decreasing.

    Yes, people realize that local TV stations don't charge for their websites and the news isn't 1 or 2 days old.

  6. Love how Gannett publishers and editors trot out the "watchdog" word in defense of price increases, paywalls, narrower papers, print outsourcing and layoffs. The problem is that Gannett papers are doing less watchdog reporting than ever before. Look at all the elimination of investigative reporting staffs and positions and the virtual disappearance of the "enterprise" stories editors used to clamor for. Who do editors and publishers think they're fooling when they point to quick-hit weekenders and routine takeouts as examples of "watchdog" journalism? Real watchdogs attend local government meetings, develop sources and break stories that didn't originate with a press release or press conference. All of that is anathema to the Gannett business plan.

  7. "Gannett Investigative Reporting" -- stuff we found, on the way to trying to find where City Hall is.

    Because we're a bunch of carpet-baggers who don't know shit. The local TV stations know more than we do, that's how bad things are. And if the local hippie rag finds that out, we're screwed.

  8. Wow! This blog sucks. Where are all the news and insight?

  9. Another Gannett fraud.

  10. 6:34 PM is right. All the good moles are long gone, so there are rarely any surprising dirt uncovered on this blog. Just a lot of bitching from disgruntled longtime (and former) employees. Yawn.


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