Philly Newsroom Staff Memo; Day of Digital Deliverance is Here

Philadelphia Inquirer and the Digital Internet Thingy.
Digital Deliverance Has Arrived.

The newsroom staff of the Philadelphia Inquirer were just told to upgrade their coverage and use DIGITAL and SOCIAL MEDIA on a larger scale. You mean they weren’t doing that already? WTF?

Read the memo below.

This comes at roughly the same time that John Paton, of Digital First Media, is prepping his JRC for Chapter 11. Oh, and Advance Newspapers are taking the draconian measures of severely reducing headcount, as well as publishing days. (!)

Guess this is what they call the day (or year) of reckoning. The impossible is now happening. We all have friends, co-workers and loved ones getting shit-canned left and right. Is it due to lousy journalism? No interest in local news? Biased media? Not exactly. 
It mainly has to do with the economics, or financial under-pinning of our local media industry. Those who subsidize our journalism and content creation are no longer strapped to our way of doing things. Not only have readers wandered, but (arguably) the most important customer; the advertiser, is increasingly looking elsewhere.
For the past 15 years, Newspaper primarily focused on eyeballs and the mantra of ‘content is king’. We spent millions on research and the latest tech to seduce a massive online readership… that we couldn’t monetize.
It’s not too late. We can slow down the bleeding. We can fix this thing. We must.
The first step? Get rid of the dead weight. You know who they areSecond step? Put more focus on the oft-forgotten customer that pays much of our journalistic freight; the local advertiser.Here’s that memo…..

From: Mazurek, Pat
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2012 3:53 PM
To: Inquirer
Subject: FW: news of importance

To the staff:

The findings of our recently completed readership research study and our circulation and revenue performance have made it imperative that we take major steps to address the content demands of our readers on all platforms. The message of the research is undeniable: we need to dramatically bolster our coverage in the South Jersey and Pennsylvania suburbs, and Business news in order to better serve our print and online readers and expand our audience.

Equally important, it is essential that every staffer use today’s digital and social media tools on a much larger scale. We simply need to become a much more versatile and mobile news operation at every level. This will require us to make some very difficult choices. As you might expect, this will involve significant reassignments for our reporting staff and a continuation of the expansion of responsibilities for not only our editors, reporters, photographers and editorial assistants, but those in the news production realm as well.

Reporters will be asked to expand their multi-faceted mission that extends far beyond traditional newspaper reporting. The continued enhancement of our coverage through the use of all available tools – digital media, social media, mobile, video, photography, blogs, apps — is essential. Photographers must produce news, sports and feature photos and videos on all content platforms like never before. Our news and copy editors will be challenged with the lay out of pages and editing of copy targeted for our website and all other digital platforms in addition to print. And the visual storytelling by our news artists/page designers must be part of our content across all platforms. Likewise, our editors will be required to take a much more aggressive approach to further developing our 24/7 news report on a daily basis.

Starting Monday, conversations will begin on reassignments and steps we see as essential to continue to deliver our great journalism to Inquirer readers when and where they want it. We know that in order to produce content that is indispensable and relevant going forward and that serves our readers in a way like never before, that these steps are absolutely necessary.

Thanks in advance for your cooperation and continued commitment to excellence.

Bill and Stan

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