You can add one more item to your overflowing bag of reasons why you shouldn’t subscribe or advertise in the News & Messenger today, as their editor starts making not-so-veiled threats against the founder of PotomacLocal.com, which just happens to be outworking this dinosaur on the other end of the county from me. I can understand a bit of rivalry, accompanied by some professional level of decorum, but this is just too much.
PotomacLocal’s Uriah Kiser offers this well-meaning wish for the Thanksgiving season, which starts off this utterly bizarre episode
In this time of large corporations and media consolidation, and in this area where a local community newspaper isn’t even printed in your hometown, I hope you will continue to support an independent, unbiased and unfiltered news source.
To which Kari Pugh, the editor of the News & Messenger starts spamming the comments section on PotomacLocal’s article with a link to InsideNova and feels the urge to make sure Kiser is aware (as if he could forget) that his wife works there. The highly professional mainstream media style behavior devolves further into “So I felt the need to point out that N&M helps support your family, and we also gave you a pretty damn good start in your journalism career, too.”
Yeah, I got the threat here also. You go against us, and your family is going to suffer.
Media General, the owner of the News & Messenger has been losing money for quite a few years now and had been slashing staff in a desperate effort to try to make these local papers profitable. Unfortunately, their “business solution” to the problem has been to reduce the number of local reporters on staff and pay them shockingly little in such a way their staff turnover is atrocious. As their local news coverage increasingly suffers and they depend more and more on wire services and re-hashed press releases for content, the very reason for their existence diminishes as the quality and quantity of their local news stories plummets.
This ridiculously inept business model has thrown open a door for outfits like patch.com and PotomacLocal (as well as locally-focused blogs) to step into the widening gap to provide better local news coverage with vastly lower overhead costs, and because it’s leaner and meaner not only is it more responsive to stories as they develop, but they can compensate reporters better as their organizations are not overloaded with back-end staff and large sales teams sitting in expensive office space. Outfits like the News & Messenger aren’t going to last much longer unless they make some major readjustments, especially if they continue to act like this.
Personally antagonizing the people who are eating your lunch is not smart business, especially when you’re already losing money.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
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