Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Withering on the vine

So both the Daily Hampshire Gazette and Springfield Republican have announced layoffs in the past two days (and even--GOD FORBID--the Valley Advocate), but they were quick to point out that no editors or reporters were caught in the collateral damage.

Of course, the reporters and editors now have to shovel snow, clean toilets and deliver newspapers on their way to work.

Interestingly they all blame the current economic meltdown as the culprit; but insiders know all too well, the real story is spelled I-N-T-E-R-N-E-T.

Strangely, both the Gazette and Republican were fairly early Web adopters although –more so the Gazette—they used the basic template /business model of paper and ink.

The Gazette, for instance, still charges a subscription fee for news content and Masslive (the Springfield Republican) do not. And Masslive continues to attract tons of eyeballs with all the many varied Forums for folks to freely bitch under cover of anonymity.

Over the past 26 years my tiny health club karate business would spend at least $10,000 annually--and sometimes twice that--in display advertising with these three. Over the past six months I’ve spent zero.

Will our local print professional news purveyors survive? Sure they will! But it’s going to get worse, and with inside information available on the Net 24/7 I’m not so sure the loss of our provincial publications—the Daily Hampshire Gazette and Amherst Bulletin--would be a major setback for controlling corruption in The Happy Valley (or just plain stupidity, which is equally bad.)

I have always believed the watchdog role is job #1 for a newspaper, and the Gazette/Amherst Bulletin lost sight of that a long time ago (or at the very least, lost all of their teeth).

But Springfield would be a disaster without the Republican.


Anonymous said...

These friggan papers are WORTHLESS...

Where the hell have they been with the drawn out investigation into the death of that child who was run over the Amherst bus??!!!!!!???

Wha? Huh?

Is Amherst trying to settle out of court? What's going on between the town and the family of the child?

Oh my god people, wake the frig up...

This is the person in charge of the case:

Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Melissa G. Doran

(413) 586-9225

Now do something!

Adam R. Sweet said...

I agree, the papers are pretty worthless. I read blogs to catch up on local news. Larry's is one I read every day. I use a service called Bloglines, which aggregates all the feeds in one place, much better than a newspaper because there are no ads and I read what I want, not what some dude sitting at a desk in Noho wants me to read.

Keep up the good work, Larry.

LarryK4 said...

Thanks Adam,
I've now forgiven you that 2-year-stint at Golds Gym where you pumped them up to 3,000 members (I bet now it's barely half that).

And did you notice the little puff piece article in the Gazette and last weeks Amherst Bulletin about a FREE Fitness assessment at The Leading Edge to kick off the New Year?

Took up about two columns across by 4" inches high or in ad terminology an 8" ad which would have cost about $100.

But the hilarious thing is Golds or Leading Edge has not done a single display ad in either publication for a freaken year.

Adam Sweet said...

Yeah those were the days, eh? Before Planet Fitness and the closing of Kidsports. I got stories I can tell...

Well, I couldn't care less about Gold's now. They screwed me over now they're getting theirs.

Whatever. Life goes on.

LarryK4 said...


And like the guy enthralled with the Sword of Damocles precariously perched over his head, I honestly can't wait for that Umass $50 million Recreation Center to open (can you imagine: $50 freaken million!)

And I'm sure it's just a coincidence that the Leading Edge Lite about to open in Greenfield is 20 miles from the Amherst heavyweight location.

And what do you want to bet that those one or two year contracts folks signed (and probably never read) at the Amherst location stay in force for monthly EFT debits as long as there is a location within 25 miles of their home.

Since they screwed you. why not screw another 1,000 or so members by relocating to the (cheaper) Greenfield location.

Max Hartshorne said...

I feel the same way Larry. I love the newspapers, read them voraciously, yet I think the value of the ads is lower than the cost. I never knew until the past 3 years how hard it is to just stay even with all of the demands and expenses of running a business. Boy it's hard you sometimes feel like you're being run over by an expense train!

Anonymous said...

Your blog will fill the gap because you are a journalist.

Ha! Ha! Ha!