Sunday, May 11, 2008

The pot examines the kettle

The Toronto Star's David Olive looks at the New York Times and finds bad management, lack of imagination and intellectual stagnation.
Read the piece and replace "Times" with "Star".

Last week, the TorStar hit yet another 52-week low, fuelled by what one poster called a "capitulation trade", a huge (for this stock, as a 100,000 share day is the norm) offer of 500,000 shares at the bottom of the market. Yes, someone threw in the towel, believing the Star's situation was going to get worse, not better.

If you want an example of dumb thinking, nepotism, bad judgment and poor use of journalistic staff, you certainly don't have to go to New York. All four Toornto English dailies suffer from those malaise, and there's very little likelihood of improvement until the proprietors, present and future, are rattled enough to look inside the newsrooms and the executive suites and separate some sheep from some goats.
Unfortunately, the proprietors of the papers aren't any smarter than their employees or their expertise is somewhere other than newspapers.
The questions: why do the best and brightest young hires pay with their jobs in recessions while the deadweight, the wimps, the newsroom politicians, the dinosaurs and the huge bureaucracies of unproductive sub and assisting editors survive, age and entrench? In what other industries do such under-performing and non-productive executives hang on, year after year, while the equity of the company evaporates?

My prediction: the recession and the bankers will sort it all out. Toronto will end up with two or three very good newspapers owned by newspaper companies. And you won't get free local news on the Internet, if the owners have any clue at all about what they're selling.

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