"We call for action," the editorial declared. "Consider this editorial and this Sunday's Perspective offerings a plea to Alden [Global Capital] — owner of Digital First Media, one of the largest newspaper chains in the country — to rethink its business strategy across all its newspaper holdings. Consider this also a signal to our community and civic leaders that they ought to demand better. Denver deserves a newspaper owner who supports its newsroom. If Alden isn't willing to do good journalism here, it should sell The Post to owners who will."

    . . .

    The newspaper's owners have "embarked on a cynical strategy of constantly reducing the amount and quality of its offerings, while steadily increasing its subscription rates," the editorial continued. "In doing so, the hedge fund managers — often tellingly referred to as 'vulture capitalists' — have hidden behind a narrative that adequately staffed newsrooms and newspapers can no longer survive in the digital marketplace. Try to square that with a recent lawsuit filed by one of Digital First Media's minority shareholders that claims Alden has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars of its newspaper profits into shaky investments completely unrelated to the business of gathering news."


I mean, spoiler alert, when you treat anything as simply a profit-creation mechanism, its quality suffers. Quality costs, and profit is all about getting the most revenue you can for the least amount of capital, which leads to a situation where the operator constantly experiments to see how low the quality can be (and thus how cheaply the product can be made), without an excessive loss of revenue from people refusing to buy an inferior product.

This strategy is used in industry after industry because it works - Power tools are an easy example. Especially if it's a known, well-established brand, we'll tolerate a lot of bullshit before we move to another product. This is just venture capitalists using the same strategy they've seen work in other industries, applying it to newspapers.

And so far, it's making them a lot of money right now (even if it won't long term). why do they care if the news sucks? they'll suck the vein dry then move on to something else.

So good luck, Denver Post Editors, but I don't think you'll get far. Maybe try and crowdfund a printing press so you can start your own newspaper? Unfortunately it's sort of the kind of industry where you need a lot of capital to be able to compete.

Welp. I depressed myself.

posted by user-inactivated: 319 days ago