Tronc is letting go dozens of people.
Contrary to the Denver Post narrative, journalism is in deep trouble.
As in, dead.
Is this surprising? Not at all.
Contrary to conspiracy theories, the profession is crashing, and not as profitable as its minions thinks it is. What they do not get is that unless the owners push out staff, there is no profit. It is contingent on it, and implying that these owners can afford to keep workers misses the point of the strategy.
When I used to cover the business of journalism, newspapers were being bought and sold at inflated prices, even though ad revenue was eroding as was circulation. What owners did then — as they are doing now — is squeeze assets out before selling it.
It is not a real business model that has the long-term in mind. It is like flipping a house — you buy some shack at a decent price, slap some paint and cheap laminate flooring, and then sell it at a mark up price. You are squeezing the assets out of the structure with no regard to the actual house itself.
You aren’t living in the house, or making long-range plans. You aren’t investing in that house or ensuring it stays strong and durable. You do not have the future at heart or in mind.
The problem is that you have potential owners have a look, and the ones that once would have been the ones you ran a business with the future in mind saw there was clearly no future, and bolted.
What you have left are the newspaper-flippers. The smash-and-grab mentality has been plaguing the industry for as long as I can remember. If there was something of value being produced, the industry would attract a different sort of owner.
It is a serious problem that brought journalism the seeds of their destruction. It is not a visionary’s playground anymore, and without one, the industry became orphaned and thrown from orphanage to orphanage, becoming unloved and discarded.
The non-profit model is worse. You have pretentious partisans beg for money, and whiff of desperation is a turn-off with nothing to offer, including innovation.
Both models are prolonging the agony and preventing alternatives from taking root and grow, and it’s leaving a black hole on information in an era where we need sensibility and clarity to bring us back to our sense…