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Repackaged journalism has a healthy future April 4, 2008

Posted by Robert Rich in symposium.
Tags: , , ,

Journalism has a healthy future, as long media companies recognize the importance of what is the most important period of time in the history of the newspaper.

“2002-20012 will be the most transformational period we have ever seen, and we are smack dab in the middle of it,” keynote speaker James Moroney said.

Moroney, the publisher and CEO of the Dallas Morning News, likened this new period of journalism to orange juice consumption in the United States.

“Every morning I used to drink orange juice from concentrate and read the paper, this Norman Rockwell breakfast,” Moroney. “Now, you can barely find frozen orange juice, but consumption is at an all time high. It has simply been repackaged.”

Moroney offered both short and long-term goals for news and information companies to deal with the aforementioned transformation. Short-term goals included deciding on your lower margin and managing to it, and raising newspaper prices while at the same lowering advertising prices to improve the reader’s experience.

“In the long-term, you have to build a culture that embraces change,” Moroney said. “If you don’t have the culture right in your company, but you have a brilliant strategy for repackaging your paper, you’re probably still going to fail.”

Moroney also emphasized that local news must be the most important value in a news business.

“It sounds non-moral, but there’s an old adage that says the house that burned down next door is always more important than a major earthquake that killed tons of people in a country they can’t find on a map,” Moroney said.

Moroney said he does not know when the revenue decline newspapers have seen will slow down or cease, but said he still believes in the power of journalism.

““Why do we stay in this fight, why don’t we go join a digital startup? I believe we stay in this business because I genuinely believe that the kind of journalism the US newspaper business has done is essential to a functioning democracy. Show me a country where the people in power are not freely elected, and I’ll almost always show you a country without a free press. Show me a country where citizens are constantly abused by the people in power, and there will be a country without a free press. We have to make this transformation. The Dallas Morning News is going to find a way to get there, and I hope you will too, because we’re all in this together.”



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