Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Shake-up at the Register

I really don't know much more than what has been printed in various papers and trade publications, but I might after we have promised company meetings tomorrow.

N. Christian Anderson, publisher of the Register, has resigned his position effective Sept. 15. He will be replaced by Terry Horne, who's now publisher of the East Valley Tribune in Mesa, AZ, also owned by Freedom Inc. Chris has been at the Register almost exactly as long as I have (since 1980, with a few years away as publisher of the Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph), so it will seem strange for him not to be here.

Here's the Register's story, and here's the L.A. Times story (all right, I couldn't pull it up, but I'll get it in tomorrow). Here's the piece the trade publication Editor and Publisher did, and Chris's memo to staff.

My former colleague John Seiler, who left in the voluntary buyout last November (and whose blog I'll be adding to the blogroll tonight) thinks he was pushed. And this sentence in his memo -- "Over the past few weeks, however Scott [Flanders, Freedom Inc. CEO] and I talked more about a transition that would lead to my departure." -- is suggestive.

I haven't wanted to whine much, but the Internet is having a profound and at this time fairly deleterious effect on print newspapers. Advertising on the Net is much cheaper (Web sites, even the best ones, don't require investment in monster printing plants and fleets of trucks, for example), and most newspapers haven't yet figured out how to make money with their Web sites. We've been told our revenues are down 14 percent from last year and profits are down 36 percent. That's a huge hit. And the Register is doing better than some other papers. I think newspapers will survive in some fashion, but I doubt they'll ever be as influential and profitable as once they were. It's a dicey time in our business.

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