Skip to comments.Newspaper Suicide: The Star Tribune Kills Lileks' Column
Posted on 05/07/2007 7:02:58 AM PDT by Valin
Let's see. Your circulation is crashing. The value of your paper has plummeted. Everyone in the industry recognizes that the the future is online, and most realize that the byline has become the brand and that writers with followings will be a crucial part of the rescue of the bottom line.
So what does the Minneapolis Star Tribune do?
I kid you not: They kill Lileks' column and send him to report news. Visit www.lileks.com for details.
Imagine The New Yorker asking E.B. White to manage the restaurant listings. Envision the Los Angeles Times dropping Jim Murray from Sports and sending him to cover county governemnt. Think about the San Francisco Chronicle assigning Herb Caen to the police blotter. It is that level stupid. (BTW: The Chron is still using Herb's stuff --it is the byline business.)
I expect that Lileks will gather in offers by the boatload, but off the top of my head, here are 10 places I expect to recruit him within days if the Strib doesn't get shocked by canceled subscriptions into realizing what a New Coke order of blunder it has made:
1. The Pioneer Press says: "Ahah! An opening!"
2. Jim Brady ar WashingtonPost.com says "Ahah, the center-right voice I have been looking for, and funny to boot!"
3. Politico.com says "Ahah, the established humorist who knows politics that we've been looking for to signal the center-right we really are going to be comprehensive."
4. Minnesota Public Radio says "Ahah! Camouflage!"
5. The Wall Street Journal online says "Ahah --extend the brand and grab his legion of readers for WSJ.com."
6. Time.com says: "Ahah! A blogger center-righters will read, as will lefties!"
7. Any English newspaper looking for an American to draw the colonials in says "Ahah. Here's an American who isn't dull!"
8. The Los Angeles Times says "Ahah! It's like the Dodgers or the Angels signing a free agent!"
9. Any online book club seeking a way to draw the literate reader to their site co-locates a Lileks' blog on their home page.
10. Any start-up online venture --any at all-- that wants instant credibility with the blogosphere.
BTW: To cancel your subscription to the Star Tribune, call 612-673-4000.
See reply 1 for more
From “The Bleat”
“What makes a newpaper great”
Good question, isnt it?
Im not going to answer it yet, because it would make my announcement seem a little self-serving. Yes, friends, its finally happened! Synergy! Synthesis! Brand consolidation! In a move that was as welcome as it was unexpected, Ive been moved you could almost say promoted over to the StarTribune online division.
Ill be developing new content, both video and audio, as well as blogging throughout the day in a new, improved, evolving Bleat! History buffs will relish the new Then and Now feature; podcast fans who want something new to hear on the way into work may enjoy my new Constant Comment feature, in which I read the stories and offer small editorial asides (think the MST3K approach, applied to a newspaper, spoken aloud.) Since the production costs on the podcast are nil, weve lined up some unusual sponsors who otherwise might not be able to afford print ads. (Comic book stores, online merchants, start-up sites, and other niche clients.) The video stuff I cant quite describe yet, but I know the objective: get the clips into YouTube and beyond, with the StarTribune logo embedded in the corner for all to see.
Diner? Yes. Weekly. And perhaps a Joe-Ohio type serialized online novel, set in Minneapolis, using the old Star newspapers from the 30s to drive the plot; it’ll be a way of promoting the new deep archive feature that makes the entire history of the paper, and hence the community, available as a searchable online resource.
In short, its everything Ive been looking for. All these worlds are mine, except Europa! There are union rules about that, I gather.
Hah! Just kidding.
That didn’t happen.
As it happens, they’ve killed my column, and assigned me to write straight local news stories.
My column will end a week from this Friday. (Theres a series of pieces I cant wait to write.) After that, it’s just-the-facts-ma’am - and I’ll no longer be telecommuting, either. This means I will start burning my share of hydrocarbons like a good American. Hell, I may leave the vehicle running all day outside the building just to make up for lost time. Maybe I will put a green roof on the car to balance things out. Some turf, some switchgrass. It’s murder on the paint but we all must do our part.
Would it matter if you contacted the paper? It very well might. Here’s the reader’s rep’s page.
If I can get my column back and / or a nice big Online gig, that would be a satisfactory conclusion. Reporting on internet start-ups as opposed to joining an internet start-up eh, not so much.
And let that be the last time the phrase not so much is used here. Its old. Weve all had a jolly laugh, but I heard Jeff Foxworthy use it on an oil-change commercial, which is like the UN-approved international standard for something being over.
Further proof of the national-socialist bent of the American left.
More proof that the hard left is humorless.
What a bunch of maroooons!
It’s almost as if they heard his chat with HH and his various suggestions in the past and just said, “Nah, let’s shoot ourselves in the foot instead”.
How much do you want to bet that Katherine Kersten’s op-ed column is the next to go?
The Red Star is so myopic, they just don’t understand why they’re losing readers. Give these folks a shovel and they just keep on digging.
Couldn’t happen to a nicer paper./s
NOTHING they do would suprise me. I would imagine James will be on Hugh’s show tonight to discuss this.
They live in a bubble. I was at an event many many years ago at Mt. Olivet and was talking to a guy who worked at the Red Star, asked him why they were so leftists....talk about a turd in the punchbowl moment.
The only paper deader than the Strib is the PP. Don’t count on any recruiting calls from that side of the river...
Clearly part of the paper’s live or die (the latter being chosen) with Franken.
Someone needs to let Hugh know it’s spelled “Aha!”, with one H.
“asked him why they were so leftists....’
Well? What did he say?
If I had the dough and was running for something, I would hire him as my speech writer so fast it would make his head spin.
Scoundrels & fools. For shame. I am a long time Bleat fan, and when I need a laugh the Institute for Official Cheer is the link I follow. Gnat’s dad is A-1 and belongs above the fold, bold type.
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