Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Obnoxious State Legislatures A... | This Has Been the Solution All... »

Monday, April 7, 2008

Signs of the Times

posted by on April 7 at 14:05 PM

The series of unfortunate events:

The Times announces 200 layoffs, “due to the continued and increased loss of traditional newspaper revenue.”

They don’t post their announcement online. So we throw up some posts, which get linked at Romenesko, the Poynter institute’s media blog, driving web traffic about the story, which people want to read, to us.

In other words: They announce, we post, we get the traffic, they don’t.

It’s hard to write this without sounding like I’m kicking the corpseófor what it’s worth, as a prematurely old man, I’m deeply dismayed by the twilight of the print newspaper.

But that twilight cannot be denied.

UPDATE: You can read the story the Times posted online this afternoon here.

RSS icon Comments


I can see it now - all those people reading the comments and scratching their heads thinking "who the hell is this Charles Mudede?"

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | April 7, 2008 2:17 PM

See, this is why the PI has online blogs ... and why they sometimes post things that The Stranger thinks they're too cool to post (like pillow fights) ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 7, 2008 2:20 PM

Your sanctimonious tone, and your basic point, are absurd. posts constantly during the day, and is one of the busiest local-news web sites in America.

The fact that they took some time to post a story that's sensitive as hell for them internally bespeaks of exactly nothing.

Posted by Tony | April 7, 2008 2:27 PM

Why the hell would they post their own internal layoff notices as a news item? And for that matter, why did you guys post them? Because you guys are parasites, not journalists.

Posted by Dr. Zaius | April 7, 2008 2:35 PM

They posted a nice, long, detailed story on their site just minutes before your smug little post, so stop complaining, put down the pipe, and get back to work.

And if there were any layoffs at your place you would tell us everything right?

Posted by Ship of Fools | April 7, 2008 2:51 PM


If print revinue is down and online ad revinue is virtually non-existant how does this not effect the Stranger in the long run too? Oh, becuase bars and tranny hookers will want to buy ads even though everyone is reading it online and the cost of newsprint is going up? ... Right!

Before you get all snarky and talk about kicking a dead horse while it's down you may want to consider updating your own resume.

Posted by A li'l Horse | April 7, 2008 2:53 PM

The bitter print-media trolls have descended like locusts. You shouldn't'a riled 'em. They're fast typists -- fear them!

Posted by flamingbanjo | April 7, 2008 3:06 PM

Less dead trees is good.

Posted by Todd | April 7, 2008 3:09 PM

If the Times newsroom was to disappear, where would SLOG get its local bits of "The Morning News" from?

Posted by DOUG. | April 7, 2008 3:22 PM

@9: From one of the other dying newspapers.

Posted by J.R. | April 7, 2008 3:30 PM

Hey Brendan,

It takes time to write something worth reading. Perhaps you are not aware of that.

Posted by Yutang | April 7, 2008 3:34 PM

Are there any online-only "traditional" newspapers? I do still read the Times, albiet online. I wish (more) newspapers would get their heads out of their ass with regard to the power and potential of the internet.

Posted by laterite | April 7, 2008 3:37 PM

@9: Don't forget about the TV stations, either.

I find it strange that people are even defending dailies. Most major metropolitan newspapers are unwieldy monopolies, so I would think that a little culling might be healthy for them in the end.

Posted by Tom X. PDX | April 7, 2008 6:40 PM

Brendo, the day your website drives more traffic than the largest daily in the Pacific NW is still far away.

Posted by I'm a Nuclear Bomb | April 7, 2008 7:00 PM

Do you think maybe they wanted to inform the people who were laid off before the announcement became public? That's how things are done at grown-up businesses. Perhaps you do things differently at the Fisher-Price papers.

Posted by Still wearing Pull-Ups aren't you? | April 7, 2008 7:15 PM

Wow. Lots of comments from people who work at the Seattle Times apparently... Brendan's comments may have been snarky and it's understandable why you would be upset by them, but that doesn't mean he isn't at least partly correct.

Posted by Justin | April 7, 2008 7:38 PM

@16 His point? What's that? His point being, "Nyah nyah - a bunch of people at a newspaper lost their jobs and we reported it first, we rule!" Um sure... he can certainly claim that honor if he wants it. But read what it says at @15: that person says that perhaps Times management wanted to tell the people who were affected by the layoffs about it FIRST and in person or over the phone before it went out for public consumption. That's how it worked at Motorola and IBM (and yes I am old)

Posted by Robin | April 7, 2008 8:06 PM

@12: No.

Because, to an advertiser, each and every one of you slackards is only worth about 1/20th of what a print reader is worth. The day that online revenue will support an entire newsroom is the day that there will be an online-only newspaper. Not before.
Meanwhile, a lot of very smart people are keenly aware of our problems, and are trying to see that we even survive long enough to get to that point. Thanks so much for helping.

Posted by onewink3 | April 7, 2008 8:30 PM

@ everybody: Believe it not, I'm not feeling "nyah nyah" about anybody getting sackedónor "snarky" nor "sanctimonious" nor "smug." I'm just noting that the conversation about how daily newspapers are sliding into the tar pits has a lot to do with their being slower and more reluctant to report on what's happening, as it happens, online. That's all. I'm terribly sorry for anybody who gets sacked from any job, whether from a factory, a brokerage, or a newspaper. I can understand that you're feeling threatened and touchy out there in DailyLand (as we all are, at all papers everywhere), but freaking out at me for noticing an individual instance of a broader phenomenon isn't going to make that phenomenon go away. And it's not going to save any of our jobs.

Posted by Brendan Kiley | April 7, 2008 9:59 PM

@17, the point that I think Brendan was trying to make (correctly) was that in today's 24-7 news cycle, timing is everything. Blogs and online newspapers seem to be attracting more people because they deliver news faster and more often. When you are the first website to break a significant story, the majority of the web traffic from that story is going to come your way. The fact that the Seattle Times was the source of the news and yet the Stranger was first to report it highlights this fact. Granted, I'm not suggesting that the editors of the Seattle Times should have posted their news of staff layoffs before informing the people it affected, but in general, I agree with Brendan that online news outlets are leaving traditional newspapers in the dust by reporting news in a more timely manner.

Posted by Justin | April 7, 2008 10:01 PM

An acquaintance of mine was laid off from the Stranger and apparently there were other layoffs there. The Stranger and other weeklies are having the same problems as every other print media. For a bunch of loud-mouths, the Slog writers are amazingly silent about this topic! Maybe when you write about your own layoffs, too, Brendan, people won't call you smug.

And #20, I realize nobody reads the Stranger in print anymore, but believe it or not, they are print medium too, just like the Times. And also, believe it or not, the Times has a web presence too, and in gets way more traffic than Slog. Your comment doesn't make much sense.

Posted by isis | April 7, 2008 10:22 PM

It's really, really hard to believe you, Brendan @19. Read your post again. Check out the bold type. The "snarky" & "sanctimonious" attitude is undeniable.

"They donít post their announcement online. So we throw up some posts.."

"In other words: They announce, we post, we get the traffic, they donít."

As it turned out, they did post a long informative story about the layoffs, moments before your post. I guess you were too busy composing your little masterpiece.

And @20, this wasn't about breaking a major news story before anybody else, this was about putting a very bright spotlight on a competitor's financial woes.

Three separate posts gushing about layoffs at another paper? And then the little fact-free blurb about Emily White leaving her job at the PI? This isn't journalism.

Posted by nyah nyah nyah | April 8, 2008 12:38 AM

everybody's fucking scared, and there's nothing fun or exciting to be said about it

i'm just glad my dad said he understood if i ever had to sell drugs, just as long as they weren't white or needle-style

Posted by ndrwmtsn | April 8, 2008 12:42 AM

Brendan, you're full of shit. The Times and P-I post breaking news as soon as they have it these days. Have been for quite a while.

Unlike the Slog, however, they actually check facts, get the complete story before posting, rather than just slapping up any wild rumor.

So congratulations on getting a scoop (if sitting on your ass and having someone e-mail you a memo can be considered ball-busting journalism). Folks at the Times were too busy learning whether they still had a fucking job to go back to, so you can forgive them if they didn't post it as fast as you'd like.


Posted by bigyaz | April 8, 2008 2:06 AM

When we learn the Stranger has layoffs, we don't post, we yawn.

Posted by yawn | April 8, 2008 9:14 AM

@21: The difference between the Times website and the Slog is this: The Slog offers original, constantly-updated and commented upon, web-only content (well, it's web-only until a bunch of it shows up in the next print edition, but you get my drift). The Times website is accessed mainly by people seeking to read the stuff from the Times' print edition for free. So, the more traffic the Slog gets, the more the Slog grows--and the more traffic the Times website gets, the quicker the Times dies. Got it?

Posted by J.R. | April 8, 2008 1:35 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).