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Thanks, Robert. Crunican must go. So what can we out here -- the BART riders and East Bay Express readers -- do?
I'm writing emails and old-fashioned letters and sending them to each and every BART board member to strenuously urge them to fire her. And I"m writing one directly to Crunican to tell her directly that I am not happy with her performance or her behavior, that she should be fired and we, the people, will work to make sure she's dumped out. What else would be effective to remove her and do that NOW?
It took a long time for wide-circulation daily newspapers to sink to this point and it will take a long time for them to "come back" to some new place in some new iteration.
As Dan writes above, Buffett and his team are trying to figure out what works in each market, which is the key. Relying on reader subscriptions simply won't provide the piles of cash you need to produce a newspaper even without presses and paper and trucks.
Note that local, smaller papers are still thriving in many places because they are still a good buy for local merchants who want to reach local buyers and the papers have stuck to "scale": they never did have huge staffs, they still focus their coverage on the local distribution area and feature standard, stock-and-trade community news, and they have very carefully started embracing tech distribution and story-telling. Also, many of these papers are still locally owned, not a part of large chains which long ago got sucked into meeting the demands of well-meaning MBAs and boards and CEOs who learned to demand insanely large profit margins. Newspapers used to provide a nice return on investment for their owners, but they were never cash cows. When the spirit of Profit Ahead of Service infiltrated newspapers on every level, we started to lose our footing.
Dan, you bring up another good point about not having purchased a paper in years. Habit is the key. Why newspapers haven't undertaken an industry-wide effort to start inculcating that habit -- to simply read, not even to go out and buy a print copy -- in every sector of the population is beyond me. In our new world of "every blogger a reporter," I think "brand" and the source of the news still matters. Good reputation, which legacy papers definitely do retain, should be maximized.
I'm in PR now and I was a newspaper editor and reporter for years and the loss of this public asset sends me to despair on a regular basis.
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