Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Decline of Newspapers

Dear Readers (yes both of you!),

I primarily blog at this website now - -- but still post here at Space Beagle on a wider variety of topics so I hope you enjoy the postings.

I admit it -- I probably should have been born around 1935 which would make me 20 years old in 1955. Yes the good old days when the "evening newspaper" was still an American institution. I love newspapers so I will always subscribe regardless of the Internet world. I just hope some newspapers actually survive so I can keep subscribing!

However, the current trend doesn't look good now that Minnesota's largest newspaper - - has declared bankruptcy. Assuming they continue evolving as a business they will survive in some form I believe. Perhaps the clearest indication I have seen so far regarding the need for newspapers to evolve rapidly was noted in this recent article, "Star Tribune may not pay workers full severance." At the very end of the article was this fact, "the Star Tribune spends about $100,000 annually for rent in the Lowry Building in downtown St. Paul."

What? $100,000 annual rent for an office where newspaper staff can work? I have to say that is simply crazy!! The Star Tribune announced it would not continue leasing this office space opting instead to move their St. Paul staff to their Minneapolis office space while they consider their options but here are two options I never heard mentioned:

1.) Buy a condo in downtown St. Paul -- since there is such a glut of condos on the market the paper could probably purchase one for $100,000 then spend a few thousand more to wire it for staff to work online. A one time expense. We are only 20 minutes from downtown St. Paul and condos in our town are being sold for $139,000 for a two bedroom unit.

2.) But the best option by far for the paper would be to phase out most of office real estate by embracing telecommuting. Yes, send all the staff home with their job assignments and perhaps $3,000 checks for new lap tops and home office supplies.

By declaring itself a virtual company the Star Tribune will not only achieve cost savings but they will also increase their relevancy in our Internet economy.

Keep reading,


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