Times-Dispatch Death Watch

Media General released news of a corporate reorganization that looks simple on the surface, yet very telling on another level.

Instead of looking at its operations as three types of media – publishing, broadcasting and interactive – Media General is going to organize and manage the company by geography, with all properties in a given market reporting to a market leader, regardless of platform. . . .

Virginia/Tennessee – James A. Zimmerman. He is currently President of the Broadcast Division. In 2008, the VA/TN market had revenues of approximately $235 million.

Florida – John R. Schueler. He is currently President, Florida Communications Group. In 2008, the FL market had revenues of approximately $215 million.

Mid-South – John R. Cottingham. He is currently Senior Vice President, Broadcast Stations. The Mid-South market includes South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. In 2008, the Mid-South market had revenues of approximately $170 million.

North Carolina – James R. Conschafter. He is currently Senior Vice President, Broadcast Stations. In 2008, the NC market had revenues of approximately $105 million.

Ohio/Rhode Island – Richard E. Rogala. He is currently Vice President and General Manager, WCMH-TV Columbus, Ohio. In 2008, the OH/RI market had revenues of approximately $62 million.

I noticed the same thing the reporting website concluded:

RBR/TVBR observation: We can’t help but notice that all of the new market segments will be headed by people from the Broadcast Division.

The real question is why aren’t there any newspaper executives in this line-up? Why is broadcast leading the charge?

Or maybe the bow ties at MG are finally getting it.

Dinosaurs can’t reach for the future.

They have only one possible fate.

3 thoughts on “Times-Dispatch Death Watch

  1. It’s true that newspapers have failed to evolve much. Like those dinosaurs, they became too successful in one environment and didn’t adapt to change.I guess that’s unlike broadcasters, who lead the charge to change …<>“Tonight, a NewsMogul99 investigative story from Dash Faster …”“Hi, guys. Well, um, this public official, he got a ticket. And it hasn’t been paid. For driving too fast. Back to you, BobSue.”“Thanks, Dash! Now, in the region, we have murder, rape, assault, murder, crashes and …”“Bunnies!”<>New ideas can still be found in all departments and at all levels in the news industry. Unfortunately, it seems much of the newspaper side saw no need for change and grew accustomed to ignoring ideas. Over time, it seemed to become more than ignoring ideas – folks offering different approaches became the enemy.The reorganization plan isn’t unlike a proposal I remember that called for experiments with a multiplatform group. That idea drew no interest in an industry grown accustomed to a simple, mostly unchanging product.Still, I think that after the mass die-off takes place and hundreds of publications are dust, we’ll find a few of these mutants hanging around. They will be providing even-handed coverage of events and issues, and will be thriving.Kind of like those <>dinosaurs<>. You know, many scientists believe those droppings decorating your car hood come from the feathery kin of dinosaurs. An evolved, often smaller, more nimble and vastly successful dinosaur.


  2. I would argue that newspapers have not as much evolved as they have simply changed things around in a mostly-blind effort to reach the readers they were losing. And agreed, broadcast execs are no better than newspaper execs, EXCEPT that they have a wider-ranging sense of marketing their product to the masses than hard-boiled journos do. It’s a shame that management — and that is firmly where I place the blame for the slow death of metro-newspapers — depends only on other managers (read: newspaper lifers) for wisdom and guidance, where in today’s society, it is the new generation that can help guide an 18th century product into the 21st century. And you and I are completely agreed on successful dinosaurs. They adapted, they sped up, they became more compact and efficient, and they consume much less. Will the bow ties ever realize this? I don’t know. Shame.


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