The dramatic shift in advertising dollars to digital and online media from traditional media forecast in Dan Japhet’s accompanying story is raising questions about the future of more than brands.
As Don Riggs reported in his column, Sinclair-owned KOMO-TV has cut 10 newsroom positions, including all three members of its investigative team, and KING-TV’s Northwest Cable News ceased operations on Jan. 6.
One observer noted that, in addition to diminishing revenues, NWCN likely was the victim of news “cannibalization,” given the fact that it operated a 24-hour regional news cycle in an environment already saturated with network and cable news—not to mention the ever-growing list of online and digital information sources.
And now comes news that The Seattle Times is cutting 23 newsroom employees in a downsizing that will affect other departments as well. Executive editor Don Shelton said in The Times’ Jan. 6 article that “there are some really good people who are not going to be with us as we downsize.” (Since no names were provided, loyal readers like me will just have to wait and hope that our favorite byliners are not among the missing.) Shelton said that, even with the cuts, the newsroom would still be “robust” and that he is “confident we can do great journalism.”
The story also noted that, while digital revenues continue to increase, they’re not sufficient to offset structural advertising losses. The company declined to say how many positions would be cut companywide or the dollar amount of the savings it’s hoping to achieve.
The good news is that the report stated clearly that The Times will continue to publish its print edition seven days a week, although changes in news coverage and the posting of content online will be forthcoming
Publisher Frank Blethen, a 2016 MARKETING IMMORTALS inductee, insured readers that the 120-year-old family owned publication “will remain the largest and best news organization in the Pacific Northwest, now and long into the future.”
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org is you have information about other impacts of the surge in digital-ad spending on traditional media.