The Register goes on a big diet

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The Des Moines Register is laying off a dozen staff members and reducing its Washington bureau. The long-time farm editor is going, too. The Register was once a prominent newspaper, owned by the Cowles family and operated profitably for generations under their private control. When the paper was sold to Gannett in 1985, it had more Pulitzer Prizes in its name than any newspaper but the New York Times.

Unfortunately, it would seem that Gannett doesn't really know how to operate in a competitive environment. Newspapers long had a tendency towards natural monopoly on local advertising, since the first press run is the only one that costs (that is, all the hard work is in gathering the news...not in printing additional copies of the same paper). But the Internet is clobbering any newspaper that doesn't bring something extra to the table. The news itself is no longer unique; it's how that news is delivered that will determine whether a newspaper, website, or other medium will succeed.

And getting rid of a whole bunch of senior writers hardly seems like the right answer.

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This page contains a single entry by Brian Gongol published on August 22, 2008 3:02 PM.

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