I learned a lot when the Des Moines Tribune died 30 years ago. The last edition of the Trib published Sept. 25, 1982, but that followed a summer filled with lessons (some of which took some time to sink in).
A little background before I review the lessons: I started working at the Des Moines Register in 1977. The Register, distributed each morning in each of Iowa’s 99 counties, covered the whole state. The afternoon Tribune covered central Iowa.
We competed feistily in a few areas such as Iowa politics, state government and Des Moines news, but it wasn’t exactly a fair competition: The Register had a larger staff and a national reputation. Even though the Tribune had several outstanding journalists who measured up with the best anywhere, the Register simply had more firepower. It also wasn’t a genuine competition: However fiercely we competed as journalists, we were owned by the same company. Whatever profits we made helped the same bottom line and whatever resources we wasted hurt the same bottom line. (more…)
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Posted in Allbritton metro operation, TBD, tagged Clark Kauffman, Daryl Beall, Dave Witke, David Kruidenier, David Yepsen, Des Moines Register, Fort Dodge, Fort Dodge Messenger, Gardner Cowles, Hometown, Jonathan Kronstadt, Kansas City Times, Lake Delhi dam, Mary Chind, Mason City Globe-Gazette, North Country Register, Parkersburg tornado, Pulitzer Prizes, TBD, Tom O'Donnell, Veronica Fowler on August 9, 2010 |
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I remember fondly the first time I felt the excitement of launching a new product. Memories have flooded back as I have spent the last six months preparing for today’s launch of TBD.
Hometown was going to provide a new business model for the Des Moines Register. I had the odd title of “launch editor.” I wasn’t going to be part of the permanent staff, but I was in charge of sending the product into orbit.
The Register was a dying breed in an industry that was prospering (sort of), but is now declining (some say dying): We were a statewide newspaper. (more…)
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