Thursday, July 10, 2008

Get some, Drescher

You may have read that a News & Observer reader sued the paper following newshole cuts and staff reductions, claiming he wasn't getting what he originally paid for.

Impossible to imagine a better response than this from the news boss:

John Drescher, executive editor of The News & Observer, said he's glad that Hempstead is a loyal reader and that the N&O has meant so much to him.

"We've had some really good papers recently, and they're worth more than the 36 cents a day that Mr. Hempstead is paying us," Drescher said.

"In fact, he owes me money," Drescher continued. "So when he gets a lawyer, he can work with my lawyer and figure out how much he's going to pay me for the excellent coverage he's been getting recently."


  1. Anonymous5:32 PM

    no worries howard....he's going to drop the suit. john told him if he won, part of the settlement would be having me live with him for a week....the last anyone saw of him he was screaming and running towards the mountains. 8))

  2. Anonymous7:27 PM

    flippant responses from several clueless folks. no wonder you guys are tanking. you think it's a big joke.....well guess what? the joke will be on YOU.

  3. Anonymous4:55 AM

    Great comment, agreed.

    So why was the second snarky graf edited out of the on-line report?

    Perhaps the publisher didn't share John's sense of humor.

  4. Anonymous727: The end of the world has been predicted since the beginning of time, the end of the newspaper business has been predicted (at least) since radio. Eventually folks won't get news in a paper and eventually the sun will go become a red giant and turn us into cinders.

    That either of these events happen doesn't make the predictions of their occurrence correct.

    In the meantime, we'll have our fun and yes, poke back at those who seem a little too into the schadenfreude.

  5. Anonymous8:04 AM

    Schadenfreude? You think we are wallowing in spite as MNI stock falls into the $4 category, and is now selling at a point lower than its $4.90 book value? There is little glee in these quarters as retirement dreams of thousands of people who once had faith in MNI are being destroyed daily.

  6. Anonymous11:16 AM

    With all due respect to my fellow commentators:
    I have been the managing editor of a paper that died. Until you've been through that experience, you really don't have a clue what the game is or what the stakes are.
    I loathe staff and newshole cuts as much as anyone. But I do trust that McClatchy didn't do it just to mess with people's lives. I've personally known news executives who do that and Howard and Gary don't fit the profile.
    As for John Drescher, I am glad to see there's an editor out there who doesn't feel compelled to apologize to or mollify every dumb*** armchair publisher who thinks he knows how to run a newspaper.
    If any of my fellow anonymi above are McClatchy news workers, I would suggest that the best way out of our current trouble is to concentrate on producing the kind of aggressive, investigative and public-protective journalism that history shows us can really move the needle on readership, be it in print or online.
    While quantity has a quality all its own, the reverse is also true.
    We all have to make our choices. Here's mine: If I'm going down, I'm going down with blood on my knuckles.


  7. Schadenfreude? You think we are wallowing in spite as MNI stock falls into the $4 category, and is now selling at a point lower than its $4.90 book value?

    Actually, yes. I'm rather tired of wave after wave of anonymous commenters rudely predicting and delighting in our misfortune, sniping from the darkness. They'll claim some fuzzy "stake" in the company, but only infrequently seem to back it with anything approaching respectful discussion.

    I hold MNI stock, I'm an MNI employee and I'm partially relying on the company's pension for my (eventual) retirement. So, I have skin in this game. Investing is risk. So is employment.

    We all have to make our choices. Here's mine: If I'm going down, I'm going down with blood on my knuckles.

    Exactly. We're actively trying to reinvent the company and any MNI employee can participate or not. Participating is no guarantee of success, happiness or comfort but not participating smells like quitting. Mere bitching doesn't accomplish anything. Action does.

  8. Anonymous12:49 PM

    If you don't want anonymous comments, you can go over to the wiki Howard set up. It is your choice continuing to read anonymous comments. I also have not seen any particular lack of respectful discussion. Perhaps you would prefer to read that everything with MNI is fine.

  9. Anonymous1249: Participants do have to register for the wiki, but they can do so anonymously by using a webmail address of their choosing.

    I can assure you, we're not trying to limit negative information or opinions.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. I'm base10 and I've updated the profile to be consistent between blogger commenting and the wiki. I am an active wiki participant.

  12. Anonymous7:02 PM

    base10 will want to skip this post because I am going to remain anonymous, but here are five observations on your Web sites that might help.
    1. Kentucky has a hell of a story on 10 people arrested for smuggling snakes. A truncated version was moved by the news service and appears on other MNI sites Friday. But where is the art? I'm not sure I know what a puff adder looks like and a picture of ther recovered reptiles. Also what happened to the alligator (you will have to read the Kentucky version to see what I am talking about)?
    2. Are there no pictures of attractive women worthy of being posted. Take a look at USA Today's weekened post to see what I mean -- more than half of the pix are women (including one of a woman wearing a nose ring to protect herself from lightning, and another model pix of the 22-year-old Canadian woman murdered in Japan). I looked at the N&O and Miami Herald in contrast. Pretty women are needed if you want to get Gen. X or Gen. Y readers. For young women, I recommend the USA story (with art) of a Mormon being excommunicated for publishing a calendar of half-naked Mormon missionaries.
    3. See 2. Interesting stories USA Today has. Does not MNI subscribe to wires, and could not editors pick off an interesting national story and feature it on the local site. The Japanese murder case, for e.g.?
    4. I found the MNI sites I looked at boring and very similar. Looked like last week. How about a little bit of excitement. You see what the new Washington Times Web site looks like? It's different.
    5. Not much sports. There is an Olympics Games coming up, I hear.

  13. Anonymous7:39 PM

    Re: blood on my knuckles...

    I've been doing the online newspaper thing for a long time now (over 10 years), much of that time at MNI papers. I too choose that if I have to go down, it will be with blood on my knuckles...

    But I would much prefer the blood on my knuckles not be from my peers.

  14. Anonymous2:22 AM

    Schadenfreude: Aren't you the business that, when my neighbor's son was run over by a school bus, sent a reporter to get comment from his parents, and a picture?

  15. Anonymous10:05 AM

    Is it a smart comment? Says to me 'We don't know how to price our product properly, either.'

  16. Anonymous11:47 AM

    Anonymous222: You're out of line here. Schadenfreude requires getting satisfaction or pleasure from the misfortune of others, which is categorically NOT the same thing as getting a quote from an accident victim's family.