Left Bay’s Musings on the Media

Searching for answers in sales and marketing

Thinking about newspapers and journalists

I find myself thinking a lot about newspapers these days, and journalists in particular. I got my start as a journalist, albeit as a radio journalist. In college, I worked at UC Berkeley’s radio station KALX, then got hired by Tony Russamanno assisting with the morning news at KMEL. Eventually, after business school at Stanford, I made my way to one of the largest newspaper publishers in the country, Knight-Ridder, where I worked on the business side of the company and did everything except write articles. But I continued to consider myself a journalist, even after I moved on to run the operations of graphic design magazine called Communication Arts.

So it’s with a lot of sadness when I read about the demise of the Rocky Mountain News. As a kid in Kansas City, my dad would sometimes take me to a downtown newsstand and there I’d thumb through the out-of-town newspapers. My favorites were the tabloid-style papers like the Rocky Mountain News. I never could figure out why other papers didn’t follow their format — it was so easy to hold, for a kid or an adult. Headlines seemed to fit so much neater, too.

There’s also talk about the Hearst company’s San Francisco Chronicle losing money and being up for sale. Advertising revenue is down. Circulation has plummeted. Are there any newspapers making money these days?

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