Monday, June 29, 2009

fresno bee ad takeover

so, i happened to sit down with the actual morning paper today. the "a" section was pretty hefty, and i was sorta impressed. that's a lot of news. 22 pages long. then, i opened it up, and fifteen and a half of those 22 pages were ads. fifteen full page ads and a half pager (okay, one of the fifteen was like 4/5 ad, and the half pager was a little more than half and i rounded those together). now i know that selling ads keeps the paper printed, and affordable, but that seems a bit excessive to me. at least the local section was a little better, with only four of ten being full page ads.

22 comments:

hmac said...

Seriously, Ed. This is one of your more ridiculous rants.

You're wondering why there's less news content and bigger ads?

Remember the dozens of people who were laid off at the Bee earlier this year? They lost their jobs because there wasn't enough advertising revenue.

Fewer reporters = less news content.

And fewer ads means that the existing ads take up more real estate because they have to fill those remaining pages one way or another.

No ads = no newspaper. Be happy the Bee still exists.

Lulu said...

Nothing to anyone personally but I think I would be perfectly fine if the Bee didnt exist, at least in the print form. I would rather go straight to the article I want online than to read then flip through 8 pages of full ads.

Mike Oz said...

Wow, Ed. Just wow.

Personally, I like to see ads because that helps me keep a job.

If your favorite local restaurant hadn't been doing too well and you went in one night and it was packed, would you immediately complain that it was too crowded? Or would you be like, "Hey, good for them."

I guess you answered that already.

edluv said...

wait, wait, wait.

why is there less news content? did stories stop happening? how many of the people laid off were reporters? i ask because i don't know, and from what i remember of the articles about layoffs the majority of the lay offs weren't reporters (i could be completely wrong on that). and, we're talking about the front section which is largely taken from the associated press and other news services.

and i completely understand that ad revenue keeps papers afloat, which is why i said, "now i know that selling ads keeps the paper printed, and affordable, but that seems a bit excessive to me."

i'm just a bit surprised to pick up the print copy and see the overwhelming amount of ad content in the front section. i don't read the print copy on a regular basis, but it seems excessive that 70% of the "a" section was adverts. you say that existing ads have to take up more real estate. but i ask why does the "a" section needed to be 22 pages long? are they giving away full page ads, or selling them at cut rate just so that section is longer.

hmac said...

This seems to be your mode of attack lately -- pulling random complaints based on misinformation, or no information at all, out of your ass and then, when called on it, coming back with "Wait, I don't know about this. Educate me."

Why don't you try educating yourself before you start running your mouth?

You have friends who work at the Bee -- or did you forget that in your haste to bitch?

edluv said...

a point of clarification, it seems like people are reading lulu's comments as mine. they aren't. i never said i didn't like the bee. i'm not pissed off at the bee.

and no, i wouldn't be too mad if the places i frequented were busy. if i couldn't get a table, i'd be bummed, but that's natural. if i didn't like the clientele, i might be a bit put off. but, i wouldn't mind it if they were just busy.

edluv said...

heather,
do you remember when it you posted about gottschalks closing on the beehive, and some commenter gryped at you because it was a big loss of jobs and how they were big ad revenue for the paper?

as i ruminated over the events of my blog morning/afternoon, that popped into my head. not that you were wrong or anything. just seemed...sorta similar.

Brian said...

Seriously? Ed's "mode of attack"?

Lulu said...

Point of clarification, I never said I hated the Bee or am pissed off at it either. I just don't like ads, it really has nothing to do with the Bee itself. I like the content I would just prefer to get the content only and not deal with the ads. Obviously that's not reasonable as ads are neccesary to newspapers and all print media, but it doesnt mean I have to like them. Thats all.

And I think Ed has ranted about less significant things before, but thats why they are called rants. It isnt like he wrote a letter to the editor about it:)

hmac said...

Well, Gottschalks laid me off a year ago, so I guess I got mine, huh? You win.

thefresnan said...

I think the point here is Ed would like to see more news stories in the Bee. So hire some more damn reporters, Bee Overlords (ahh if it were only that easy).

Heads up for Tuesday's Bee as they move the local stories to the "A section", maybe the story per ad ratio will go up.

thefresnan said...

Oh, and also: BLOG WARRR!!

Justin said...

Wow, taste the sarcasm! I think ed has a valid point here, one that does not lessen his appreciation of those fortunate enough to still be at the Bee.
As a former Fresnan, I think the Bee has always had to struggle to prove it is more than just a community paper. I think it has to convince readers to subscribe to it, rather than the NY Times or SF Chronicle. When I was still in Fresno (10 years ago) I stopped my subscription to the Bee and went with the Chronicle, becuase at the time the Bee reporting was pretty terrible.
I think that Ed's point is that to stay viable the Bee has to continue to present itself as a top quality piece of journalism. By turning 70% of the front section into ads, it runs the risk of appearing to be a vehicle for ads.
Ed is clearly suggesting that the balance is off, but he is not trying to attack the paper or his friends that work there.

Justin said...

...to continue the restaraunt analogy, if ed's favorite place starting filling the plate with iceberg lettuce to cover the fact that the steak was only 3 ounces, he would be right to notice and say something. If the chef didn't care and things didn't change than it wouldn't be busy for long, and pretty soon the lights would be out.

Mike Oz said...

Two points at Justin:

1. The Bee is a community paper. Pretty much every newspaper in the country, with rare exceptions such as the New York Times, WashPost and LA Times, is a community papers. Community journalism is what's going to make the industry viable into the future. If you live in Fresno and want Chronicle reporting, that's fine, but it's not going to give you local news.

2. You make it sound like this is happening every day. In fact, it was one day. If such a pattern did start, then maybe a rant would be warranted. Instead, being critical of the paper because for once in the last few months it was a bit thicker with ads, that seems quite hasty to me.

edluv said...

i do just want to try and take a step back a bit. my original post wasn't trying to be some sort of indictment against the bee. i was just commenting because i don't sit down with the print that often, admittedly, and was a bit shocked or taken back that the 'a' section was so heavily ads. i don't know or think that this is everyday. just seemed a bit out of balance. wasn't trying to inflame the internets.

but i do thank everyone for commenting. feel free to keep dialoging.

edluv said...

and just again to look at my actual words, i was impressed that the 'a' section was so beefy. i was excited that there was a grip of news on a monday, then sad that so much of it was just ads.

Justin said...

In response to mike:

Without knowing how papers are classified, I would argue that the Chronicle is also a community paper. My word choice was probably poor. My point is that I perceived a difference in depth and quality of writing. As I said this was 10+ years ago, so I don't intend it as a critique of the paper now.

I don't intend to make it sounds like this happens all the time. I glance at the paper when I visit once or twice a year. However I would suggest that if the paper is trying to win back readers, than every instance is important because non subscribers can only evaluate based on that instance.

Above all, I was just shocked by the responses that implied Ed somehow didn't care about the people working at the Bee. The thought that somehow it's rediculous to be surprised that so much of the first section was ads, and that commenting on it meant that he didn't understand the struggles facing print journalism, or that he didn't care. I think it is a valid question, how much space should be dedicated to ads, and how should they be presented. I imagine that topic is discussed by the editors, and there is no reason it should be avoided here for fear of offending. I think he made an effort to preface his comments to avoid offense, unfortunately it didn't work. Or maybe I am reading more into your and Hmacs comments, maybe they were meant to be less hostile than they appeared. I hope so.

Mike Oz said...

Well, Justin, Ed's comments also came on the heels of some other hating on me last week ... so yes, we were probably a little more sensitive about it.

Ed and I have hashed that out, though, so it's all good.

And, yes, the Chronicle is a community paper. The papers I listed above are the only ones I'd say that have real national reach anymore. I'd say the Chronicle, these days, has more regional appeal in addition to community appeal (thus, why you'd read it in Fresno).

edluv said...

and today the bee changes up their format. new fresno bee has local section first. national and world have moved to second section. and, the paper is narrower.

i'm intrigued.

Monticore said...

This whole exchange and some previous one's gave me the idea of a Swede film titled the Real Bloggers of Fresno based on the Real Housewives Franchise.

brodiemash said...

@Monticore: I totally dig the Swede idea! Botox for everyone!