When the going gets tough, newspapers clam up
The American Press Institute is gathering its newspaper nabobs to discuss ways to save their business. If you’re like this media reporter, you’d be interested in hearing what folks have to say when the conference happens. But you can’t; it’s closed to press.
Here’s Editor & Publisher:
The American Press Institute (API) will host an invitation-only, closed-door “summit conference” Nov. 13 in which 50 CEO-level executives will ponder ways to revive the newspaper business.
The one-day conference at API’s Reston, Va., headquarters will be “a facilitated discussion of concrete steps the industry can take to reverse its declines in revenue, profit and shareholder value.”
The API plans to release a report after the meeting. Of course, it would be interesting to hear the debate that goes into forming those conclusions.
Many sources whom we deal with in the media world — particularly reporters, editors and other members of the editorial staff — find it funny that the industry they’re in (finding and reporting information, truthsquadding the government, holding the powerful accountable, etc. etc.) relies on publishers and other executives who are among the most press-averse people in the business world. Some executives talk. But many others hide, and only come out once a quarter to share some more bad news.
It could be that they have nothing positive to say, that they have no ideas how to save newspapers and that it really is a no-growth, dying business. Or it could be that they have some really revolutionary concept that they’re not ready to lay on us yet. Or maybe it’s the well intentioned public relations concept that you never tell people about bad news (unless securities laws require it) and you only tell them the good news — like the idea that Barack Obama’s victory leading to massive newspaper sales is a trend that somehow will last.
But as the future of newspapers dims even more, it would be interesting to hear every idea their people have to turn things around.
Meanwhile, we asked the API why they closed the event to working press, and will update when we get an answer.