Tough times force ASNE to cancel convention
The only kind of party that most U.S. newspapers are having these days is a funeral party. This week alone we have seen:
- EW Scripps Co’s shutdown of The Rocky Mountain News
- USA Today publisher Gannett Co Inc’s 90 percent slashing of its dividend
- Hearst’s decision to try to sell and possibly close the San Francisco Chronicle (With a round of significant job cuts coming first)
- Bankruptcy filings for Journal Register Co and the parent company of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News
- One hundred job cuts at the Hartford Courant, which is owned by Tribune Co — which also filed for bankruptcy.
This is why the American Society of Newspaper Editors said on Friday that it canceled its annual convention. Here’s the memo:
ASNE’s leadership has decided to cancel our 2009 convention because of the challenging times we face. The text of the press release that is going out this morning follows this note.
The Convention Program Committee had put in place an innovative and relevant program, and I am very grateful to them. But it became increasingly clear in recent weeks that our attendance would be low because editors need to be in their own newsrooms during this difficult time. The board of directors will meet soon to deal with the financial implications of canceling the convention and map strategy for the coming year.
In the meantime, we will increase reliance on the Web to help editors share what they are learning as they reshape their news organizations for multiple platforms and operate with fewer resources. We plan to have our new Web site up this spring and we will produce more webinars and ramp up our recently developed newsletter, Editors’ Exchange.
As you know, we had planned votes at the Chicago convention on bylaws changes to drop “paper” from our name and expand our membership to include editors of online-only news Web sites and leading journalism educators. That, and the annual election of new board members, will now occur electronically. We will be touch with you soon on the details.
We will also move ahead with plans for our scheduled 2010 convention in Washington.
I want to thank you for your support and guidance. If you have any questions about the convention or other matters, please let me know.
Look on the bright side. All the money that editors would have spent on airfare, hotel and entertainment will go to keeping their newspapers alive for a few more days.