One reporter told a client of mine that it's "hard to figure how we'll still put out a semi-credible product."
Business and civic leaders around the region are frustrated. "We got used to not having Denver Post or Rocky Mountain News reporters at city council meetings a long time ago," one mayor told me. "But now they're barely covering the city election or anything else, either. What's infuriating is that people tell me all the time that they want a good newspaper, that they'd pay more for local coverage."
What you hear from a lot of media people around Denver, though, is that the newspaper is a lost cause. They insist that there's no "business model" to sustain revenue.
Repeat that: There's no business model for a daily newspaper with an established brand, talented reporters and a virtually exclusive relationship to a metropolitan area of 2.5 million people.
You have to say this over and over before you believe it. Because it's bull.
There's a big difference between not having a business model and there not being one.
Consider all the media choices that capture today's eyeballs and eardrums. Now look at the Denver Post and DenverPost.com. Are they the best products they could be? Do they strive to be compelling and relevant, day in and day out?
Or are they tired vestiges of Eisenhower-era, mass-market display advertising and classifieds thinking?
I hate to sound like a motivational poster. But what's keeping the Denver Post from succeeding in the information age is the Denver Post.
"The tradition-bound and risk-averse nature of the newspaper culture is the single greatest reason publishers are losing readers and revenues while competing digital products run circles around them," wrote Alan D. Mutter, a former Silicon Valley CEO who teaches media economics at the University of California-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. "Newspapers need some fresh DNA that will make them think and act more like techies and less like, well, newspaper people."
You want to turn things around, Denver Post?
And do it now.
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