Wednesday, August 19, 2009

FREEDOM COMMUNICATIONS MEETING NEW CHALLENGES

Its CEO left in July to work for Playboy. I know the interim CEO from his days at BELO and the Dallas Morning News. I will just say this - things are not going to get better.

Here are some interesting facts I discovered.

Brownsville Herald has a circulation of 19,500. This includes all of the free subscriptions and all of the subscriptions forced on people through the unauthorized billing of their debit cards. Trust me, you have a better chance of finding a woman of the evening with an intact hymen than getting Freedom to stop charging your debit card. My point is, what is their true requested circulation?

Valley Morning Star has a surprising circulation of 32,400. Why such a big difference?

http://www.freedom.com/fcan/papers.html

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Harlingen is English speaking/reading /better educated town.
I will never give the Herald my cc card number. Thanks for giving that heads up.
I struggle with this question: are we better off with the lies the Herald mixes in with its fluffy features, or is it so bad that we would better of without that paper at all?

BobbyWC said...

Great question - we need the Herald. As a cummnity we need to demand a better newspaper. The problem is a lack of vision. Everyone in the industry is hurting. I rarely watch cable news of any sort because I do not want to listen to talking heads. It is amazing to me that CNN can be on for 24 hours and have so very little news.

We need to get back to real beat reporters who did for the truth. Freedom Communications would sell the Herald in a heartbeat - we need a group of community oriented people with money to buy the Herald. It needs to be run as a newspaper not a business. If they would just get back to real news reporting people would buy it.

Bobby Wc

Anonymous said...

Agreed that the Herald meets the definition of a newspaper only in that it is printed on newsprint and agreed that we need an alternative. However, I have limited confidence that a locally owned newspaper is going to be objective. I would rather see publishers from outside the area that have no vested political interest in the Valley that think they can sell newspapers by printing the news whatever it may be. I guess I want the Herald to return to the days when Bill Salter was the editor and the reporters where smart enough to know they had to look for the truth and not just take what was handed to them. One of the things wrong with reporters in the Valley in both print and electronic media is that they don't seem to know much. I don't mean just about journalism but about the world in which they live. It is often clear to me that they are frequently not well read and that they don't seem to feel the need to educate themselves about whatever they are reporting on. I regularly hear or read statements that I know are wrong. Not necesarily a lie, but just a statement by a poorly informed person that is then repeated in the news as a fact. Remember when it used to be important to verify things before they were reported? Or, even more frequently, in the local news, it is clear that the reporter knows so little about the subject that he/she doesn't have a clue what questions to ask. The electronic media (TV) have the excuse that they have extremely limited time to get something on the air but it is a weak excuse and not always true. The Herald has no excuse as they frequently don't run stories until days after the event. Of course, the editors have to take most of the blame. Clearly, this is an entry market for aspiring journalist. The editors have a duty to help educate the people they have working for them and to keep sending them back to the field until they get it right. And while a young reporter may not have a clue what they are reporting, the editor, in theory older and wiser, should.
Mescalero

BobbyWC said...

Mescalero, while I do not disagree that an outside source would be a better choice the problem is two fold: [1] if it is a corporate entity they are still going to cover for their advertisers - this unfortunately is a mentality in journalism which management fails to see or understand actually hurts their circulation; and [2] in this market unless it is a fire sale no one is going to buy the Herald - its name have no value - i thas been too many years of bad journalism.

It is odd to me that with modern technology investors cannot see it is just better to start a new newspaper from the bottom up. I love the feel of print news in my hand while drinking my morning coffee.

Anyway, as always, thanks for the post

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

Good discussion!
There is a new model emerging of non-profit, foundation-supported internet newspapers. I think it is too soon to gauge their effectiveness or how much their coverage is influenced by the sponsors. So, why not an experiment like that here?

Anonymous said...

I think we would be better off without the Herald.