Sunday, September 13, 2015

THE UNZENS

I received a surprise this weekend as a call came in Saturday from Scott Unzen and his lovely wife saying they were boating south on their annual  trek to Bayview. I met them about four years ago when they introduced to me their love of my blog, Bay Views. Most of the time I get very little feedback, except when someone disagrees with me.

These were genuine fans of the blog. I humbly accepted the good things they had to say, knowing that they might be a majority of two. Actually, there are a few others, as my page views are approaching 393,947 page views since a Guy named Dave Oliveria, Ring master of the circus called Huckleberries on-line held a clinic on blogging back in 2005.

I was so ignorant of how the Internet worked that he had to practically tell me how to turn the power on. He led me by the hand, along with several other helpful friends until I learned to copy & paste, load photos, etc.

When the Spokesman-Review started the Idaho Handle Extra and the neighborhood special editions, I called and asked the then editor why Bayview wasn't included. His name was Tad. A victim of cost cutting he stood on his principles and quit. But first he hired me as an corespondent. He then added Athol and spirit Lake to my territory.

One thing led to another and I suddenly was a journalist. That last about five years, when they jerked the string and decided Idaho wasn't profitable. Rather than blaming their advertising department, they pulled out, not realizing that the bean counters were wrong and content and reader satisfaction was paramount. In short, they stopped being journalists and became as I said, bean counters.

There are two areas that drive newspaper income. Advertisers and subscribers. Advertisers count your subscribers to determine the exposure they get. Subscribers were dealt several blows. First, in pulling out of Idaho, just Bayview and Athol subscribers lost 60. These were people that enjoyed reading about themselves and their neighbors.

Then the extra money they get for selling the back page of a section overwhelmed the good sense of journalists who did jumps from the front page to interior pages causing folding and unfolding and sometimes skipping stories. The final blow, was when they started doing reverse jumps.   That is where they start a story on page 9 and continue it on page 8.

The total disregard for the reader has cost them hundreds of subscribers, which then push the advertisers to other venues.  Bean counters run the S/R, not journalists. The paper continues to shrink while subscriptions go up in cost. This is a prescription for failure. I feel sorry for my friends that write and photograph for what was once a great daily and soon will be a weekly.

1 comment:

Ally or Scott said...

It was nice seeing you again, Herb, and hopefully it won't be another four years! Will be in touch next summer when we make our annual trek. Take care! ~ Ally & Scott