How to win the newspaper war?

I see in the Vancouver Sun today (p. D6) that Sun Media Corp. in Toronto is cutting 120 jobs. (Sorry, the story seems to be behind the firewall).

Most of the lost jobs will be those of  “journalists, editors, photographers, librarians, freelancers and some management.” According to the report, the company wants to introduce some new technology, shore up it’s online business, and expand its free local papers – like 24 hours. I suppose in the future they’ll be using some (more) centralized newsroom to create their news.

You’ve got to wonder…a media company…and the first thing to go when they want to save a few bucks are the content producers. Is there some logic in that? It sounds like a manufacturer saying “Oh my, we’re not doing that well. Let’s shut down the production line while we think about it.”

It seems to be the way things are moving though. CanWest does it now. As I sit on the couch in the morning, reading the Vancouver Sun newspaper and listening to Global news on TV, I’m amazed at how often I’m reading the exact same story that I’m hearing. And when I pick up the local community newspaper, half the same news is in there too. Sigh.

I wonder what new model for content will grow as more and more bored people start leaving mainstream media. I see blog posts about services like Scoopt Words and BlogBurst that offer to link bloggers with the mainstream press. Perhaps that’s the next model for fresh content in independent community newspapers, or on community websites – content from local bloggers commenting on their communities, i.e. citizen journalism. There’s been lots of talk about that too, but there’s still not much of a model for linking content producers with payment. That’s a stumbling block for all but the most dedicated.

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