We’ve been part of the Baltimore community for decades, handling community relations and media relations for our clients, and never before witnessed such a change in the local newspaper scene.
The Baltimore Sun: buyouts cause dozens and dozens of experienced news staffers to head for the exits, while the editors work internally on a late August/early September release of a “re-design” expected to greatly reduce the space alloted for news. Already, readers have seen the elimination of a separate Business section. There’s more to come, sources tell us. Once household names, many reporters are taking on new careers (we know of a Pulitzer candidate turned inner-city kindergarten teacher). Who knows what the new Sun will bring, while the online version of the paper continues to see increases in visitors.
Meanwhile at The Examiner, they’ve switched to a Thursday- and Sunday-only home delivery schedule and introduced a competitive lineup of features that makes the tabloid-sized newspaper now appear surprisingly full of content: Credo, a page featuring a Q and A with an interesting local resident (the inaugural issue featured a Columbia, Md. native who is an astronaut); Green Scene, showing a company’s environmental innovations (have we got a client for you!); and Kudos!, honoring those residents who have achieved a special recogntion for their work or expertise. And there’s much more. If the paper can shake some of its startup ills (to begin with, way too many typos and factual errors by a young staff) it will continue to make a serious run at The Sun.
It’s tough times for the print newspaper, so the innovations – or missteps – here in Baltimore are sure to provide lessons for others.