Flotsam for today
* Update on my “soft parade” item last month: In Seattle, readership of the new web-only seattlepi.com dropped by more than 30% in March, in essence dropping the website from the coveted Top 30 listing by Editor and Publisher. While some are reading it as an indicator that print readership drives online, it should also be noted that seattlepi underwent a significant transition in its content, focusing more on community journalism and bloggers to provide the news. While it’s still way too early to make judgements, the drop may be more on the readers’ reaction to that change than any print/online link.
UPDATE, 1:46 P.M. THURSDAY, APRIL 23: A rocky start for the new venture by former Rocky Mountain News staffers as well. InDenverTimes, created to keep “The Rocky spirit in Denver” has parted company with the investors who had planned to support the site with the help of 50,000 paid subscribers. While no subscriber figures have been announced yet, it sounds as if the group would not make that goal by the May 4 deadline they had set.
* A brutal week in Chicago. The Chicago Tribune today announced it is laying off 50 newsroom members in an effort to ‘rightsize’ the company and get it out of bankruptcy. This comes a day after the crosstown rival Sun-Times announced it was eliminating 140 non-union positions throughout the company’s city and suburban properties. You have to wonder at what point do staff cuts surpass “fat trimming” and become a limbo contest of “how low can you go?”
UPDATE, 1:53 P.M. THURSDAY, APRIL 23: The Chicago Reader’s Mike Miner has a partial list of those let go. A number are friends who used to work at my company. But a lot of talent and experience has been bled in this last reduction. It will be interesting to see how the scope of Tribune coverage — especially in high school sports, a staple in the Chicago area and one dominated by the suburban papers — is affected.
* My Palm IIIc, which has served me faithfully as my life organizer for the past 9 years, breathed its last gasp of battery power last week and died a peaceful death. While researching a replacement, a friend forwarded me this Luddite-studded (though I wonder if using a Palm IIIc in 2009 could qualify me as a Luddite) pitch on 10 reasons why paper is still the best productivity platform. Michael Scott would be proud.
And can someone tell me where I can buy a Hipster PDA