Saturday, 26 February 2011

Online focus?

The heading for John Chambers' appointment two years ago as managing editor of Sun Media's Brantford Expositor read: New Expositor managing editor to put focus on online product

Perhaps the online focus is one reason for the lengthy apology to print readers this week for not one, but two major blunders. 

"Based on the number of phone calls and emails received this week, a good number of you saw that on Thursday we ran the exact same Comment page that we ran on Tuesday."  Chambers says in the apology. "Adding insult to injury, on Friday we had the exact same letters to the editor we had on Thursday."  

Chambers accepts the blame and concludes:

"Simply put, I'm sorry. To our readers, our advertisers, and to all of our staff who work hard everyday, I apologize for this week's egregious errors. It IS unacceptable."

Yes, indeed.

Judging by the minimal amount of advertising on most of Sun Media's cookie-cutter websites, print must still be the bread and butter for the chain. 

So do you think the suits should be focusing on print until the Internet can carry the ball?


  1. The focus on the Internet did not cause these mistakes ... poor staffing and/or centralization of work were the likely culprits.
    We have kids working in these sweatshops (centralized office) who have zero experience and very little real leadership.
    At the newspapers themselves, staff levels are ridiculously low and mistakes like this are inevitable.

    Should we put the majority of our focus on print? If you're over 40, you'd say yes. But we no longer live in 1985, we live in 2011. Most people get their news from the Internet first. As newspaper people, we can hate that all we want and bury our heads in the sand, but it's just a fact.

  2. When hired as managing editor, the announcement said John Chambers would focus on the online product. With declining staff numbers, that would obviously reduce the focus on print. Print readers are the paying customers and advertisers are paying for what they expect will be a professional print product. Both are being short-changed by the rush to the Internet.

  3. Cookie cutter website. You said it. There's no 'online focus' that's any different from any of our other sites. Sorry, adding a few videos a week doesn't cut it. Ya got to love the pledges that suits make.... thanks for digging that out of the archives

  4. Videos??? We were promised video equipment and access more than two years ago and still haven't seen it. From what I've heard from our sales department, management is piling all of this paperwork on them, so they don't have time to sell online and they even when they do sell the ad, the graphics department is young and inexperienced and has no idea how to do it. What a joke.

  5. Centralization is not the culprit here. If it was, more papers would have made the same mistake. Not all the employees in the "centres of excellence" are no-nothing kids. You might be surprised on the level of experience in some of them.

    The more likely culprit? Understaffing at the paper in question. Or, even more likely, thinking someone else was going to read the page.

  6. The same pages has happened in Peterborough quite a few times. Rest the blame on kids working in the Centre of Excellence who are swamped doing so many pages for too many papers. There's little quality control and makes the newspaper folks look like idiots.

  7. I think we need to not forget that s--- should roll uphill and not always blame the workers. It has to begin with leadership. There is some great leadership in our company and some not so great leadership. Little quality control? There's no quality control. When you do point out the ongoing mistakes (headline screwups, cutlines missing or wrong cutlines under photos, copy that ends in the middle of a story, etc) over and over again to some people who are supposed to be in charge, you get excuses and you get tagged as a complainer so what does that say about the culture of quality?