Jeff Hankins, Kane Webb on Media Turmoil

Arkansas Business Publisher Jeff Hankins, writing in this week’s edition, discusses the media’s battle for ad revenue and a fractured audience in these dicey economic waters. But he begins with a disclaimer: When you keep hearing just how bad the nation’s economy is, consider the source:

The national media are enduring an economic crisis on multiple fronts. Their companies are bankrupt or struggling, their friends are being laid off, bloggers are stealing audiences, and in most cases, they are in the middle of a housing crisis. All this assumes they still have a job, and even then they are wondering if they will have one tomorrow.

So when the situation is that bad for the people who plan content and deliver the news, you can imagine the result.

The market forces that have been rocking the media landscape for the past year have finally made it to Arkansas, and the mood as dimmed accordingly. It’s tough to keep a clear head when the walls are falling down around you.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Perspectives Editor Kane Webb says as much in his Sunday column.

Webb takes a look around his Little Rock newsroom and sees empty chairs where some of his co-workers used to sit before being laid off. And there’s that 5 percent pay cut.

Of course, it could be worse:

It is lots worse in other places. As we were going through our little convulsion here in Arkansas, in Denver, the Rocky Mountain News was shuttering its newsroom for good. The San Francisco Chronicle may follow unless a buyer steps up-and who’ll step up in this economy?

It’s easy to get the blues. To sit at your desk and not see beyond the walls of the newsroom. Or the ad agency. Or the bank. Or . . . .

More from Hankins and Webb.


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