JAMESTOWN-The Post-Journal was once locally owned, but for several decades has been part of Wheeling, WV. based Ogden Newspapers. It is, like all Ogden properties, operated for maximum net profit. It, like all Ogden properties, operates with little if any regard for quality journalism. It is a mediocrity designed to make as much money as possible.
And give Ogden credit on the business side: The company is still buying local newspapers when there are few buyers for print news media. Ogden buys a paper and very quickly installs changes designed to turn a bad business to a good one. On the flip side, Ogden’s methods quickly turn good newspapers to mediocre sheets or worse.
PURCHASED THE OGDEN (Utah) Standard-Examiner…THEN WHAT HAPPENED?
Ogden purchased the Utah paper in a deal announced April 23. On May 11, Ogden eliminated 21 employees including five in the newsroom and the publisher. The paper’s previous owner said the business was losing money for the past year, so it can be argued Ogden didn’t do anything that the previous owner would not be forced to do, and, further, saved a newspaper headed for insolvency. Fair points.
In a statement issued Saturday (May 12) Michael Christman, regional publisher for Ogden Newspapers of Utah, said the layoffs would allow the newspaper to “better focus its mission on true community journalism” and “free up”reporters.
So here we have a publisher lying about a news event at a paper he oversees. And it was a lie. Cutting 21 employees including five directly concerned with news gathering and a veteran publisher will “free up” reporters? No, Mr. Christman, it won’t. Fewer reporters are not “more.”
Then Mr. Christman lays out what I term “the Ogden formula,” or when I’m grumpy, “See the kids finger paint. Paint, paint, paint.”
“We are very confident with the direction we intend to take The Standard-Examiner — and that direction is focusing on how life is lived in this region,” he said.
“Our goal is to tell the story of Weber County and the surrounding area — from the successes of local high school sports teams to the pride we all feel when one of our neighbors does something inspirational to just how — and why — our local officials are spending tax dollars.”
Uh-huh. “Covering the way you live,” as printed on the front page of our Jamestown daily. Gosh knows, “Uncovering the facts,” is hard work, but it is the work of reporters. However, that is not the Ogden way.