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January 22, 2008 / Toby Dayton

Orange County Register Eliminates Its Business Section

In another sign of the implosion of the daily newspaper industry, the Orange County Register announced that it was folding its business section into the main section of the daily paper. This basically means that the business-related content will be so weak and anemic that it cannot support its own section. In other words, the daily is eliminating its business news coverage altogether. “Shifting our business coverage into News is driven by a need to be more efficient in the type of news we publish in our newspaper versus online,” said Terry Horne, Register president and publisher. It’s obvious but worth emphasizing that ‘more efficient’ means reducing costs by, in this case, removing a meaningful chunk of local content and making the paper less worthwhile to read than it likely already is.

Cutting out stock tables makes all the sense in the world – when was the last time anyone looked up a stock price in the paper? But eliminating the entire business section? Complete lunacy. (Though I will admit that, here locally, the Star Tribune has gutted their business section so badly over the years that they have rendered it almost completely irrelevant as a source of local or national business news. As a result, the loss incurred from cutting it altogether would be a small one indeed). I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why management within daily newspapers fail to see that what they are doing is cutting off, limb by limb, the things that make the paper worth picking up every day. Or even worse, maybe they see it but feel they have no other alternatives. When all they have to offer readers is their content, and they start taking that away, what is it that they think could possibly happen other than losing more readers and further debilitating their business? The downward tailspin  continues to accelerate…

[tags]Orange County Register, Orange County Register Eliminates Business News, Downward Tailspin, The dailies Are Dying, Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline, Negative Reinforcing Cycles, Why Are Newspaper Executives So Dumb?[/tags]