September 22, 2015

How long will the Dallas Morning News remain anti-paywall?

Will a new editor, and a new managing editor whose last newspaper gig was with an ardently anti-paywall company, as I blogged earlier this month, be able to overcome ... well, overcome 15 years of digital-related stupidity and about a decade of paywall stupidity, and a publisher who's presided over most of that near-decade of paywall stupidity?

Or will a JOA with the Fort Worth Star Telegram come first?

The News is the 11th largest newspaper in the country. (Why it's not ahead of the Denver Post, even with allowance for the collapse of the Rocky Mountain News, I'm not sure. And, why the Houston Chronicle, no longer having to share a Metroplex-sized area with another daily, after the demise of the Houston Post, is behind the Snooze, is even more perplexing. Of course, in audited circulation, the issue of "branded" circulation is the most perplexing thing of all.) Besides the somewhat special case of USA Today, the New York Post is the only larger paper without a paywall.

The Post is, in its own way and different than USA Today, also sui generis. Rupert and the House of Murdoch are still content for it to bleed money as long as it remains a bastion of "man on the street" conservative print journalism, a thumb in the eye of liberal New Yorkers, and so forth.

My predictions?

The paper remains anti-paywall as long as Bob Moroney is publisher.

The two newspapers form a "JOA lite," short of a full JOA but with more cooperation, and more interlocking work than already in place, and forms it by the end of 2017.

Meanwhile, the bleeding continues. The News has just let go of what is surely one metro columnists popular with white suburbanite readers, Steve Blow and, rumoredly, Jacquielynn Floyd. (I've not seen any confirmation on that.)

I never hugely warmed to either one when I lived in Dallas, precisely because I wasn't in their target audience. Found both kind of like pablum, and found Floyd less liberal than she claimed to be. Basically, they're both writing to NPR listeners, which is fine. Or "fine."

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