POYNTER SEEKS CUTTING REMARKS

By: Lucia Moses

Study Seeks Impact Of Financial Pressure


Let’s face it – journalists can get a little emotional when
talk turns to the subject of profit margins and news coverage.
Now they’re being asked to provide cold, hard facts about what
financial pressure is doing to newsrooms.

The Poynter Institute and the Committee of Concerned Journalists
are behind the effort. They’re trying to bring substance to the
debate that was set off when Jay T. Harris resigned as publisher
of the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, protesting
higher profit-margin targets set by parent Knight Ridder.

“Journalists have been too easily dismissed when they protest
that the journalism is suffering because of a concentration on
satisfying shareholders,” Jim Naughton, president of the Poynter
Institute, explained in an e-mail message to E&P. “Facts
about real effects will help to influence the discussion, we
hope.”

The groups are seeking comments from both “working stiffs” and
“office bosses.” It remains to be seen how many people will be
willing to come forward; only on-the-record comments are welcome.
(The groups have titled their project “Where Courage Comes In,”
inspired by Harris’ example.)

Comments about the debate can be sent to noblesound@poynter.org.
The organizations plan to report the findings on the Web at http://www.poynter.org
and http://www.journalism.org/ccj.



Lucia Moses (lmoses@editorandpublisher.com) is an associate editor covering business for
E&P.



Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.

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