What's wrong with this picture?


What’s wrong with this picture?


Well, the obvious is that the cat is eating the dog’s food. That is nothing earth shattering. I suppose cats across America this morning are feasting on someone else’s kibble.  Given the whole picture, however, you would see that the dog’s food is located on an ugly and tattered forest green towel on the floor of the family room. Now, this is criminal! Heads should roll.

Let’s play again. What’s wrong with this picture, courtesy of the San Diego Union Tribune?

As we continue to evaluate the best use of our resourcesin a challenging environment, the Personal Technology section that has been a fixture in the Monday newspaper is being eliminated.

Well, from the first line, “resources” and “in” should be their own stand-alone words. Given the source, a professional purveyor of the written word, that is too obvious. On closer inspection, the decision to eliminate any coverage of that which is primarily responsible for declining readership and will arguably prove the ultimate demise of the paper seems just so out of context given the bigger picture. Heads should roll.

Be assured, we will continue to cover personal technology in the Business section and other sections of the newspaper.

The weekly video game reviews and the Macintosh and Windows question-and-answer columns will continue to appear in the newspaper and on SignOnSanDiego.com.

Where’s Waldo?

Last week, they nuked the stock quotes from the business section. This one makes sense. The Local section, however, has been retooled to look like a high school newspaper (no offense to high schools intended), with Page One articles on potholes and overgrown street trees dominating the “news”. Job classifieds have been relocated from the Business section to the regular Classifieds section. This is not because someone suddenly discovered that “jobs” and “business” are unrelated, but because the Classifieds section has been wasting away on life-support for awhile.

In August, they proudly announced, in what was described as a “bold move”, the following:

In an attempt to maintain readership of its classified advertising in the face of competition from growing Web sites, The San Diego Union-Tribune will begin offering free classified ads to individuals.

Wow! That will work! The biggest source of advertising revenue from classified ads continues to be in the real estate category, but even that segment has just seen its first declining quarter since 2000. Blame it on the market, but I wouldn’t expect this cash cow to hear the dinner bell and return home any time soon. Our dollars have migrated to the Internet. You can read about it in the Personal Technology section. Oh, wait…

The punch line is that at a time when they need the real estate agent and their advertising dollar most, they have done everything possible to alienate the industry. In the face of our thundering out-migration, they penalized the few remaining loyal advertisers by raising the ad rates. At the same time, they launched a veritable assault on the image of the profession through column after column misrepresenting and denouncing the agent’s income, belittling the agent’s worth, and then, when the market turned, celebrating the fact that so many were being forced out of their livelihood. As for the real estate market news, even not-so-negative numbers were buried in a wall of fine-print words with a headline screaming Armageddon.

I could have forgiven all of this, but the reality is that my ads no longer generate inquiries or interest. None. Zip. Crickets.

According to the Union Tribune’s Director of Advertising, Scott Whitley:

“This is not a move out of desperation. It really is about growing readership with content – and advertising is content.”

Paid advertising is even better content, I bet. What’s wrong with this picture?

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