When I spoke with Dallas Morning News publisher and CEO Jim Moroney Wednesday morning about the paper's forthcoming "'Subscriber Content' initiative," the very first thing he said was that he couldn't believe someone hadn't leaked his memo sent to the staff, which he then proceeded to summarize. This morning, the full text of his note found its way to Jim Romenesko's media news site. An excerpt:
So brace yourself. We will be vilified by the digital futurists, ridiculed by colleagues in our industry and fitted with a dunce cap by the trade media. In fact, some of the same will be heard in our own hallways. Much like our 40% increase in home delivery pricing in 2009, this strategy goes against the grain. But that's okay. We've been there before.
We are still living in adverse times in our industry. Newspaper industry advertising revenues declined for the fourth straight year in 2010. Last year felt better because the rate of decline decelerated; nevertheless, no one is certain that advertising revenues will grow in this new year.
Fortunately, we can learn more in times of adversity than prosperity. Based on this, we should have all learned a lot in the last decade in this industry. I hope we have. Yet of this one lesson I am certain: If in these adverse times, we cling to the status quo, if we just try to do better and better that which isn't providing us growth, we are failing in leadership and we are failing each other. And ultimately our business will fail.