This morning at Time.com, a few newspaper execs were asked to comment on the sorry state of the biz. Among those queried were Scott Bosley, executive director of the American Society of Newspaper Editors; John Kimball, chief marketing officer for the Newspaper Association of America; and, course, Dallas Morning News editor Bob Mong. I've said it before: I like Mong, far as a few phone calls go. But if he thinks Dallasnews.com -- in the sorry, piece o' shit state it's in now -- is the future of Belo Corp., brother, we're gonna start calling you Mob Bong from now on. (Or something more clever to indicate a heavy usage of marijuana. You know, something to suggest that Bob Mong is high. Still working on it. Seemed funny at first. Now, not so much. Goddamnit, you think this is easy?)
The editor's note is after the jump. Anyone got a light? --Robert Wilonsky
Bob Mong, Editor of The Dallas Morning News:
"If you take a look at our company, the Dallas Morning News, what are the things that are growing the fastest? Not the Dallas Morning News you get in a bag on the lawn. That generates a few hundred million in revenues, but it's not growing fast. What is growing is Quick, a five-day-a-week free distribution paper, and Al Dia, a very serious newspaper, a Spanish publication we started a few years ago. And Dallasnews.com, which was at a couple million in revenue a few years ago, is now pushing $30 million in revenue. That's a fast growth rate. If you add up all the audiences, we have a larger audience than we had several years ago. Circulation isn't as great, but the combined audiences we are creating and keeping are better than they were. It's a really hard time for newspapers. I've been through newspaper wars here, conventional warfare, but this is a guerilla war. I thought it was hard in the 80s and 90s, but it's much harder now. The competition is everywhere. Everybody's an editor now, a distiller of information.
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"I'm 57. When I was 21, about 70% of people my age read a newspaper regularly. For people my age now, it's still about the same percentage. But in the Dallas market today, only about 30% of people between 18 and 24 look at a newspaper fairly regularly. That's a 40% gap. That's not good news for the newspaper in the bag."