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The Death of the Herald.

The Chronicle Herald news room employees went on strike today, in advance of management raming through the changes they demanded. In doing so, they have lost the one last thing that was keeping the paper alive. What Follows below is not directed at the actual (now Striking) content creators at the Herald. They do fine work. (I’ve even talked to a few of them about stories http://blog.halifaxshippingnews.ca/p/media.html) No this is directed at Management of the Company.

I used to be a subscriber to the Herald. I like paper – there’s something about reading print that is much more enjoyable then the screen. As a 35 y/o IT professional, that probably makes me some kind of oddity – It also makes me a member of a prime target market for the Herald. But sadly the content I wanted disappeared in the first round of layoffs in 2009. That’s when I canceled my subscription. I could read wire stories for free, and in a more timely manner elsewhere, so absent a value-add opinions and news room, why would I continue subscribing.

Since then, the Herald’s content has gotten thinner, and more advertorial. Real stories often are simply cut up press releases – I Cut up press releases – but I run this blog off the side of my desk in my spare time. I try to be informative, entertaining and factual, but I’ll be the first to admit this site lacks production quality. That’s fine for a blogger – but not a paper of record. slow news days aside, Im sure just as much news worthy stuff happens today as it did in 2008 – there are just fewer people to cover it in any detail – and that shows.

Chronicle Herald, You missed the boat. In the internet age, quality local content is king. You had the quality, but you squandered it through successive rounds of layoffs. A strong regional newsroom, Independent from regional and national corporate interest was your greatest strength. You should have leveraged that to become the dominant content creators and distributors in Eastern Canada but you let that slip away.

Betting the farm on free weekly’s isn’t going to do it either – Just as regularly as one is thrown on my door step, I promptly recycle it – as is, unopened. it is a product without value, that frankly I would rather not receive,  and it is just a matter of time before your advertisers realize there is no value to them. You still get my eyes online, which are marketable eyes to advertisers on your website, but they are likely soon gone, now with the decimation of your news room.

Chronicle Herald, without your newsroom, You have sunk to the level of this blog. I’m Quite Proud of this blog, but I’m not evaluated on, nor due I claim the standards of a professional news organization.  Nope scratch that. if you cant produce news with professional journalists in house, and only bet on advertorial content, then you are no better then a spammy clickbate site.

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Peter Ziobrowski

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