ADVANCE CRISIS: The insanely obsessive guide to the Birmingham News/ implosion

August 2012

Aug. 6: makes the switch. Staten Island’s joins in Aug. 14, and on Aug. 21.

Aug. 27: The Baton Rouge Advocate moves to compete in New Orleans with a daily edition. Three weeks later, NOLA Media Group announces a Baton Rouge bureau. (The bureau chief quit 6 months later.)

Aug. 28: Advance announces Harrisburg, Pa., and Syracuse newspapers going to three times a week, but Syracuse will print newsstand-only versions the other 4 days of the week.

Also, the bitter legacy of Ann Arbor, Mich.

September 2012

Sept. 6: Advance merges three New Jersey newspapers into the daily South Jersey Times.

Sept. 9: Times-Picayune publisher Ricky Matthews says people have a widespread misconception of the paper’s financial health. When asked to give specifics on numbers, he balks.

Sept. 14: The Columbia Journalism Review on moving to a reduced staff for publishing primarily online:

“Advance officials describe its moves as inevitable, but Advance itself has chosen this particular path, and done so voluntarily.”

Sept. 18: The Gambit’s cover story explains how New Orleanians rallied to save the Times-Picayune, a paper that didn’t want to be saved. (Writer Kevin Allman includes a quote from me about Birmingham’s reaction.)

Sept. 28: The Birmingham News covers its own funeral. As does Mobile. But Huntsville reruns a media release.

October 2012

Oct. 1: Birmingham becomes the second largest city in America without a locally published daily newspaper.

Also, the Trussville Tribune praises Kyle Whitmire’s work.

And Harrisburg, Pa., fires 70 staffers while Syracuse fires more than 100.

Dual newspapers, Oct. 3, 2012

First editions across Alabama on Oct. 3 show matching
layouts and stories, a practice that continues to this day.

Oct. 3: Reader Don Keith gives the new version of the Birmingham News a big thumbs down.

Oct. 4: Baton Rouge’s newspaper office is overwhelmed with calls for new subscriptions to its New Orleans edition. More than 50 percent of Times-Picayune subscribers surveyed said they’d switch.

Also, an essay titled “The newsonomics of Advance’s New Orleans strategy” says the Advance model makes it impossible for its media outlets to grow, either financially or journalistically.

(Later, all those newspaper accounts were eliminated in favor of @alcomBirmingham, etc.)

Oct. 9: The Birmingham Business Journal runs an advertorial for its corporate sister Alabama Media Group, with no disclosure or sources other than CEO Cindy Martin.

Oct. 14: Instead of stories, photos or columns, the Birmingham News and Huntsville Times run an online chat transcript (shown above).

Oct. 30: Birmingham News Sunday circulation fell 10 percent from September 2011 to September 2012. Meanwhile, Advance Publications sees a 22 percent jump in digital revenue in 2012, though it’s unclear how that compares with total revenue.

Continued on page 4 …


9 responses to “ADVANCE CRISIS: The insanely obsessive guide to the Birmingham News/ implosion

  1. Richard Kirby

    Excellent piece, Wade. It’s been a shame to watch what was once a proud daily newspaper transform into little more than a click counter.

  2. Ironically, one of the story links you shared has a typo in its second graf:

    The city was the test for a business model similar to one used at other Advance-owned papers in New Orleans, Harrisburg, Syracuse and other cities in Alabama and Michican.

  3. Pingback: Do everything wrong and backwards | Birmingham Blogging Academy

  4. new-jersey based, wayne? everyone knows advance is based in nyc.

  5. Pingback: Blood on the Newsroom Floor: Now with Greece | eats shoots 'n leaves

  6. Pingback: Questions on the 1-year anniversary of the Alabama Media Group | Media of Birmingham

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