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


February 2013

Feb. 1: After laying off nearly 30 percent of its 393 employees, Syracuse begins its cycle of thrice-weekly home delivery and four-times-weekly newsstand only editions.

Feb. 14: How proud is Advance of its pioneering AnnArbor.com? No comment.

March 2013

March 1: The Columbia Journalism Review analyzes the wide gaps in coverage in New Orleans.

March 14: The Birmingham News marks its 125th anniversary with a puff piece.

March 15: The Huntsville Times crams four errors into a single package on the front page.

April 2013

April 2: Cleveland officially announces new printing schedule similar to Syracuse: three times a week delivered and four times a week on newsstands only.

April 3: Mobile’s Community News Director calls her reporters “turds” in an email to her superiors.

April 5: Pam Siddall, president of Advance Central Services Alabama, is kicked upstairs to become vice president of local digital strategy for Advance Publications. She has been in her current position for 6 months, and was publisher of the Birmingham News for 3 years prior to that. (Three weeks later, Kevin Wendt becomes the second to be promoted away from Alabama operations.)

Advance Central Services Alabama is the other new Birmingham-based company that took over printing and other newspaper-related services.

April 30: New Orleans, which once published seven times a week, announces a new thrice-weekly tabloid, TPStreet. The publication will appear on newsstands (no home delivery) starting this summer.

Also, the Birmingham News drops 3.3 percent in Sunday circulation from March 2012 to March 2013. Its sister publication the Birmingham Business Journal jumps 6.2 percent in the same period.

The Huntsville Times dropps 7.2 percent while Mobile’s Press-Register gains 3.3 percent in Sunday circulation for the same timeframe.

The Alliance for Audited Media changed its standards for daily circulation because of Advance’s switch to thrice-weekly publication.

May 2013

May 12: In a New York Times report, Advance’s handling of New Orleans is described as “a jaw-dropping blunder to watch.”

We can only wonder what they must think of Birmingham …

Wade Kwon is a co-founder of Media of Birmingham and a Birmingham journalist for 26 years. He is also director of Y’all Connect, a blogging and social media conference taking place July 23 in Birmingham.

9 responses to “ADVANCE CRISIS: The insanely obsessive guide to the Birmingham News/al.com 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.

    http://www.wkyc.com/news/politics_government/article/283320/130/Part-2-Whats-life-like-with-no-daily-paper

  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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