Friday, April 18, 2008

The Publisher Responds, Sorta...

...with this from his own comments section, where I'm being pretty soundly bloodied:

"Everyone's in agreement: Steve Friess is an idiot."

Wow. The publisher of a major newspaper can't do better than name-calling after his fictitious points have been defeated in this space. And this is what I get for *agreeing* with his conclusions about Web traffic even though I arrived at mine at first by taking a look at the figures for the web domain that APPEARS ON HIS NEWSPAPER'S OWN FLAG.

Oh! And while we're on the subject of sloppy errors, Sherm lied to his audience in an April 6 column in which he (don't ask, not worth explaining but, according to his acolytes, I'm the self-congratulatory idiot) refers to himself as "the king":

"The king wishes to thank all readers of the Review-Journal for their much-appreciated loyalty. Because of readers such as you, the Las Vegas Review-Journal will be one of the few metropolitan newspapers in the country to post a nice gain in paid circulation this year."

Except they didn't have a nice gain. He's writing for a Sunday audience that shrank 2 percent. He told me so when I asked, knowing the numbers would be public soon anyway. They lost about 4,000 readers last year. They're down to about 200,000 Sunday readers.

That's an interesting number because in 1998 or 1999 (can't remember which) when I was an R-J staffer, we had a party to celebrate the newspaper's cracking the 200,000 mark for Sunday circulation.
Uh, didn't like a million people move here in the same time period? And aren't you now at 1998 or 1999 levels? And I'm the idiot? The King thanks you!

Perhaps the "nice gain" to which he referred was in the newspaper's daily circulation? That's up 1.2 percent in 2007, meaning they picked up just 2,068 new readers. This is something to boast? Don't any of the tens of thousands who move here monthly, especially the large retiree populations who live for their newspapers, at least want the coupons or Beetle Bailey?

The best part is, even with that small gain, the paper is still down 7.2 percent from its 2006 figures, having shed 13,447 readers since then! And, by the by, the 2006 figures were inflated because that was the first reporting period after the Las Vegas Sun started being delivered inside the R-J in the fall of 2005.

"Everyone's in agreement: Steve Friess is an idiot."

How dignified. At least I don't brag about things I ought to be embarrassed by.


David McKee said...

To paraphrase Keith Olbermann, you're engaged in a battle of wits with an opponent who shows up unarmed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, McKee, but didn't Sherm once refuse to hire you and later fire you? Your bias should be noted.

I can't get over how useless the R-J's Web site is when trying to use the archive. There's no search by date function, even for people who work at the paper. How can anyone defend something that antiquated?

Dan Kane said...

actually, given the quality of mckee's work, that's not bias - that's more evidence of what a graceless f--- this man is.

Anonymous said...

Sherm's own CityLife says worse things about his paper (as well as some of the staff, like that the people on the editorial page who give us all a bad name) than anybody here has said yet.

There's a Google ad on this page right above this story promoting R-J subscriptions. Irony alert going off the charts.


Well, I don't have control over the Google Ads, but there were often Google ads around posts when I was writing about how bad the Hans Klok show was, too. And, hey, it appears the R-J needs as much help as it can get finding readers, so I'm at their service!

Gargamello said...

Amusing post. The newspapers really are doomed, those numbers are painful. And the RJ website is nothing to be proud of.

Hunter Hillegas said...

I couldn't believe Sherm's comment about the idiot thing. Pretty classless for a guy that's supposed to be a community figure, at least of sorts.

His constant beating of the drum about the Sun's traffic going down shows a pretty fundamental misunderstanding about *why* those numbers didn't grow as some may have thought they would. Does he really think that a better site hurt the Sun? If anything, the new site is helping to slow the bleeding at the Sun.

This Sherm guy seems a bit clueless but I see this all the time with execs in 'old media' that can't quite figure out why their business model is crumbling (news papers, music, TV, movies).