Category Archives: Newspaper
Jeffrey Hileman announced Saturday that he is leaving the Erie Times-News and GoErie.com after two and a half decades at the paper; the last two years as Director of New Media.
Hileman has been named Director of Communications at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
The newspaper and Erie’s most read news website are losing a strong journalist, a consummate professional, and a really nice and decent guy. What I appreciated about Jeff, especially in his role at the helm of the paper’s website, is that he “got” the whole idea of interactivity with his audience. Hileman was an early adopter of the concept of conversation with his readers, blowing up the “gate” in the traditional media gate-keeper role and opening himself and his area of responsibility up to reader feedback and two-way communication. Believe me when I tell you, that media types of a certain age, steeped in the “one-to-many” paradigm have not always navigated well into this new era of instant response and connection with the audience.
We wish Jeffrey well in this new endeavor; the Boro needs him. He will certainly be missed in the pixels at GoErie.com.
They are not your typical Chamber of Commerce photos, but the typical land and lake-scape of an Erie, PA winter intrigued a Washington Post travel writer so much that she came to town twice in 2011 and wrote a photo-laden feature that landed in Sunday’s Post.
Robin Soslow, the Impulsive Traveler, ventured to Erie to experience the ice dunes of Presque Isle State Park last January (a more typical winter than what we are having), and says
And the adjacent town of Erie is so rich in man-made spectacles that I made a second visit last month.
Now that’s something the Chamber can crow about. Read her quite flattering portrayal of our town here.
This morning, newspapers from across the state covered the biggest news story in Pennsylvania since Flight 93 crashed in Shankesville.
You can view a gallery of those pages by clicking this link: Go to Newseum: Today’s Front Pages: Pennsylvania
After you’ve looked at how this story was covered, please compare, contrast and comment here at P& T.
Barring some last minute second thoughts or major technology glitch, the big Goss presses at West 12th and Sassafras will go silent late Sunday night as the Times Publishing Co. outsources the printing and packaging of the daily newspaper to the Butler Eagle, effective Monday.
If Friday morning’s (8/19) edition is any indication, get ready for stale news on your doorstep or vending machine. The printing arrangement with presses two hours away forces an early deadline in the news room. This really hurts when it comes to sports. Forget about missing west coast scores, the ETN will have a hard time covering any game past 10:30 or 11:00 PM.
Case in point is Thursday night’s Eagles vs. Steelers preseason contest; the battle for Pennsylvania bragging rights. The game was over and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had a full story up on their website by 11:14 PM, ten minutes before the late night TV sportscasts. Hours later, when you picked up the Friday morning Erie paper, a scan of the sports section resulted in only this:
Thursday’s Eagles-Steelers game did not finish before press time. For a game report, go to GoErie.com/sports.
Really? Quarter after 11 is past deadline?
Ugh. I know newspapers across the country are in pain, and the Erie paper has been doing better than most through innovative and creative ideas, but this outsourcing of the presses and the consequential diminishing of the ink-on-paper product is a significant step backwards.
Of course the real tragedy lies in the loss of 40 family sustaining skilled-labor jobs. The irony remains that the Erie Times was created by pressmen involved in a labor dispute with their former employer. Now, at the end of a five-year labor contract with today’s pressmen no renewal was offered. They’ll hit the big red button on the Goss for the final time this weekend then hit the streets.
Yes, indeed, the future is in the digital online streams. We talk about it everyday. But for now, don’t the 52,000 daily paying purchasers of the NEWSPAPER and all those advertisers deserve better than this sad state of affairs?
UPDATED: More details on the paywall for GoErie.com: “The cost for non-newspaper subscribers will be $6.95 per month, and Sunday-only customers and others who subscribe in increments less than the full seven days will be offered a discounted price of $2.95 per month.”
The paper is putting the “whoa!” on GoErie.com.
In a publisher’s column in Sunday’s Erie Times-News, President and Publisher Rosanne Cheeseman dropped the other shoe in her realignment of the Erie area’s largest news operation from a “ink and paper” based outlet to a multi-stream digital enterprise that is fighting to find a model where consumers will help subsidize the work of professional producers.
The first shoe of course is getting the Times Publishing Co. out of the newsprint publishing business. The transition to outsourcing the production of the newsprint version of their content to the Butler Eagle is expected to occur in the next few weeks, along with the loss of 40 jobs. Now the paper has their sights on the thousands of readers who consume it’s product without plunking down the obligatory six bits. Cheeseman explains:
GoErie.com will also soon launch a digital subscription program. Print subscribers will continue to have unlimited access to our website. However, nonsubscribers will be required to pay a fee for extended access to what we consider premium content — notably most of the bylined work of our professional reporters.
She goes on to say that GoErie.com will remain the community’s portal, with breaking news, obits, and blogs still free. If you take the Monday, July 25th morning version of GoErie as an example, on the five featured posts on the image rotator, one was a bylined news story, one a bylined sports story, one a link to a photo gallery (which would be free), and two were internal promos.
In her post Cheeseman announced that an GoErie app for the iPhone and iPad has been submitted for approval by Apple. It will allow the reader to view stories as if published on paper or in a story list, along with layers of video and additional content, including a voice function that will read the paper to you.
Several questions remain, with the biggest being will people who gladly fork over $80 per month for cable TV pay for a digital subscription of
$8, $10 or $12 $7 or $3 a month? How will the inevitable loss of eyeballs affect display ad rates at GoErie? If print subscribers get unlimited access to GoErie, then why aren’t they getting automatic GoErie “Insider” subscriptions and the ability to make comments on stories right now (ETN circulation and GoErie are currently totally separate profit centers)?
And what about the aggregators?
Your daily newspaper will soon be at least two hours older than it is now.
This morning the Times Publishing Company announced that they are in final negotiations with the Butler Eagle to print their paper, leading to the closing of the pressroom and mailroom of the Erie Times News and layoffs of 40 full and part-time positions.
The trip from Butler to the ETN’s West 12th Street location takes 1 hour and 48 minutes.
From GoErie.com this morning:
Citing the age of its printing and packaging equipment and the millions of dollars it would take to maintain or replace this equipment, the company announced in March that it would exit the printing and packaging business but continue to operate the Erie Times-News as a family-owned daily newspaper.
“After thorough evaluation of potential third-party vendors, we determined that Eagle Printing Company is best-suited to partner with us in the production of our newspaper,” said Rosanne Cheeseman, president and publisher. “Like our company, Eagle Printing Company is an award-winning, family-owned business. Even more importantly, it has modern presses and other technologies that will ensure the highest-quality product for readers and advertisers of the Erie Times-News.”
Under the ownership of the Wise family, Eagle Printing Company opened its Eagle Production Center in 2003. The modern facility includes a new-technology UniLiner press line as well as mailroom capability for daily insertion of preprint packages.
The transition is expected to occur in early August. At that time, the content of the newspaper will be transmitted electronically to the Butler facility, where it will be printed, packaged and then transported to Erie for delivery. The rest of the company’s operations — editorial, advertising, circulation, finance, information technology, maintenance, human resources, administration and the GoErie.com website — will remain in downtown Erie.
Cheeseman emphasized, “Although we are changing the way we produce our newspaper, we remain as committed as ever to serving Erie and the surrounding region — just as we have for nearly 125 years. We intend to preserve the editorial and advertising excellence that has earned us first or second place as Pennsylvania Newspaper of the Year from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association in four out of the past eight years.”
She said readers and advertisers should see no major change in content or appearance of the newspaper.
I guess no scores from the west coast and no news after the 11:00 TV shows is not considered a “major change.”
The other great irony is that the Eagle’s daily circulation is just over 26,000, but the Wise family saw to it to upgrade their presses eight years ago. Meanwhile, the ETN is nearly at 52,000 daily but the Meads did not think their press system needed to be improved. Are the presses really in that bad shape?
There are many more questions than answers on this whole deal.
For eight years, Erie had a direct and inside connection to the important doings in Harrisburg with the presence of the Erie Times-News Capitol bureau and its chief, Albert J. Neri.
That bureau closed when the main target of the coverage coming out of it, Governor Tom Ridge of Erie, moved on to Washington to create the US Department of Homeland Security. On Saturday, Neri died of complications from cancer. He was 58.
Until 2009, Neri had remained active as a media consultant to utility groups and non-profits. He graduated from the Temple University School of Journalism in 1974, was a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette from 1979 until 1990, and was state capitol bureau chief for the Erie Times-News from 1993 until 2001 before becoming founding publisher and editor of the Insider, an electronic newsletter for Pennsylvania political enthusiasts, between 2002 and 2009.
The Erie paper’s opening of a Capitol bureau was the kind of big undertaking from a long-gone era, seldom seen in this media context. The real coup was landing Al Neri, who had been in Harrisburg for years, covering Bob Casey and winning awards on his coverage of Budd Dwyer’s public suicide.
I remember his first columns from Harrisburg being so insightful and interesting; thinking that this guy had a depth of knowledge and access that Erie newspaper readers could only dream of. In 1993, the Harrisburg Neri covered was pre-Ridge, who at the time was the “guy nobody ever heard of, from a place nobody has been to.” Ridge’s gubernatorial candidacy was a long shot, but with his win and subsequent reelection, the Times-News gig for Neri turned into a long-term assignment, and we as readers were all the better for it.
Governor Ridge paid tribute:
“I think that more than anything he has ever written,” Ridge said, “the best story that will be chronicled will be the grace and the dignity and the courage and the spirit he demonstrated during the past several years. The best story is the one that he wrote with his life, not with his pen. It is pretty remarkable.”