The Portland Press Herald has put its old, stand-alone building up for sale, and the newspaper staff now resides on the fifth floor of this contemporary high-rise office building at One City Center in downtown, Portland, Me.
“How can we expect people to buy our newspaper or go to our website if we don’t have the kind of reporting they’ve come to expect?” says Scott Wasser, VP and executive editor at the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram, the third newspaper visited in our New England series. Wasser feels strongly that newspapers have to stop cutting content when they cut costs. He likens that business practice to an “industry producing a product, and then when times get tough, they marginalize that product and expect people to buy it.”
The Herald’s goal is to stay competitive by delivering news and information 24/7 on multiple platforms. (Click on Enterprise Stories: The Dechaine Case for a great example of multi-media reporting.) Stressing immediacy has meant trying to “reverse the habit of [reporters] going back to the newsroom to write and file a story rather than filing as quickly as possible on social media,” says Wasser.
A digital video monitor has been installed in the newsroom that helps reporters and editors monitor the metrics of traffic visiting their Internet-delivered stories and compare how their competitors’ web-delivered stories are playing. Tim Archambault, VP of digital media (at the time of our visit), says newspaper online managers need to increase their competence in using competitive intelligence tools, such as compete.com, to analyze their newspapers’ performance against their competition.
Rich Connor, publisher of The Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram, was travelling when these interviews were conducted. Click on Rich Connor to learn more about him. Click on Enterprise Stories: Sugarloaf Chairlift Derailment for an example of a story-related online database. To see Wasser and Archambault reflect on moments when they experienced the power and purpose of journalism, click on J-Epiphanies
Coming next in the New England series: The Boston Globe, The (New London, Conn.) Day and The Providence (R.I.) Journal.
-- Sara Brown and Paul Steinle