There hasn’t been the same level of outcry in Syracuse, but Rogers acknowledges that the cutbacks will take a toll. “There has not been outrage,” he said. “There’s been disappointment. There’s sadness. It’s the hardest for people who are not [digitally] connected. There are a lot of people … who are really going to miss the seven-day newspaper. I’m going to miss it.”
But while the dramatic reorganization may seem like a gamble, it’s the prospect of not doing anything that genuinely worries him. “To do nothing, that’s suicide,” he said, citing the industry trends. “Is this a risk? The risk is to not do anything. Have we found the right solution? I think we have. Time will tell. But I know that by doing what we’re doing, we’re going to be so much better off than if we hadn’t done anything.”
His optimism isn’t shared by everyone involved with the paper.
The three Newhouse papers in Alabama made the switch last fall, you might recall. They are growing into the new model right about on pace. There have been stumbles. There are critics, but there are a lot of positives.
Anytime you see a newspaper in the middle of a transformation you see quotes like this:
The new model doesn’t have a place for columnist Dick Case, 77, a Syracuse fixture for over 53 years who received word that his services would no longer be needed at the paper. “I think that all of us understood that the nature of the newspaper was going to change,” he said, “but I don’t think anybody had any idea of when that would happen. And it happened sooner rather than later.”
I love the idea of staffers who’ve worked at newspapers for decades. They have so much institutional history and community memory. They’re a gem to talk to and learn from. They are often vital and funny and crusty people with a lot to tell us all. But this quote just makes no since. Sooner rather than later? After all of these years, after your sister papers made this move, this caught you by surprise?
(Update: Case’s last column is here. He’s been doing this my entire life. He’s talented and will be missed by many. He’s going to volunteer at the historical society. And if you need to, you can reach him at his wife’s email. That explains that.)