Check out the fall issue of B2B Quarterly for a profile on John “Workhorse” Gottschalk, publisher of the Omaha World-Herald.
One of my favorite quotes:
Also, [Gottschalk] says, the World Herald is not in the newspaper business. “We’re in the advertising distribution business.”
He goes on to talk about how if you only report the news you want to report, instead of reporting the news that affects your readers, your readers will leave you.
So I checked up on the past few years of the Omaha World-Herald’s circulation:
year – daily / Sunday
2004 – 195,964 / 242,018
2005 – 194,222 / 240,026
2006 – 188,866 / 231,115
2007 – 184,150 / 222,469
That’s a drop of more than 10,000 daily readers and almost 20,000 Sunday readers in just three years. (In fairness to the World-Herald, though, many other papers lost significantly more, and the OWH actually climbed from 55th highest circulation in the US to 51st over that same time period.)
The article is also full of horse metaphors, including references to workhorses, showhorses, thoroughbreds and pedigree.