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What's next for Madison newspapers?

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What's next for Madison newspapers?

Postby gonzoboy » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:51 am

It's been a year since the Cap Times announced it was pulling the plug on the daily edition and laying off a third of its workers.

That was supposed to save Madison Newspapers but instead they've had more layoffs, forced cuts in benefits and now mandatory furloughs. Lee's stock price is in the tank and the whole company is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Does anybody still read the Cap Times? Use madison.com? How long until they finally merge the two entities? Does anybody really think the Cap Times would by the State Journal? Would it save either publication from ultimate demise?

Or should Isthmus go daily?
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Re: What's next for Madison newspapers?

Postby lolagirl » Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:48 am

Isthmus is having their own problems, as has been noted in this forum. The latest issue discusses their measures to make the paper smaller, personals are no longer printed, and there has been an exodus of many of the long-time writers.

I was a long-time Cap Times subscriber and still miss seeing the paper waiting for me when I return from work. I'm also a big reader of papers on the internet, so I had high hopes for the online version. Those hopes have not, to date, been met.

There are frequent and annoying glitches - editing comments left in, odd changes in font in the middle of stories, dead links. The paper itself looks awful online. TCT looks a little better than the State Journal, but the madison.com front page looks terrible. There's no way of knowing how long an article has been there, and the single line format just doesn't invite any interest in reading stories.

While the Cap Times does look better than the State Journal, neither seems to "get" the possibilities that exist with online reading. I want to see links to maps so I can figure out where something took place; where a story is following an ongoing issue, links to previous stories on the same topic would be helpful. One thing that just drives me crazy is reading a story where the obvious links aren't provided - like a story on a proposed new development, but they don't think to link to the plans on the development. These are just quick examples (got to leave for work soon!), but they spell the picture - still too much of just posting the story and doing nothing more.

If you want to see a great online newspaper site, check out the NYT - looks great, reads great and actually does more than just post content.
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Re: What's next for Madison newspapers?

Postby Bwis53 » Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:28 am

Also on the run here. Perhaps someone else can find the link. When the enterprise owning Madison's newspapers, started popping up in the news, about being in trouble, a solution brought up was: Cap Times spins off and buys out Madison Newspapers.

But I'd still love to see Isthmus become a daily tabloid or daily online.
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Re: What's next for Madison newspapers?

Postby donges » Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:15 am

Bwis53 wrote:Also on the run here. Perhaps someone else can find the link. When the enterprise owning Madison's newspapers, started popping up in the news, about being in trouble, a solution brought up was: Cap Times spins off and buys out Madison Newspapers.

But I'd still love to see Isthmus become a daily tabloid or daily online.


Was this the link ?
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Re: What's next for Madison newspapers?

Postby narcoleptish » Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:37 am

I just can't read a whole paper online, I've gotta hold it in my hands and fight with the pages and squirm around in the chair to find just the right position. I do scan madison.com for quick local news but I won't read anything more than a few paragraphs long. Madison.com's homepage always has that box covering the headlines and other links too (but I think that's an mac issue) and I've never successfully searched for anything.
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Re: What's next for Madison newspapers?

Postby Bwis53 » Tue Feb 10, 2009 10:20 pm

Yes, donges, that's the link. Nice dream huh?

Narc, now you're reminding me of some comedian, reminiscing about his dad dragging the Sunday New York Times into the bathroom!

You could drag in a laptop.

I eat in front of my computer and news surf.
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Re: What's next for Madison newspapers?

Postby Igor » Wed Feb 11, 2009 12:40 am

lolagirl wrote:I was a long-time Cap Times subscriber and still miss seeing the paper waiting for me when I return from work.


As do I. The editorials were laughable - either they were idiots, or they thought I was. The front page may as well have been the editorial page. But when they covered things sans agenda (lots of local stories, all of the sports and entertainment sections) it seemed that they did a better job than the State Journal.

Besides, I never read the thing before 6 PM anyway. Even though they probably didn't report on anything after 11 AM, it *seemed* like the news was more up to date.
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Re: What's next for Madison newspapers?

Postby narcoleptish » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:31 pm

They saw this all coming in 1981

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WCTn4FljUQ
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Re: What's next for Madison newspapers?

Postby Ned Flanders » Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:13 pm

The Star Tribune which is in Chapter 11, just signed a content/ad sales agreement with WCCO-TV.

We'll probably see more of this in the future.
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Re: What's next for Madison newspapers?

Postby bassbari » Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:53 pm

I have a gripe about the obits. It is hard to find archived information and the listing have no pictures. For God sake, the Rockford paper has a better website. http://www.rrstar.com/

Maybe they can learn something from a community that Madison has looked down on for years. What's with that? Every time I say I am from Rockford, I have to apologize or something. This has gone for over 50 years.
Just sayin'
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Re: What's next for Madison newspapers?

Postby Huckleby » Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:11 pm

madison.com is awful.

its hard to gripe too much, we barely even have a local paper anymore. The daily WSJ has been reduced to a thin, daily flyer. I can't imagine they get enough revenue to subsidize a robust internet presence.

Madison. com has seperate heirarchies of forums for each of their many publications, creating a maze of repetition and obscurity.

I greatly miss the Capital Times daily paper, it was a more fun read than the State Journal, better feature writers and local news.

Have you gotten a good whiff of "77 Square", the weekly entertainment mag from MNI? Oh my god, talk about an exercise in tedium! The magazine reads like a series of press releases from the chamber of commerce. The Isthmus need not lose any sleep over that would-be competitor.
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Re: What's next for Madison newspapers?

Postby Bwis53 » Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:45 am

Something has to fill the void of a real daily newspaper! I'm guessing there's enough business to support it. I grab the little neighborhood papers whenever I can. Back in the day, much of that neighborhood news, would be in the local section of the daily paper. Have they cut so much personnel that there's no one to report it? I do a search on their site and frequently get "this article does not exist". Now I just copy the article to reread, especially if I need links. Madison.com seems to be limping along and always has some excuse about still fixing and upgrading it's site. Why is their site so much harder to "fix" than anyone else's?

Or is the Fourth Estate done?
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Re: What's next for Madison newspapers?

Postby Huckleby » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:32 am

That new slimmed-down version of the Wisconsin State Journal is a real kick in the balls.

I am an old fart who loves the stain of newsprint on my fingers. I miss the Cap Times terribly, and now the reduced WSJ hardly has enough content left to justify risking 50 cents in a machine.

PRobably most people don't know what I'm talking about, since nobody reads the paper anymore. The WSJ switched to a narrow paper format, it has the feel of a flyer now.

I'm not blaming the WSJ, they are obviously they are getting killed by the internet and are hanging on by a thread. Maybe they will actually revamp the Madison.com site instead of talking about it.
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Re: What's next for Madison newspapers?

Postby Mean Scenester » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:54 am

Huckleby wrote:That new slimmed-down version of the Wisconsin State Journal is a real kick in the balls.

I know! The format's not even wide enough to line the average birdcage, which was the only real purpose the damn thing served anymore.
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Re: What's next for Madison newspapers?

Postby mrak » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:59 am

Mean Scenester wrote:
Huckleby wrote:That new slimmed-down version of the Wisconsin State Journal is a real kick in the balls.

I know! The format's not even wide enough to line the average birdcage, which was the only real purpose the damn thing served anymore.

On the other hand, thanks to them, people don't really need to get high anymore.

They can just pick up the paper and say, "DUDE! My hands are HUGE!!!"
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