Dean Singleton to the Newspaper Industry: Stop Your Whining

When Dean Singleton speaks, people listen -- and they're often agog at what they hear. Back in April, as documented in a More Messages blog, the man in charge at the Denver Post, the flagship paper of his MediaNews Group firm, made headlines at the Associated Press' annual luncheon after asking Senator Barack Obama if he might send additional troops into Afghanistan as president since "Obama bin Laden is still at large." And now, a speech he gave earlier this month at the World Newspaper Congress in Sweden is turning heads in the journalism world due to blunt way he sized up the desperate problems currently afflicting the print industry.

The entire address is available here. But before digging into the document, scope some highlights:

"Too many whining editors, reporters and newspaper unions continue to bark at the dark, thinking their barks will make the night go away. They fondly remember the past as if it will suddenly reappear and the staffing in newsrooms will suddenly begin to grow again.

"In the future, there will be two categories of newspapers. Those that survive, and those that die… By my estimate, as many as 19 of the top 50 metro newspapers in America are losing money today, and that number will continue to grow.

"As a former journalist, I also wish for the past, but it’s not coming back. The printed space allocated to news and newsroom staffing levels will continue to decline, so it’s time to get over it and move to a print model that matches the reality of a changing business."

Clearly, Obama bin Laden isn't the only person in Singleton's sites. -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts