Is The New Haven Register Ready To Compete?

Competition is often good for employees and readers/viewers–not so much for bosses who have to become more product oriented to compete.

I have an inside joke I tell when I speak to anyone at the New Haven Register. “Bet you never knew what good journalists the Jackson family were?” The Jackson’s owned the Register and its ill fated sister paper when I came to Connecticut. They were not known as journalists except when compared to those who followed them.

Over the years the Register has been run into the ground through a combination of bad management and foolish borrowing. There’s a lot more room in its parking lot than there was a few years ago. The paper and its daily news hole are smaller.

A few month ago a friend at the Register sent me an email.

You might find this of interest. JRC has a new CEO who intends to take the company digital….

He added a Twitter address for John Paton the new CEO.

Paton has been twittering a lot and embracing new media and its attendant technology. Where he’ll get the money to see his dream and whether those dreams will pay off is another question.

If successful it means more and different competition for my station. Competition is often good for employees and readers/viewers–not so much for bosses who have to become more product oriented to compete.

As opposed to a company that makes then sells shoes, what media companies make and sell are two different things. We make programs. We sell eyeballs. They’re not always in sync.

I was brought back to Paton this morning after a very positive writeup in Editor & Publisher, a newspaper oriented journal.

Paton wrote that he took over a company with a history of “so many years of broken promises and less than desirable work environments and an oppressive corporate culture.”

“We have, as promised, started to take the steps to make our company more responsive to the employees’ needs,” he wrote. “Last week we announced internally that we are flattening the corporate oversight structure and putting more responsibility and more feet on the street. As a follow-up initiative to last week’s management restructuring, I have asked the new Senior Publishers in each cluster to recommend to me where we can initially add new editorial and sales positions.”

It remains to be seen whether he is a prophet or Pollyanna. Good intentions alone aren’t enough.

2 thoughts on “Is The New Haven Register Ready To Compete?”

  1. We can hope he succeeds, Geoff. It would be hard to see the New Haven register pared down more, or worse disappear.

  2. >>Good intentions alone aren’t enough.

    True enough, but they’re a great way to begin.
    Besides, we’ve seen those that enjoy irrepressible infectious enthusiasm prosper where others have failed.

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