John Paton is CEO of the Journal-Register Company. JRC publishes the New Haven Register and bunch of other papers in and out of Connecticut. I work for Tribune Company which owns FoxCT, The Hartford Courant and others. So, to be perfectly clear, Paton runs the competition.
At the moment the newspaper business sucks. Only time will tell, but a case can be made John Paton is a visionary who will lead newspapers from their malaise.
What John Paton says and does is a big deal because the industry watchws him. His influence is larger than his company’s circulation would imply.
Today Last year John Paton said ‘anything goes’ for JRC employees using social media.
Some of you have asked what are JRC’s Employee Rules For Using Social Media. To keep it simple I have reduced them to three:
By removing rules Paton is saying objective reporters are allowed to have subjective opinions. That flies in the face of journalism over the last fifty years.
Back while I was at Channel 8 corporate management attempted to impose the opposite kind of policy. To their credit when shown the modern impracticality of muffling social media they relented. As far as I know that policy died a quiet death.
A noisier policy battle pitted reporter Rinker Buck and his blog versus the Hartford Courant. I suspect (years, management and policy changes later) it would be a non-issue today.
Everything we know about traditional media has changed! Some see extinction ahead. Others are looking for a way to move on. I’m rooting for the latter.
Note: For some reason I thought this was a new entry by Paton. It is not, but it’s still worth noting.
3 thoughts on “Social Media, Rules and John Paton”
This is FANTASTIC!
If John Paton is the same CEO from years gone by when JRC was busy buying up good CT newspapers and driving them into the ground, then the only thing that he’ll do is continue to lead the newspapers that he controls into the slaughterhouse.
Saying that objective reporters can have subjective opinions simply means that the status quo will be enforced. With the exception of yourself, most members of the media are hopelessly out of step with the rest of America when it comes to offering opinions about the stories and events that they cover.
You’re probably referring to the man for whom Gawker reserved the headline: Employees Spit On Newspaper CEO’s Grave
Newspaper readers (and TV viewers) aren’t really the customer, they are the product sold to advertisers. Because of that some short sighted managers feel it’s not that important to fully serve them. Their companies pay the price.