Thursday, 30 July 2009

Spider sense is tingling

I have a niggling feeling I am about to get royally butt-fucked by the management.
Don't get me wrong, they are already slipping me a length every day I come to work and do more than I should to bring out a decent paper with limited resources.
But this time I honestly think this is going to be akin to a full-on management gang-bang.
Over summer revenues drop and pagination decreases. It's natural. Readers, schools and sources go on holiday, politics takes a back seat and advertisers spend less.
This year, due to the 'harsh economic climate', we reduced pagination further and allowed advertising to bend the rules in terms of how much and how many of my key news pages they were allowed to flog.
As a result the papers look shit, have little content and essentially look like every other piece of crap free that publishers use as circulations boosters for their dying paid fors.
We were promised it would only be a short term measure and I accepted by autumn we would be back on track.
As the weeks roll on, and no talk is made of our phoenix-like resurrection, I suspect this is just another management lie.
After all, why would they change a money making formula? Especially after our MD announces that, after all the earlier cuts, our profits are not quite as bad as predicted earlier in the year. In fact in this 'harsh economic climate' they are actually pretty fucking good.
In the management's world of short term decisions that created this long term problem, why would they sacrifice this increase in cash to go back to the bad old days of bringing out decent profit-low editorial pages?
It's a little like owning a stately home that is not making as much money as it did, but is still making a modest profit by just letting visitors in and selling ice creams.
Suddenly, someone has the wheeze of selling off the things that make visitors come to the home in the first place.
A few pieces of antique furniture here, a couple of regal oil paintings there, a chandelier perhaps? Al in the vain hope the visitors don't notice they are actually getting short changed.
Unfortunately for Lord Toffee Nose and his scrabbling for pennies he didn't actually need, the punters vote with their feet and suddenly he is in a real dilemma.
What's the difference with this analogy and that of selling all the space in newspapers?
Ultimately the readers (and yes the key word here is read) know when they are being sold a pup. It doesn't take them long before they don't bother picking the paper up because there is nothing in it.
I smell a spiral of despair here.
I am checking the job pages daily. Come autumn, if my predictions are correct, I am gone.
This rat is getting a new ship before the hole in the side of my current one becomes too large to fill with straw and false promises.

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