Questions for Oregonian publisher Chris Anderson on his “exciting plans” for The Oregonian’s future, upon firing another 35 veteran employees from the newsroom:
1. Is it safe to assume that subscription rates will be reduced along with the amount of product you will no longer deliver to them?
2. When will you figure out whether your exciting plans include delivering the paper three times a week (as per press releases) or four times a week (also per press releases)? No one in your office seems to know whether Saturday counts as a day or not. I think it does in technical calendar terms, but there appears to be some doubt in the executive suite.
3. Do you think the O’s bottom line will improve more than the 3% New Orleans reputedly got from laying off its 30-plus full-time employees?
4. I recall your introductory sessions with staff regularly included your acknowledgement that OregonLive was a terrible website and needed to be redesigned and relaunched asap. Clearly, that hasn’t happened. So you must be worried about putting virtually all of the O’s eggs into that notoriously awful website, yes?
5. As per #4, is your excitement based in some degree on a kind of nihilistic rush that goes along with a good old fashioned suicide mission? Just curious.
6. As per #5 do you think Steve Newhouse’s campaign to deconstruct his family’s newspaper legacy is a kind of bloody Oedipal drama that could end with a really scary Mother’s Day and subsequent eye-gouging around the Newhouse estate? Or is it closer to a King George III type of dysfunction caused by dissolving lead pipes in the family’s wing?
7. Warren Buffett, known widely as the most successful investor of his time, is actively investing in daily newspapers because he recognizes their ongoing potential to be hugely profitable. Steve Newhouse, widely known as a guy whose last name is ‘Newhouse,’ thinks the opposite. Do you ever think about it that way?
8. Don’t you think “The Columbian” is a good name for a regional newspaper? Like, a truly dominant one? Maybe not tomorrow or next year, but possibly sooner than later?
9. As per #6 – really, seriously. Oedipus or King George III? C’mon. You know you know.
10. Have you thought about writing for the paper more? You published a handful of columns a few years back that had me telling people you were one of the best writers on the staff. Seriously, they were really good. You should make a regular thing of it. If only because you just fired so many of the paper’s other great writers. Give the readers something to stick around for, y’know?
11. Oh, and this bonus question: MyDigitalO. You guys didn’t figure the other entendres there until the whole wide world had to point it out to you? While giggling? I wonder what that implies about the caliber of the rest of the decision-making in the execu-producer suite?