What would you do, elaborated

Jim Romenesko got enough comments about my “What would you do?” post that he collected some of them and posted that today. (Thank you, Jim, for the traffic and inspired discussion.)

The comments at Jim’s and on my original post reveal more anger than I anticipated, but I wasn’t sure how to respond without seeming defensive or out of touch. (I’m neither, really.)

I don’t think it is any mystery why newspaper staffers aren’t reading the paper or using the paper’s website. The mystery is why so many publishers and editors aren’t acting quickly and forcefully to go to where the people are. Newspapers employ many smart, savvy people. The journalists on staff are used to speaking truth to power. Perhaps they have some helpful suggestions if asked.

I’m sorry I wasn’t clearer with the original post.

Fortunately, Matt DeRienzo, group editor at Journal Register publications in Connecticut and a leader in moving print to digital, further analyzed the comments for me:

After seeing the comments here and on Romenesko’s Facebook page, I think there is confusion here between two separate issues:

– Employee apathy toward or disengagement from the journalism you’re doing.

– Institutional ignorance of the sea change in consumer behavior, including the consumers in your own building.

I sent this post out to my newsroom staff in Connecticut, and got a lot of replies thinking I was scolding them for not being a print subscriber or buying newspaper classified ads (answer  to both – they can’t afford it and web and Craig’s List are free). My point in sending, of course, was that we need to get over denial of disruption in these areas and trust our own instincts as consumers to guide a both-feet jump into “digital first.”