…You throw the ball. You hit the ball. You catch the ball. And sometimes it rains.
An OJR interview with Bob Cauthorn of the San Francisco Chronicle is easily our must-read of the week.
The money shot (links and emphasis mine):
You’re relevant. That’s right, you’re relevant. They’ll buy you next
week. See, this is the point to drive home … is that
every newspaper leader in America and every journalist in America
should be paying close attention … Because
there’s a message for everybody. There’s a very powerful moral for
everybody and it should be viewed as an opportunity to renew our
compact with our audience. A compact that we’ve walked away from over
And the message here – and it is a "It’s a
Wonderful Life" kind of moment – the message here is that our readers
are waiting for us to come back home.
We’re the ones who have strayed. It’s not the readers who are straying from us.
It’s us who have strayed from our readers…
…We gotta start firing editors. We have to at some
point or other face the fact that the circulation numbers are down
because nobody wants to read this [expletive] product. Make it the product
we want, and we’ll read it.
OJR: Make it be relevant.
Cauthorn: That’s right. This is not a complicated business.