This morning’s Publishers Weekly features an alarmist “report” from Rachel Deahl that is more fixated upon rumors and conjecture than actual reporting. Deahl, without citing any particular source other than an unnamed “freelance critic” and Tribune communications manager Michael Dizon, has reported that the Tribune Company is planning to slash overall page counts and that the results will go into effect sometime in September. Of course, without specific quotes from book editors, none of whom returned Deahl’s emails (hasn’t Deahl heard of the telephone?), this is about as credible as an Ain’t It Cool News half-truth about the film industry.
But don’t tell that to the National Book Critics Circle, who picked up the item this morning as if it were the gospel.
I plan to conduct some independent investigations on this in the next week. If I can determine any answers or hard information, I will report them here. I’ll leave the rumormongering to Publishers Weekly.
Well said, sir.
[…] In which Ed Champion dusts off his Deerstalker hat and magnifying glass […]
There was a report about a month ago that the Tribune intended to cut pages dramatically to make a 50-50 split between ad and editorial, eliminating 80 some pages, so it’s not all rumor and innuendo. LA Observed reported on it and has the link to the conference call with Tribune leadership here: http://www.laobserved.com/biz/2008/06/lat_to_cut_pages.php
Right, Tod, but until we know the specifics, it’s rumor-mongering until further notice. (Though the 50/50 editorial/ad split is a foolhardy one because as soon as ad revenue drops, more pages will be cut? Or will Trib papers be 100% online by 2009? That’s just as speculative a line of reasoning as Deahl’s article.)
Ed, I only linked to the article at Critical Mass and reported that it had been filed and posted. That’s why I used the words “new fears” and “rumored.” I assume Publisher’s Weekly has a fact-checking crew, so why shouldn’t the article be noted? That’s a far cry from “gospel,” as you put it.