Thursday, March 06, 2008

Colorado State rejects Gannett proposal

A proposed deal between Colorado State University's student-run, nonprofit Rocky Mountain Collegian and the Gannett-owned Fort Collins Coloradoan is off, according to news reports.

"We had one conversation with the university out there," Gannett spokeswoman Tara Connell told the Daily Free Press, the student newspaper at Boston University. "They said it's not for us, the paper isn't for sale. End of story."

In January, Colorado State University President Larry Penley sent an e-mail to the campus community confirming rumors that university officials had met with the editor and publisher of The Coloradoan, the local Gannett paper, to discuss a possible partnership. Read more about it in this earlier post.

You can read The Rocky Mountain Collegian's coverage of campus discussions on the future of student media at the university here.


Anonymous said...

USA Today and other Newspaper conglomerate Collegiate Readership Programs have flatly denied in print articles that they want to steal your college newspaper readers.

“Gannett dismissed any suggestion that it planned to conquer student journalism.

"There is no grand Gannett strategy," said Tara Connell, a spokeswoman at its headquarters in McLean, Va. "Gannett is not looking to buy college newspapers. We look at all sorts of things." – 2/18/08.

Oh really? Read this article from The Rocky Mountain Collegian on Mar. 7.
Gannett spokeswoman Tara Connell says the company doesn't rule out buying another student newspaper. "Would we do it again if the circumstances were right? Sure," says Ms. Connell- Wall Street Journal Aug. 9, 2006

and this article from the N.Y. Times

Following is an excerpt from the University of Alabama Crimson and White college newspaper

“Barbara Hall, the USA Today representative who coordinated the UA (university of Alabama) program, said USA Today is trying to create a "learning environment on the University campus through the reading of newspapers."

"If they're only interested in increasing student readership, why doesn't [USA Today] just give away the papers for free?" Isom (from the Crimson and White) asked.

“Asked that question, Hall said she did not know, except that newspapers cost money to produce and distribute. She said, however, that USA Today is more for businessmen and that the paper "is not going after the college market anytime in the near future." End of quote (Crimson White Online- 2/13 /04)

Remember- only paid circulation is recognized by the Audit Bureau of Circulation- the oversight organization that verifies circulation numbers that newspapers use to increase their ad rates. That Mrs. Hall, is why you can’t give away your newspapers, but of course you knew that already didn’t you? Just another example of the double talk that Gannett is known for.

Here is the best part- How is the success of the 4-week “pilot program” for the USA Today Readership program on the campus determined? I have witnessed this up close and in person- Attractive smiling USA Today Collegiate Representatives stand in front of the USA Today Readership racks and hand out questionnaires with one hand and give away nice “prizes” with the other hand. Talk about baiting the respondent! The USA Today reps then turn in their results (only the positive surveys of course) to the SGA and the college administrators- and no one questions the obvious bias!! Is it just me or does this sound like the election results when Saddam Hussein got 99% of the popular vote?

By the way- it is generally accepted that the USA Today Collegiate Readership program was started at Penn State. USA today would have us believe (per their website) that Penn State hatched the idea and USA today blessed it. Following is a link to an article published in 1989- 8 years before the "first USA today readership program."

It appears to me that Gannett wanted a respected academic to endorse and promote the distribution of USA Today and their local metropolitan papers on campuses across the country. By giving credit for the idea to a university president, USA Today and Gannett can feign liability for the inevitable damage done to school newspapers as a result of increased reader and advertiser erosion.

Read what is happening now at The Penn State to their school newspaper- the school that started(?) the college readership program 10 years ago! Other schools seem to be catching on:

If they are not interested in acquiring college newspapers or “partnering,” why are large newspaper corporations lobbying almost every college and university in the United States, sometimes for years, to get their papers on your campus? Every free paper on your campus takes readers and advertisers away from your college newspaper. One can only read so many newspapers.

The USA Today Collegiate Readership Program and other large newspaper corporations who try to get their newspapers on campus create a media fragmentation that diminishes the advertiser’s effective reach and his ad response rate. . Whereas before, the advertiser could reach the college students with just the college newspaper, now he must consider the loss of readership of the college paper and advertise in the metro and national papers too just to reach the same number of his readers.

The USA Today and New York Times readership program and the new Quadrantone online ad platform- (google it) announced by Gannett, The Tribune, New York Times and Hearst papers will be the death knell of college newspapers unless the students and administrators wake up and dare to challenge the modern day Citizen Kane!

Spread the word.


A. Rooney

General Insurance Colorado said...

Officials with The Coloradoan in Fort Collins met Tuesday with Colorado State University leaders to discuss a "strategic partnership" to run the campus paper, a university spokesman said.