The Dayton Desperate News

How bad have things gotten for the Dayton Daily News? So bad that now writers are asking their friends to clip coupons and redeem them to prove that advertising in the paper is still relevant:

From: XXXXXX
Date: April 2, 2009 8:15:17 AM EDT

Subject: free coffee for a good cause (namely my job!)

If you like free coffee, and don’t want to see newspapers die, clip this coupon from the DDN next week and redeem at McDonald’s … they’ll be watching to see how effective newspaper advertising really is…

On Wednesday, April 8th, McDonalds will place a strip ad, on the bottom of the front page of the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield News Sun, a coupon good for a FREE medium McCafe. Traditionally, McDonald’s has not advertised heavily in newspapers, so this is a chance to prove the value of the newspaper’s reach.  Please take this opportunity to help our common cause by clipping your coupon and visiting your nearest Dayton-area or Springfield-area McDonald’s McCafe.

The problem is, we were never interested in a newsPAPER, we were interested in news- which stems from JOURNALISM, of which there is precious little displayed by the Dayton Daily Newsless. Investigative journalism as practiced by the DDN now consists of copying the police blotter- right down to copying poor cop writing. Proclaiming that the Sunday paper contains $500 worth of coupons is nice, but, the coupons aren’t targeted or relevant to each reader.

If the DDN wants to survive, it needs to reestablish its journalistic chops. Figure out who and what their brand stands for. Build relationships one-on-one with readers, and deliver relevant ads and content that is personalized. The way in which it will be delivered isn’t on paper, but via the same medium that XXXXXX is using to connect with their friends to try to inspire action- electronically.

If giving a product away in an ad is the only way to prove the ad  worthwhile- it’s only proving that the business model is one for losing money.

We need journalism in this community, unfortunately, that’s not what the DDN has been selling for the last 5+ years. If XXXXX really wants to keep that job, it’s not going to be by giving away free coffee.

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10 Responses

  1. Greg Hunter April 4, 2009 / 8:14 am
    The greed of the Cox Sisters has reaped this reward as well as the employees not falling on their swords to quit when the paper lost credibility. It is an interesting dilemma to be “owned by the company store”.

    I get it or watch Lions for Lambs and the dilemmas are presented very starkly. Housing and Autos are busted combined with Craigslist did them in because the Cox sisters wanted quarterly profits. They did not care about the 4th estate and now they all go down together. I really am not going to miss the DDN. My facebook and my contact network will provide me enough local news. I will love to finance Mike Peters and Tom Archdeacon, but the rest are just stenographers.

  2. Jim Crotty April 4, 2009 / 12:35 pm
    Writers getting their “friends” to use coupons ?

    What the hell ever happened to objectivity in reporting ?

    Just goes to show what I’ve always suspected in this case over at the DDN. Most of them – not all – but most that staff base their writing on what their little social cliques approve of, most especially with anything related to local news.

    One word comes to mind – ingrown.

  3. pizzabill April 6, 2009 / 5:34 pm
    Our recent experience with the DDN was interesting. We randomly draw a business card every once in a while from a jar on our front counter and send the proverbial free lunch to one of our customers. Well, a DDN employee was chosen and we made arrangements to send lunch over. When our delivery driver got there, the DDN employee asked him to sneak the food in because the DDN policy in their new facility on Brown St is no employee can order lunch to be brought in.

    If you’re waiting for us to advertise in the DDN soon, don’t.

  4. Greg Hunter April 7, 2009 / 1:16 am
    No lunch to be brought in? What are they afraid of?

    1 Ex Employee coming in disguised as a Lunch Person to take everybody out?

    2 Major Client BWs seeing the DDN with some other lunch truck in the driveway?

    3 (Insert Idea here)

  5. David Esrati April 7, 2009 / 6:41 am

    DDN must keep employees drinking their own kool-aid. Essential to keep them writing at a third grade level.
    Probably because they’ve cut so many employees, they are having a hard time meeting their minimums to keep a corporate lunch room going. Some companies believe it keeps morale and productivity high by keeping employees in the building for lunch- others believe in actually paying well to do the same.

  6. David Lauri April 7, 2009 / 10:46 am
    Well it can’t be about whether the DDN wants to keep its employees in the building for lunch — if they did, they’d allow deliveries of food. Banning deliveries of food could result in people using the corporate lunchroom but it could also result in people leaving the building to go get lunch.

    And writing in newspapers has to be at a fairly low level because most of the public reads (and writes) at a low level. If you want writing at a higher level, subscribe to some magazines — The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, etc. One thing one should not do when seeking writing at a higher level is to search for it on blogs; bloggers, especially those who can’t afford to hire proofers, often can’t manage standard English.

  7. Greg Hunter April 7, 2009 / 11:33 am
    One thing one should not do when seeking writing at a higher level is to search for it on blogs; bloggers, especially those who can’t afford to hire proofers, often can’t manage standard English.

    I did not notice a reference to your proofer.

  8. David Lauri April 7, 2009 / 4:04 pm
    I did not notice a reference to your proofer.

    LOL, I don’t pay a proofer either, nor do I even allow comments on my site. But if you find any grammar errors or misspellings, feel free to point them out. ;)

  9. David Lauri April 8, 2009 / 6:35 am
    Wow, the McD’s coffee push made it to the front page of the DDN website — Get FREE premium coffee today!. Of course for web readers of the DDN who don’t pay for the paper version, buying a copy of the DDN to get a “free” coffee hardly seems worthwhile.
  10. hall April 8, 2009 / 8:39 am
    “Wow, the McD’s coffee push made it to the front page of the DDN website — Get FREE premium coffee today!. Of course for web readers of the DDN who don’t pay for the paper version, buying a copy of the DDN to get a “free” coffee hardly seems worthwhile. “

    I saw that and actually thought maybe there will be a printable coupon, but no…. So I spend $0.50 in order to get a “free” coffee. Well, I guess I’d save $0.69 in the end.

    It is really sad if this is in fact a “test” like mentioned. They must be hurting over there. My neighbor works for them, but not in the news department, and said the facility is quite nice (and big). Not sure how smart of an idea it was given the decreasing popularity of newspapers though.

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