Friday, July 6, 2007

The publisher's agenda

We're in the middle of month-end and quarter-end close. We're totaling up the numbers to see how we did financially in June and during the second three months of the year, trying to make sense of the figures, so we know we're we've been and where we hope to go. It's one of the ways we keep score.

I point this out because while a blog is supposed to give you some insight about me personally, I also want to give you a sense of what a daily newspaper publisher does. And make no mistake, the most frequent question I'm asked is, "What does a publisher do?"

What you saw in "Citizen Kane" (and what you hear about Rupert Murdoch) aside, most publishers spend the majority of their time running the business, not writing and/or editing the paper. We have reporters and editors for that. In fact, I usually don't know what's in the Freeman until I pick mine up off the kitchen counter each morning.

I spend as much, if not more, time with our controller and advertising director and circulation director and production manager as I do with our managing editor. I click away at my hand-held calculator as much as I do my copy editing computer terminal. I put in more time on human resources matters than almost everything else. And as noted in previous posts, I'm intimately familiar with the weather, given its potential to disrupt production. (This afternoon's golf ball-sized hailstorm had me holding my breath.)

That's not to say I have zero contact with the newsroom. I review and approve (although rarely write) editorials. I take care of letters to the editor and editorial page columnists to remove that chore from an already busy crew of editors. (In that sense, I'm relatively unique among publishers, most of whom don't do that much because most don't have a background in the newsroom. Had I grown up on the business side, my editorial involvement would be even less.)

Point is, my primary role as publisher is to set the direction for the company and allow a good group of managers and employees carry it out.

Now back to month-end. Have a good weekend.
comments powered by Disqus

<< Home