Post Turns To Consulting Firm For Answers

As if the Palm Beach Post newsroom weren't taxed enough, now its journalists are going to have to deal with a consultation company in "intensive strategy sessions."

Post Publisher Doug Franklin announced to staff this past Friday that the newspaper had hired Frank N. Magid Associates to "help shape our future."

"Yesterday we signed a contract with Frank N. Magid Associates for a strategic planning and research project," Franklin wrote in an e-mail to staff. "It's a six-month project that will involve extensive research with readers and advertisers plus intensive strategy sessions with members of our staff and the Magid team. We expect this project will greatly influence how we shape our product offerings on multiple platforms next year, especially The Palm Beach Post."

Interestingly, the Magid firm's specialty isn't in newspapers, it's in broadcast news. And Magid, a former college professor, was a pioneer in the concept of "more and shorter stories." During the buildup to the Iraq War, the company warned clients that coverage of war protests "turned off news consumers," according to Salon.

Sources at the Post aren't pleased by the development -- some have openly wondered how many jobs could have been saved had the Post foregone its "significant investment" in Magid. Here's Franklin's complete4 e-mail to staff:

From: "Franklin, Doug \(CNI-Palm Beach\)" To: "All Users @ Palm Beach Post" Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2008 12:09:09 -0400 Subject: Strategic Research Initiative

Folks, As we continue to take the necessary steps to adapt to the changes in our industry and the economic downturn, we also are committed to reshaping and growing our company in new ways. Today, we are pleased to announce a very positive initiative — and a significant investment our company is making — to help shape our future.

Yesterday we signed a contract with Frank N. Magid Associates for a strategic planning and research project. It's a six-month project that will involve extensive research with readers and advertisers plus intensive strategy sessions with members of our staff and the Magid team. We expect this project will greatly influence how we shape our product offerings on multiple platforms next year, especially The Palm Beach Post. We hope to be implementing changes as a result of this project by second quarter next year.

Magid Associates is an established, well-respected research company with research divisions focusing on broadcast media and newspapers, as well as a variety of other business categories. We will be sharing more about this project as we move forward, but it is an exciting first step in our development as a dynamic and successful media company. Thank you for your continued commitment to our audiences and advertisers. Doug

Doug Franklin

Publisher

The Palm Beach Post

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