Hearst Vet’s Media Manifesto: “I Would Fire Myself”

Wurzer_11.26.08.jpgNewspaper industry veteran Henry “Buzz” Wurzer posted a scathing 16-point checklist outlining his take on how newspaper publishers should solve the current news crisis. His first order of business? “I would fire myself as publisher.” Wurzer, whose 40-plus years in newspapers span from the Tribune Co. to Hearst and include digitally-focused roles, tells publishers he would “aggressively and continuously promote my brand” and “unify all my existing and future channels of news, information and advertising in both digital and print formats.”

There you go people — brand management and unification.

The full 16-point memo, after the jump…

A checklist for 2008 Newspaper Publishers…
1. I would fire myself as Publisher and rehire myself as CEO, Local (Your Market) Information Utility
2. I would reinforce my leading and trustworthy local brand identity by unifying all my existing and future channels of news, information and advertising in both digital and print formats
3. I would aggressively and continuously promote my brand and various information channels locally, especially to young consumers
4. I would lead a culture change throughout my organization that all future strategic plans would be initiated digitally and then employ traditional formats such as print in a supportive role
5. I would retrain as well as hire staff to retool existing products as well as to create new products to fulfill our company mission as our local markets leading information utility
6. I would insist that what makes any and all content we produce compelling and necessary is that it provides local context to help consumers better understand how news affects them and have advertising content available to make the goods and services they buy of greater value
7. I would embrace outside vendors to initiate search and behavioral target marketing efforts
8. I would embrace any and all rich media embellishments to maximize time spent on my sites
9. I would make available multiple links to other information channels to enhance the content I provide
10. I would retrain my sales force to provide consultative advertising advice as well as the ability to place additional advertising in other pertinent advertising mediums
11. I would join any and all advertising networks to add traffic to my sites, to use their ad serving technology and to allow placement of their advertising via behavioral targeting techniques at increased CPM’s
12. I would invest in as well as join any source that can best measure the effectiveness of all the content I provide
13. I would require that any and all content I produce starts digitally and thus can be redistributed to my entire market in a platform neutral manner
14. I would continuously rework financial modeling efforts to best understand the changing margins on ongoing print and web revenues and expenses in order to radically change the current broken business model we are operating under
15. I would be vigilant on a daily basis internally to staff and externally to consumers and competitors to promote the ever increasing share of the audience in our market we enjoy given the multiple channels of information we provide
16. I would tell my story and successes to my industry peers and encourage all of us to direct our trade association to tell our collective story which is that the information industry is alive and well and your local information utilities (formerly newspapers) are leading the charge