The Janesville Gazette‘s Time-Share Stage of Decline

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A nearby newspaper, the Janesville Gazette, part of an out-of-state chain (APG) owned by a family that made billions in billboard advertising, recently tried to position half-off advertising as a ‘community grant‘ program. See That’s Not a ‘Community Grant’ – It’s Half-Off Advertising.

It’s an old – often true – adage that bad goes to worse, and so it is here: the Gazette is now offering a seminar on “CRISIS MARKETING & RE-BOOT STRATEGIES for Wisconsin Business Owners with featured speaker Ryan Dohrn, Marketing Expert.” As it turns out, Dohrn has built a career as an ad sales consultant (“Learn about the ad sales training system that is changing the way media companies sell advertising”).

Honest to goodness: a company that made its money in ad sales, and disingenuously describes half-off advertising as a community grant, now uses an ad sales consultant as a CRISIS MARKETING and RE-BOOT strategist.

Positioning this crude, selfish effort as ‘crisis’ advice to Wisconsin businesses is about as disreputable as selling time-shares in Florida. (Indeed, there are apparently companies that do nothing except try to get unfortunate time-share victims out of their time-share contracts.)  Other than a Nigerian email offer, it’s hard to think of anything more laughably repulsive.

In a post from 5.6.20 (Saving What’s Left of the Janesville Gazette), I recommended firing the paper’s managing editor. That’s still a fair suggestion, as he’s run the paper into the ground. It is, however, the whole APG chain that’s rotten.

Pretending that ad sales are community grants, or describing shabby sales pitches as crisis marketing, will do as much to ruin this paper in its own community as any of the low-quality stories of the last few years.

The young reporters at the Gazette aren’t working for a newspaper – they’re closer to working for Mitch and Murray from Glengarry Glen Ross.

These reporters are not pursing a serious career in journalism at this paper – they’re supplying content to keep an ad sales pipeline going a bit longer while an out-of-state chain wrings the last drops from struggling local businesses into ineffectual ad buys. Along the way, they’re giving older, mediocre editors – who have plainly taught few valuable lessons – a few more years of undeserved employment.

Sketchy offers like this aren’t worthy commitments to one’s community, or evidence that ‘local matters’ – they’re selfish acts at the expense of local businesses.

Dishonorable — all of it.

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