A stake through the heart of the has-been Inquirer

What the hell are they thinking in Philadelphia? Inquirer ME Mike Leary just sent a memo saying they are going to hold all but breaking news for the paper and even restrict bloggers from using their blogs to work on stories in progress.

Let me make this very clear to Inquirer ownership and management:

You are killing the paper. You might as well just burn the place down. You’re setting a match to it. This is insane. Even the slowest, most curmudgeonly, most backward in your dying, suffering industry would not be this stupid anymore. They know that the internet is the present and the future and the paper is the past. Protecting the past is no strategy for the future. It is suicide. It is murder. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

And my message to staff, the few of them left:

Get the hell out now! Get away from these fools or you’ll get it on you. Let’s hold a new Norg meeting right now and organize a competitor to the ailing Inquirer. It won’t take much to kill it now. Let’s put it out of its misery.

And my question to readers:

Do you care?

: LATER: What a rotten time for Norgman Will Bunch to be on vacation and offline.

: An online producer elsewhere asked me for stats on the cannibalization of print by online. I responded:

That’s not the point. The point is that we need to make the leap over to the next medium and business model and an extra 10 or 100 saved copies now is NOT going to save the business as it was. It’s short-sighted and foolish. So forget that calculation and ask, instead, how to invent the next product and drive audience and advertisers there and reshape the staff — completely — around that. It will be a smaller scale business — no longer a monopoly — but likely more profitable in the longrun if it also relies on collaboration.

: Here’s Steve Outing’s reaction.

: As I write this, the top story on the Inquirer’s Philly.com: Paris Hilton. Oh, yeah, that’s local. But I guess they have to fill the page with something because they don’t have those stories from what’s left of the newsroom staff.