Buy the paper
I feel sorry for the workers over the Portland Press Herald. Their former boss allegedly squandered the company's remaining equity, and stiffed the newsprint supplier, so now the vultures are circling the rented newsroom, trying to get employees to agree to ill-advised concessions. Thankfully, the union seems to be holding strong. They rejected the latest nickel-and-dimer, but it's gotta suck, trying to focus on reporting while worrying if your desk will even exist at the end of the week.
Well, friends in the union, desperate times called for desperate measures. So here's some advice: LET THE NEWSPAPER GO BANKRUPT! That's right, let the old sow go belly up. She's too set in her ways to survive in the new media landscape, especially since she's haunted by old media debts and disasters. Then, when the dust settles, the employees should purchase the rights to the name Maine Sunday Telegram and instantly kill the daily print edition, weather forecasts, the sports box scores, the classifieds and the TV listings. No one buys the Press Herald anyway because it's mostly stale wire copy and puff pieces. A waste of trees and energy, they'd save big bucks by not having to circulate a temporary missive fated to be wrapping fish or recycled just hours after the ink is dry. Then devote the savings to expanded web content, using more video and sound, to compete with the local tv stations to provide the spot news of fires, accidents, molestations, thefts, pharmacy hold-ups, rapes and murders that Mainers need to know about and advertisers want to sponsor.
Use the rest of the team's energy and talents to produce a kick-ass Maine Sunday Telegram, filled with the long-form journalism and investigative pieces too complicated for the internet and that read best in the printed format. A Down East version of the Sunday New York Times, filled with stories, profiles and reviews people would be willing to pay for, especially if it took more than an hour to read the entire paper.
These ideas wouldn't work with the current capitalistic ownership model because employees simply aren't motivated to excel and innovate because their extra labor gets ignored by bosses busy with lining their pockets with the newspaper's last sheckels. I'd recommend workers consider a collective-model that's more about reporting the news to the community instead of reporting profits to stock-holders.
There is money to be made by locally-owned media, that's for sure. Have you seen the West End News publisher Ed King's recently refurbished mansion? And Comrade Busby of the Bollard paid cash for his new car.
The time has come for the end of corporately-owned local media. It's obvious that model failed. But I see that as good news. Sure it might hurt for a little bit. But whatever comes next couldn't be worse than Richard Connors.