The decline of newspaper revenue and the continued reduction of staffs are forcing newspapers are make difficult decisions. It’s much like empty nesters wondering why they still need four bedrooms in their house.
My last two newspaper employers — the Newport News (Va.) Daily Press and the Durham Herald-Sun —have made the same obvious conclusion: The large buildings that they needed when times were good are way too big for their current needs.
The Miami Herald made a similar decision, and will move out of the huge complex next to the Biscayne Bay. When I interviewed there in 2005, and ultimately turned down an offer, I never had been in a newspaper building that large. What a beautiful building the Herald is giving up!
|The Newport News Daily Press' home until later this summer |
on Warwick Boulevard.
Buried toward the bottom of a Sunday Herald-Sun column, its publisher, Rick Bean, announced that Paxton Media Group is selling the Pickett Road plant.
It’s been at least 8 years since I’ve been in the Herald-Sun newsroom. Even then, it looked like a ghost town of empty desks, cubicles and offices that were once full of life. I can’t imagine how empty it looks there now with all of the copy editors and designers in another state.
I haven’t worked at the Herald-Sun since 2005, but I run right past the building while running one of my frequent 5-mile loops to the Sandy Creek Trail and back. Soon, I’ll probably be running by a rather non-descript building.
The Herald-Sun building doesn’t quite have the same long history of the Daily Press building, but it’s still sad. The Daily Press still has its offices at the Warwick Boulevard location that’s been its home since 1968, but will soon move to City Center. That complex, incidentally, also is the home to the Atlantic 10 Conference’s offices.
|The Durham Morning Herald and the Durham Sun|
called this downtown building home before both
newspapers moved in 1990.
The Durham Morning Herald (the morning paper) and the Durham Sun (the afternoon paper) left quite a bit of history when they moved from downtown to just off the 15-501 bypass. They were located downtown there for years, at least since the 1940s.
They moved to Pickett Road in 1990 because they needed more space that now, sadly, is too much space. The two newspapers merged in 1991 to form the Herald-Sun. That was the same year that the Times-Herald, the afternoon paper in Newport News that shared the current building with the Daily Press, ceased publication.
|The building on Pickett Road that has been home to the|
Herald-Sun since 1990, but is for sale.
Less surprising was Bean’s announcement earlier in the column that the Herald-Sun will go to a metered paywall.
The Herald-Sun always has been slow to take the next steps in the digital world. It resisted throwing its content on the Internet for free long after most other newspapers were doing so. In my view, that was smart even though people at the time thought management was crazy.
The metered paywall is just a natural progression. But will it turn around revenue for the newspaper? Probably not. Selling the Pickett Road facility will help somewhat financially. But like most newspapers these days, it still will be a struggle because cost-cutting continues to dilute the product.
Of course this all won’t matter to the Herald-Sun’s copy editors and designers since they all work in Owensboro, Ky. They might have trouble finding Pickett Road on a map, anyway.