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Organization Effectiveness: Changing Media Landscape Presents Unique Challenge to Newspaper Managers

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In the movie Citizen Kane (1941), Orson Welles plays Charles Foster Kane, the owner of a financially struggling newspaper. Kane shows little concern as his newspaper continually loses money:
I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars next year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I'll have to close this place in 60 years. (Welles)
In the world of Citizen Kane, economic losses do not equate to a loss of newspaper effectiveness; in the modern world, they do. While Kane, as the sole owner of his newspaper, can use it to build political power in a relatively stable world, the contemporary newspaper manager has to answer to shareholders in a rapidly changing environment. McCollam (2006) says shareholders exert undue pressure on managers, who have done “almost everything their large shareholders have asked” (p. 8). At the same time, digital technology has changed the way news is reported and distributed. The financial pressures and changing environment have created an unfamiliar world for media managers. But the importance of declining organization effectiveness extends beyond profits and losses. The Knight Commission Report, entitled Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age (2009), suggests that digital journalism is not serving communities as well as traditional journalism did. The report says the digital age is creating a rebirth of communications, but “it is not serving all Americans and their local communities equally” (p. xi). Meyer (2008) believes that community influence is “a newspaper’s most important product, the product least vulnerable to substitution [by Internet competitors]” (p. 35). The cha...


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Saltzis, K. & Dickinson, R. (2008). Inside the changing newsroom: Journalists' responses to media convergence. Aslib Proceedings, 60(3), 216-228. doi: 10:1108/00012530810879097
Sanford, B.W. & Brown B.D. (2009, May 16) Laws that could save journalism. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Smolkin, R. (2009) Cities without newspapers. American Journalism Review, 31(3) 16-25. Retrieved from www.ajr.org/
Stepp, C.S. (2004) Journalism without profit margins. American Journalism Review, 26(5) 36-43. Retrieved from www.ajr.org/
Tewksbury, D. (2005) The seeds of audience fragmentation: Specialization in the use of online news sites. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 49(3) 332-348. doi: 10.1207/s15506878jobem4903_5
Welles, O. (Director). (1941). Citizen Kane [Motion picture]. United States: Mercury Productions.



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