PORTLAND – With circulation and revenues plummeting faster than a sumo wrestler dropped from a helicopter, the Portland Press Herald plans to lay off 40 workers, many of whom could be replaced by satirical bloggers, industry analysts suggested Thursday.
“Accuracy and journalistic integrity are not exactly the Press Herald’s forté to begin with,” said news industry expert Buck McTay. “When you consider the skyrocketing demand for humor and satire, the fact that more and more people refuse to consume anything meaningful unless it it is delivered with sarcasm and cheap graphics, hiring witty and clever writers should be a logical next step.”
The average reporter writing political stories out of Augusta cannot bring in nearly as much revenue as a skilled satirist writing political stories that capitalize on political buffoonery,” McTay added.
A study by the non-profit, non-partisan think-tank Citizens for Hyphenation-In-The-Media pointed out that audiences for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report grow every year, with as much as 40% of the audience disclosing that they rely on these programs to keep informed.
The Sardine Report, Maine’s only statewide source for humor and satire, has experienced a startling 1000% growth in revenue since it was launched in January of last year.
“Richard Connor [CEO of MaineToday Media] should find whoever runs that operation and give him a generous salary and expense account,”said the CH-I-T-M study. “That’s the kind of investment in the future that the journalism industry has been lacking.”
The trends are clear, and it would be a shame for the Press Herald to fall behind the times again,” said McTay. “Considering their 1998-quality website and the fact that they’re starting to get scooped by the Bangor Daily News – not easy to do – I wouldn’t put it past them.”
Officials at MaineToday Media did not return subliminal messages left for them Thursday.