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John Paton—destroying journalism in order to save it?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

If you missed it, James Rainey’s profile of MediaNews Group chief executive John Paton in Sunday’s imageLA Times offers a look at what may be in store for MNG papers under Dean Singleton’s successor. Around these parts, that means the Merc, CoCo Times, Oakland Trib, Marin IJ and others. Paton’s goal ultimately is to have a third of the newspapers’ content produced by staffers, a third by the community and a third aggregated from other sources.

Noted: For those who see his approach as journalism’s Bataan Death March, at least you aren’t alone. An excerpt:

The roundish chief executive with the insouciant Sydney Greenstreet affect displays a notable lack of sentimentality for parts of his lifelong trade. He has said that traditional print journalism has a value of "about zero," urged that newspaper people stop listening to other newspaper people, and stated that the public "knows more than we do" about their towns.

Media analyst Ken Doctor has called Paton "a demolition and remodeling expert" who must prove he can pull off the combination of radical cost reduction, innovative digital advertising and solid journalism. "We will see," Doctor said.

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