Our biggest critics are our best friends

Similar to Jeff Jarvis’ contention in “What Would Google Do?” that “your worst customer is your best friend,” the company that I work for is in a position right now to receive the most help and insight from the people who hate it the most.

Recently I wrote about how my newspaper was planning to eliminate the staff photographer position as we know it, converting the two full-time slots that were devoted to still photography into “mobile journalist” positions that report news, take photos and shoot video on a schedule more attuned to demand for digital information than print edition page deadlines.
I knew it would be a provocative position to take. And I wasn’t surprised to receive criticism from folks who’ve put their heart and soul into the career of newspaper photographer.
It opened the door to some harsh criticism about Journal Register Co. itself and the way that has treated my newspaper and the community that it serves since acquiring The Register Citizen about 17 years ago.
What might surprise some is that, from our new CEO (check out his refreshing response to the criticism logged on this blog here) on down, the message is, bring it on!
Tell us what you think is wrong, and if you are willing, your ideas on how we should change to not only fix mistakes of the past, but get out in front of the changes in what our readers and advertisers need.

About mattderienzo

Matt DeRienzo has worked for more than 20 years as a reporter, editor, publisher and corporate editorial director and has been recognized nationally for leading newsroom innovation. He teaches journalism at Quinnipiac University, writes a monthly column for Editor & Publisher magazine, and serves as interim executive director of LION Publishers, a national network of local independent online news site publishers. Previously, he served as group editor of Digital First Media's publications in Connecticut, including the New Haven Register, Middletown Press, Register Citizen and Connecticut Magazine, and Northeast regional editor for Digital First Media. He also served as publisher of The Register Citizen, Middletown Press and a group of weeklies in Northwest Connecticut, and before that was corporate director of news for small dailies and non-daily publications for the former Journal Register Company. In early 2011, The Register Citizen was named one of Editor & Publisher magazine's "10 Newspapers That Do It Right," and DeRienzo was named to its annual "25 Under 35" list of leaders in the newspaper industry. In the fall of 2011, The Register Citizen was awarded the Associated Press Managing Editors Innovator of the Year Award in recognition of The Register Citizen Newsroom Cafe, an "open newsroom" launched in Torrington, Connecticut, in December 2010. He led a team of more than 100 journalists in covering the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in late 2012 and 2013, and has been honored for his editorial writing and leadership of public service and investigative reporting. In 2014, his efforts at the New Haven Register were recognized with the APME's and ASNE's Robert C. McGruder Award for Leadership in Newsroom Diversity. DeRienzo is a former longtime board member of the United Way of Northwest Connecticut, and served as co-chairman of the United Way's annual fundraising campaign in 2009 and again in 2011. In 2011, he received the organization's Lifetime Achievement Award.
This entry was posted in Jeff Jarvis, John Paton, Journal Register Company, The Register Citizen, What Would Google Do?. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Our biggest critics are our best friends

  1. Gutsy. But will people give constructive criticism? Hope they do. I think you might find the harshest critics are those who don't really have anything constructive to say. The constructive critics aren't really harsh, it's just hard to accept what they have to say.And beware of trolls!

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