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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Bob Ashley - Rotten Journalist, Rotten Businessman

Bob AshleyAlong with being a rotten journalist, Bob Ashley, editor of the Herald-Sun, is a rotten manager of a newspaper.

For example, the Herald-Sun deletes its newspaper articles from their website after about two weeks online. But, they neglect to take the very simple step of forwarding all the links to those old articles into their paid archives. Buying a single article from the Herald-Sun archives, for a non-subscriber, normally costs $2.95 per article. But, you would never know that by following any of the thousands of links to old H-S articles, which this Duke case has spawned. All those links to old H-S articles currently end in a terse error message.

Contrast Ashley's innovative web strategy with the New York Times, which moves its old articles into their archives after about a week. However, the NY Times neatly forwards all the links to their old articles directly to either their paid archives ($4.95 per single article) or membership offers.

Here are two examples of how to "sell" paid content:

Duff Wilson, New York Times, Nov. 1, 2006:
Duke Rape Case Shadows an Unusual Race

John Stevenson, The Herald-Sun, Nov. 2, 2006:
Fellow dancer confirms claim
Of course, why anyone would want to buy old propaganda from the Herald-Sun is a debatable point. But, the fact that Bob Ashley does not take care of managing a simple small business detail like this is a reflection of a man who does not pay attention to any details. Especially small details like massive exculpatory evidence, egregious prosecutorial misconduct, or corruption.

Bob Ashley will not just be remembered as a clueless propagandist and hoax enabler for Mike Nifong, but also as a clueless businessman who drove the Herald-Sun to ruin. It won't be too long before they start handing out the free Herald-Sun advertising pamphlet on Durham street corners.

The Herald Sun’s ABCs. - John-in-Carolina
N.C.'s larger newspapers losing circulation - N&O, May 6, 2006
Duke Case: Pablum Pukers Keep Puking as They Croak - TJN, Aug. 2, 2006

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