The Onrushing Death (by Stupidity) of the Times-Dispatch

It seems like Richmond has been completely confused by the purchase of Richmond.com by the Richmond Times-Dispatch/Media General.

You aren’t the only ones. From an insider’s POV, in November it looked like MG bought the site in a way to increase local presence, but without bothering to figure out beforehand not only how to do that, but how to market all the disparate sites they had.

In the months prior, they ramped up reps in the Internet sales/advertising department and started a bunch of blitzes that basically failed to inspire the print side to do a damn thing to help the IT side.

Then they bought Richmond.com. Then they announced that at the RTD, print comes second, Web is first.

But was anyone in corporate communicating with anyone else?

In November of 2008, Media General purchased Richmond.com from site owner John Whitlock for an undisclosed price. The company’s plans for that site remained a mystery.

Now it appears Media General is responding to some of the confusion generated by operating three local sites by paring them down to two. One will stick to the basics and serve newspaper readers who also read the news online. The other…well it’s still a bit of a mystery.

Michael Fibison, who manages several Virginia websites for Media General, wouldn’t confirm or deny the planned change, nor provide details about what a revamped Richmond.com might look like.

It’s possible that the company may be intending to try and attract the younger generation, who use the web almost exclusively for their news. With newspaper readership falling, Media General has to find a way to secure an online audience to survive.

Ain’t gonna happen. The “young online audience” doesn’t like literal labels, nor old-fashioned ones. Richmond.com is as contemporary as Compuserve, eToys and Pets.com.

And they’re all dead.

Here’s the whole article from RichmondBizsense.com.

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