Don Rogers: Vail Daily competitor crows too much, does too little
Vail, CO, Colorado
Voldemort has been a little, ah, erratic lately.
The pattern begins with the name. Voldemort sometimes goes by the original, but more often its Tuesdamort and Thursdamort, and so on. Once or twice it was Dailymort. It’s got to be hard to form an identity when you don’t know your own name.
Their voice still warbles, but lately they have gone with less emphasis on gloomy and goofy syndicated stuff (often disguised as their own work) to nearly all local fare, mostly press releases.
But that’s just part of a newcomer trying to find its legs. I’m sure I’d do the same in their place.
Their strangest effort since the Crazy Uncle declared the school district’s TAP program “dead” (it’s not) in a lead story that few read was a New Year’s day lead story all about … themselves. Apparently, that was the biggest news of the day for them. OK.
I get pride in service and pride in your crew. I love my mission and the great people who toil at my paper, too.
I don’t think that’s exactly lead news of the day, any day. But I get it.
And I understand that the little guy pretty much has to talk trash about the bigger little guy. We’re talking two family-run operations that own little papers sprinkled across the West, after all. Neither is exactly a titan.
Undercutting the market with below-profit cheap offers and being as sensational as possible on the news side also is about the only way compete. So I get that, too, and probably would employ the same tools.
I don’t think I’d talk much smack, though. Not when my startup is not getting read, not making my clients’ cash registers ring, and when customers begin to realize that even cheap is too expensive because there’s no return and below-cost now has implications for later.
That is, Voldemort is not some altruistic force to lower the cost of advertising in the valley. It doesn’t require higher math to recognize they aim to raise it. Otherwise Voldemort remains a hobby, not a business.
I certainly wouldn’t use the top of page one to talk smack. The readers don’t care, so it’s wasting space. And it comes across as, well, desperate.
That’s rather like changing your name every other day and crowing about all your growth while stuck in place, watching that other paper swell with the peak time of year.
They’re talking a little too much, and producing too little.
I’d be desperate, too.
Editor and Associate Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org