My first question after reading Parker’s column was, how many newspapers have dropped her column? She shifted from Tribune’s syndicate (no sour grapes there — just ask her!), where she was in as many as 335 newspapers, a few years ago to the Washington Post’s. As Williamson notes, the Lubbock newspaper recently yanked her from its conservative slot. Could her rant be a desperation attempt to preserve her clever-girl status?
Update 2:45 p.m.:
Editor & Publisher offers some insight about the state of the newspaper syndicates:
“With a few exceptions, that’s one of the great urban myths of our business,” says Alan Shearer, executive director and general manager of the Washington Post Writers Group, when asked whether newspapers’ loss of manpower is translating into increased sales of syndicated content. “Because saving costs involves not just reducing staff, but reducing space. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
“Not only are [newspapers’] resources reduced, but their editorial space is reduced also,” concurs Lisa Klem Wilson, senior vice president/general manager of syndicates at United Media. “We have to be creative about what we give them, and what they can use and sell against.”
Wilson says comics and puzzles remain very popular (“in any kind of market,” she points out), punditry less so. She says newspapers are electing to run fewer syndicated columnists on the Op-Ed page, and some columnists are also disappearing from financial pages as those sections are reduced or consolidated into other sections.
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