Journalism by the Column Inch

Is Sam Zell taking a page out of Nick Denton’s book? Denton, overseeing bloggers, judges them on the number of pageviews they generate; Zell, overseeing newspaper journalists, is judging them on the number of column inches they generate:

The struggling company has looked at the column inches of news produced by each reporter, and by each paper’s news staff. Finding wide variation, they said, they have concluded that it could do without a large number of news employees and not lose much content.

Perhaps they should start with the copy editors? After all, they produce no column inches at all. And then, after encouraging all journalists to write as long as possible, the letters page could become at least half a dozen pages long. After that, I have a couple of college students I could point them to who are good at tweaking margins and line spacing in order to maximize the number of words per page…

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