WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

News Journal pulls the plug on SPARK, SIGNATURE BRANDYWINE; cuts 28 staff members.

The NEWS JOURNAL announces 28 staff cuts.

Earlier, in the day, it was apparent the axe was falling at Gannett media in Delaware.

First word came when Robert Kalesse, Editor of The NEWS JOURNAL papers' local entertainment magazine - SPARK - posted on FACEBOOK that The NEWS JOURNAL was pulling the plug on SPARK.

Here was the message: "Well, that's a wrap. Spark has been officially discontinued by The NEWS JOURNAL. We've all been laid off. More to come, but for now, we drink!!!"

Interesting, considering SPARK targeted the lower age demos, the under 35 crowd. (I still remember when SPARK was first announced, with much fanfare, some years ago.)

Then we received word that SIGNATURE BRANDYWINE was going away.

(The NEWS JOURNAL pledges to post content which would've appeared in those publications in the NJ's ordinary print edition and on Delaware On Line...)

Posted at 3:43pm on August 26, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 4:22pm
If the NJ gives a reason, it will be something like "advertising revenue, blah blah blah".

When my stepson was in town recently, he was amazed by Spark and the amount of music venues listed. Plus, Spark's photographers went out to the clubs and the photos appeared in the paper; they went to new restaurants.

There has to be a new business model developed for newspapers. They need to have advertising online as well as in the print edition.

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 11:11pm
I've repeatedly told Mr. Sweeney what he needs to do to boost circulation of that paper, but he doesn't listen.

Allan Loudell
Tue, Aug 27, 2013 5:42am

Out of curiosity, what do you think he needs to do?

(In fairness, he's not the guy making such decisions.)

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 2:15pm
I don't know how Spark couldn't survive. A wider distribution and built-in marketing platform; lower print and production costs; and a hinged advertising revenue stream. Yet, Out and About has done if for YEARS. What was the main difference? Too top-heavy for Spark to survive since O&A is a pretty lean operation?

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