DScene, staying power . . .

DScene 8-5-13 (screenshot detail) 1[screenshot]

THE CONUNDRUM
DScene could fall victim to the disease rabidly attacking the Fairfax Media conglomerate. How to deal with the local monopoly, should the war have been fought online, not on paper.

### ODT Online Fri, 10 May 2013
D-Scene newspaper may close
Dunedin community newspaper D-Scene may be ceasing publication after five years. The Fairfax Media-owned The Press reported yesterday a proposal to close the weekly publication, a subsidiary of The Southland Times.
Read more

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### 3news.co.nz Fri, 10 May 2013 11:03a.m.
Dunedin’s D-Scene paper tipped to close
By Thomas Mead, Online Reporter
Fairfax Media is considering ending the popular Dunedin community newspaper D-Scene, putting eight jobs at risk. The media conglomerate has put a proposal to staff and is now deciding the fate of the weekly publication in a two-week consultation period with those affected. Southland Times general manager Sue Gregory is declining to comment until the consultation period is over, but confirmed the initiative was underway. D-Scene was purchased by Fairfax Media in September 2008, but is in a competitive environment, up against the well-read Otago Daily Times and weekly The Star.
3news Link

[This too, gives pause . . .]

### NZ Herald Online 5:30 AM Friday May 3, 2013
John Drinnan: Local history shipped out
History has a price and New Zealand’s photographic history is being shipped to Little Rock, Arkansas. Veteran sports photographer Peter Bush is shocked by Fairfax Media’s decision to sell its newspaper photo archive to an American firm. Fairfax has told Auckland staff it will be shipping photo archives for most of its Australian and New Zealand newspapers to the Rogers Photo Archive, a company based in Little Rock. The company will send back digital versions of the photos, but will keep the original prints, including photos of Sir Edmund Hillary.
Read more

[2008, remember the Smiths back then . . .]

### stuff.co.nz Last updated 13:59 09/09/2008
Fairfax buying Dunedin community paper D-Scene
Dunedin community newspaper D-Scene looks set to join the Fairfax stable with the media giant announcing it is in the final stages of buying it. A spin-off from Queenstown’s Mountain Scene, the paper was set up earlier this year in a market dominated by long-time incumbent, the Otago Daily Times.
Read more

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### nbr.co.nz Tuesday September 09, 2008
Fairfax buys a lemon
By Mitchell Hall
Fairfax media’s decision to buy Dunedin’s struggling free weekly newspaper D Scene has one competitor sniffing that there’s no business case for the purchase – given how much money it is said to have been losing. The Otago Daily Times is the oldest newspaper in the country – and one of the last independent newspapers not owned by APN or Fairfax. The ODT’s business manager (and Allied Press director), Nick Smith, says a large editorial team designed D Scene with the Otago Daily Times in their sights. “The Otago Daily Times was seen (by them) to be an old and staid paper circulating in a one horse town. “They decided that the ODT was something that – according to their sales people – was a relic from the past, and they were smart boys who’d done all this research and they can take the town over.”
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

8 Comments

Filed under Business, Design, Economics, Media, Name, People, Project management

8 responses to “DScene, staying power . . .

  1. ### DScene 15.5.13
    Paper’s future now in doubt (page 3)
    DScene may soon be closed. Last Wednesday senior staff from the Southland Times – which publishes DScene – met the newspaper’s eight staff and presented them with a proposal to shut down the Southland Times Dunedin operation and cease publishing DScene. If the proposal went ahead, Fairfax – parent company of the Southland Times – would retain an editorial presence in Dunedin, providing stories to the wider group and the Stuff website, as DScene does at present. A two-week consultation period is now under way, in which the future of the paper will be decided. ‘‘This is a tough time for DScene’s dedicated team,’’ editor Mike Houlahan said. ‘‘We are thankful for the many messages of support we have received.’’ DScene was bought by Fairfax in September 2008, and has a readership of around 50,000.
    #bookmark

    ****

    See Mike Houlahan’s editorial (page 5):
    Shoe leather gets stories: Blogs feed off traditional journalism, not vice-versa
    #bookmark

    But is this really true? Even lil ol’ What if? scores stories from time to time without meaning to, honest, yep, and sometimes the leads. Symbiosis, people! For example, Martin Legge, the ‘out-there’ unafraid New Zealand whistleblower covers stuff DScene does not, can not, and never will – not even through the Fairfax big brother papers. Sometimes, the back stories must come direct from the people living them, not through journalists per se. There’s honour in the unedited self-published unbridled news, power and distinctiveness! What’s wrong with picking more brains minus the hassle of a printing press.

    • Comment at ODT Online (the original declares 3 city areas that get no or random delivery):

      D-Scene deliveries
      Submitted by ej kerr on Mon, 13/05/2013 – 6:26pm.
      “at least D-Scene gets delivered….”
      Sadly, it does not – and hasn’t for years in several areas of the city. For about one year following start of publication it got delivered to my central city address. After that it was hit or miss for a short time, before peetering out completely. I phoned, it came, it stopped again. Whatever.
      Recently, we called into D-Scene’s offices to mention the delivery problem. The helpful staff admitted to me and my colleague (delivery problem in another part of town) the paper has real issues with delivery children who fail to complete their runs or just dump the papers.
      I feel genuinely sorry for the small team at D-Scene when the dishonesty of local idiot children undermines the business by eroding circulation this way. As if D-Scene doesn’t have enough to worry about with their parent company.
      That said, D-Scene doesn’t have it all on their own. The Star has a peppered delivery history at this address. At the moment, you guessed it, nothing! [Abridged]

  2. ### DScene 22.5.13
    D Scene not shut (page 3)
    The consultation period over the potential closure of D Scene has been extended by a week. On May 8 senior Southland Times staff held a meeting with D Scene’s eight employees and presented them with a proposal for closure. D Scene staff made a submission in response, and on Monday the Southland Times extended the consultation period to give that submission further consideration. This means D Scene will continue to publish as usual for now, and there will be a paper next Wednesday, May 29.
    #bookmark

  3. DScene, D-Scene, D Scene (who knew, Fairfax provides all versions…)

    ### RNZ News Updated at 9:47 am today
    D-Scene publishes final edition
    The Dunedin newspaper D-Scene has been closed by owner Fairfax Media. Launched five years ago as a competitor to the city’s dominant newspaper, the Otago Daily Times, the paper published its last edition on Wednesday. Sources say D-Scene’s eight staff have lost their jobs, but one position will be kept in Dunedin as a reporter for other Fairfax publications. Last week the Australasian newspaper firm confirmed job losses were likely across the entire company.
    RNZ Link

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    ### DScene 29 May 2013
    So long, and thanks for all the scoops (page 3)
    Today we publish the edition of D Scene. We are proud of the way we have championed our community’s interests since we began five years ago, but continued publication of the newspaper is no longer viable. As a consequence, Fairfax Media, which owns D Scene, has decided to close the weekly newspaper. We would like to thank our readers and advertisers for the support they have given us over the years, and also thank our staff who have been passionate in developing D Scene into a respected brand in the Dunedin market. See page 6, 8 for more coverage.
    #bookmark

    ****

    [Editorial reproduced here in full, in the public interest]

    Thank you Dunedin (page 6)
    By Mike Houlahan – editor
    I have a small confession to make . . . I never really much liked the name D Scene.
    Everything else about our paper though, I was and am deeply proud of.
    News that D Scene is to close after five years is hard to take. You always come to work hoping to do good and make a difference, and I don’t think it’s vanity to claim D Scene did that.
    The paper always aimed to spark debate, inform and entertain readers, and offer as wide a picture as possible about what makes Dunedin tick. In our dual role as the Fairfax bureau in Dunedin, we have also given readers here and throughout the country an insight into the Southern city.
    That bureau role – a vital one to meet Fairfax’s ambitions for a national news network – will continue. For D Scene however, the end is here. Dunedin was always going to be a tough market to get established in.
    Couple an aggressive competitor with a global recession, and trading conditions have been bloody hard. In the end, just too hard.
    We have loyal readers and very loyal advertisers, some of whom have been with us from the very start. D Scene would not have been possible without your support. Thank you.
    We are a small paper with a small, close-knit team. Those who have worked in the past for D Scene, thank you for your efforts. For those who are here now, good luck for the future.
    I will miss Cindy Stuart – a one woman D Scene wikipedia; the endless enthusiasm of Jessica Brown; the dogged efforts of Richard Davison and Blair Davidson to supply the news from the Plains; the quiet determination of Jeremy McKee, and the exuberance of Johny O’Donnell.
    Our regional manager, Katie Tucholski, has been a tower of strength. Fiercely proud of D Scene, fighting to the end to keep us going, she has devoted a phenomenal amount of passion and energy to the newspaper, which we have all been thankful for.
    Gavin Bertram has been with D Scene since the beginning, and his insightful take on Dunedin’s lively arts and entertainment scene has been a rich part of the newspaper. His sports features – many of which have dusted off great tales from the archives –have been hugely appreciated by readers here and around the country.
    Then there is Wilma McCorkindale, a one-woman dynamo who has lived and breathed D Scene for the past five years. The phrase ‘‘boots and all’’ was invented for Wilma, who seemingly knows everyone in Dunedin. She has broken some hugely significant stories of national importance, and been a vital part of Dunedin’s conversation with itself.
    Finally, thank you to you, the readers. All newspapers exist to serve their readers, and roughly half of Dunedin read D Scene every week.
    We have been proud to bring you the news, and we hope you have enjoyed your time with us.
    #bookmark

    ****

    Today D Scene publishes its final edition. Reporters Wilma McCorkindale and Gavin Bertram reflect on what a five years it has been.

    Paper going but vibrant city stays (page 8)
    My job interview for D Scene came with a call out of the blue, on the same day my wife was made redundant. In that sense the job was a saviour, although the early days of the paper’s existence were challenging to say the least. D Scene was still being imagined, and the potential for it was hugely exciting. Our bosses from Queenstown had big ideas and a sense of largesse rarely encountered in Dunedin. There were secretive war council meetings that ran late into the evening, where controversial story ideas were dissected. Newspaper design experts from Australia were brought in. Inexperienced sales staff were rigorously schooled. As the launch date of May 30, 2008 approached, there was an immense amount of pressure on everyone involved. It’s the only time work has ever consumed me so utterly that it would keep me awake at night. Those first 17 or so issues were trial by fire, and boundaries were often pushed. In hindsight, there was always a sense it wasn’t sustainable.
    {continues} #bookmark

    • ### ODT Online Thu, 30 May 2013
      Newspaper no more
      D-Scene, a Dunedin community newspaper, has been closed by the The Southland Times. The paper, launched five years ago, published its final edition yesterday.
      Read more

  4. Anonymous

    God help us. The DScene may have struggled under its limited resources since the Great Time of Keen but at least it helped to defend the city against a far worse state of reporting. Now the floodgates are open, the front-line compromised and the wall crumbling. Prepare for More Eion, More Syd, More Stadium, More Rugby Porn and the sort of reporting that could make even Dene Mackenzie blush.

    Thank you to the hard-working team at D Scene. All the best for finding further employment (PS. for your continued well-being I do not recommend seeking help from the Oddity’s Working It Out blog).

  5. The Insider

    I really like Wilma’s comment about what gets a journalist’s motor running. ‘It’s the opportunity to reflect real news without village affiliations leaning on you to slant the truth.’
    Something ODT reporter, Chris Morris, could reflect on.

    • This week in particular I’ve been seeing the mess that is The Press of Christchurch – and we think slant is bad down here, we ain’t seen nothing yet, compared.

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