This could be bad. Really bad.

Today was Day One of the new regime at the Tennesseean, Nashville’s daily newspaper. If you’re wondering why this is relevant to a Vermont political blog, well, the T’n is part of the Gannett chain, and is the “beta” version of Gannett’s “newsroom of the future.” As in, Coming Soon to a Gannett Paper Near You, i.e. the Burlington Free Press.

(Sharp-eyed journalism observer Jim Romenesko pointed out today that this is the second time in eight years that Gannett has launched the “newsroom of the future.” Guess it didn’t take the first time.)

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.33.14 PMThe Tennesseean is still in the process of downsizing and downgrading its newsroom staff, but today’s was the first edition under Executive Editor Stefanie Murray, head cheerleader for the new N.O.T.F.  And there, on the front page, was a story about the Kroger supermarket chain, a major T’n advertiser, lowering prices in its stores. 

And this is news…… why?

But wait, there’s more. If you went to the T’n website today, the homepage was dominated by — mirabile dictu — an ad from Kroger touting its new low prices! Wow, wotta coincidence.

This screenshot only includes the top half of the print edition’s front page. (Full front page can be seen here.) Below the fold is an almost equally ghastly front-page “news” story about twerking as the new fitness craze. I kid you not.

Seems to be a very aggressive application of the T’n’s new commitment to “audience analytics” driven journalism. Give the peoples what they want, and the stupider the better.

Coming soon to a Freeploid near you.

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