Monday, October 27, 2008

Let's Hope Pharmalot Survives!

This past week I noticed 3 indicators that Ed Silverman, author of Pharmalot, may soon be losing his job at the New Jersey Star-Ledger, the newspaper that owns Pharmalot.

First, Insider over at PharmaGossip picked up the story of trouble at the Star-Ledger (see "Let's Hope Ed at Pharmalot is OK"):

The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., will reduce its newsroom staff by nearly half through voluntary buyouts as New Jersey's largest newspaper seeks to return to profitability.

Jim Willse, the Star-Ledger's editor, said Friday that the newspaper accepted 151 buyout offers from its news staff, or about 45 percent of its 334 editorial employees. He said 17 buyout applications were rejected.

Some staffers already have left, and others are leaving by year's end, many after the elections.

You can read more here from the Star-Ledger, although, so far, Ed is silent about all this on Pharmalot.

I have noticed that Ed has been making the rounds speaking at many industry conferences. Usually, when you see someone speak at several conferences in a short timeframe, it's a sign that the person may be looking for new opportunities.

The third thing I noticed was a promotional email sent to me via the Pharmalot mailing list, which I subscribed to in order to keep up with posts made to Pharmalot -- and NOT to receive promotional emails! This indicates that Pharmalot is trying to capitalize on its reputation and subscribers to squeeze more advertising revenue out of the blog. I think it's the first time that a blogger has used his or her subscriber list to promote a product or service for a third-party advertiser. Sounds desperate.

If the Star-Ledger and Pharmalot go belly up, I too hope Ed survives! Ed is a veteran reporter and knows all about the problems facing print news media. He expressed these concerns to me many months ago. I'm sure he has a plan to switch to something new, interesting, and profitable in the digital news realm.

Here's a prediction you heard here first: I predict that Ed and few of his fellow employees will take over ownership of Pharmalot from the Star-Ledger, perhaps with some angel investor assistance.

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