Black, White and Red Ink All Over

The local newspaper has become an endangered species. The owners of the Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and Minneapolis Star-Tribune have filed for bankruptcy, and Denver’s Rocky Mountain News has gone under. In this edition of Drucker Apps, you’ll find ideas for surviving and thriving, whether you’re an editor, publisher—or just a person whose industry is going through rapid change. These insights—at once timely and timeless—are based on the ideas and ideals of the late Peter F. Drucker, the father of modern management.

Why do companies stop performing?

“The story is a familiar one: a company that was a superstar…finds itself…in a seemingly unmanageable crisis…the root cause of nearly every one of these crises is not that things are being done poorly…The assumptions on which the company has been built and is being run no longer fit reality.”— Peter F. Drucker, Classic Drucker

  • What can you do when your company’s assumptions have become outdated? Read more here.
  • Can you teach an old industry new tricks? Watch USC journalism professor and former Los Angeles Times editor Michael Parks discuss what he learned from Peter Drucker.

What else did Drucker think about the changing newspaper industry? Click here to read the advice he gave to former L.A. Times publisher Mark Willes in the 1990s.

Why organizations musn’t cling to the past

Another “case where abandonment is the right policy—and the most important one—is the old and declining product, service, market or process for the sake of maintaining which, the new and growing product, service or process is being stunted or neglected.”— Peter F. Drucker, Management Challenges for the 21st Century

Will newspaper owners put the community before profits?

“If the managers of our major institutions…do not take responsibility for the common good, no one else can or will.”— Peter F. Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices

  • How can business best serve society? Read more here.
  • Listen to Robert Lang, CEO of L3C Advisors, explain why the Newspaper Guild and others are calling on him to help introduce a new kind of business model.

An ink-stained wretch’s lesson in self-management

“None of us had ever worked on a newspaper…I learned to sit down with myself once a year at least and look over the work I did over the preceding 6 or 12 months, what I did do well, what could I or should I have done better…what do I get rid of because it is surplus baggage, how do I reshape priorities?”— Peter F. Drucker, as quoted in The Coaching Manager

  • What else did Drucker learn from his early journalism career? Click here to read more on his days as a reporter in Germany.
  • What was Drucker’s first newspaper story? Click here to see.