Swift Communications

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Swift Communications Inc. is an American family-owned digital marketing and newspaper publishing company based in Carson City, Nevada. Swift's primary markets are resort town tabloid newspapers and websites as well as agricultural publications. Swift Communications has been noted for "being outside of the mainstream"[1] and "drawing national attention inside the industry"[2] for disabling commenting and implementing paywalls on most of its online newspaper's websites.[1][3]

History[edit]

Swift Newspapers was founded by Philip Swift in 1975. Swift, a former executive at the Scripps League of Newspapers, exchanged his equity interests in the company for ownership of two daily newspapers. After dozens of acquisitions and mergers over the years, Swift amassed a large number of print publications and in 1991 the company began concentrating on the resort sector by launching Tahoe.com and Reno.com. In 2006, the company changed their name to Swift Communications.[4] Swift also prints advertorials, catalogs, realtor magazines and phone book advertising.[5]

Swift decisions draw industry attention[edit]

In November 2009 Bob Berwyn, a journalist for the Summit Daily News (SDN), wrote a column which criticized the marketing practices of Vail Resorts, one of the paper's largest advertisers. He left the SDN shortly after the writing the article for reasons unrelated to the column. This action was widely derided in the Colorado media.[6][7]

"It's unfortunate but, especially in this economy, some advertisers feel like they can flex their muscles when there's commentary that they don't like," says Ed Otte of the Colorado Press Association. "Newspapers need to withstand these kinds of threats."[8]

In May, 2011 after gathering analytics, metrics and revenue data on their commenting platform investment, Swift reviewed the data and decided to remove the user-generated content (UGC) platform-Pluck from all online newspapers owned by Swift Communications. The ability for readers to leave comments about articles was removed, due to the high costs of the UGC platform that generated no return on investment and consumed ample staff time. Editors with Swift also felt the inability of their content management software to restrict comments they did not approve of was impacting newsroom productivity and civil community conversation.[9][10][11]

Anthony Collebrusco from the Digital News Test Kitchen at CU-Boulder's School of Journalism & Mass Communication which is involved in researching a viable means of limiting the pseudonymity and unconditional free speech of commenters on Swift's websites paraphrased Swift's policy as:

"Executives at Swift concluded that resources should not be invested in comments — and therefore there is no rush to reinstate user comments — unless they can be made to generate revenue."[1]

In Fall of 2011, the Aspen Times re-enabled onymous commenting for users with an active Facebook account.[2]

Swift Communications has been accused of stifling competition and setting artificially inflated ad rates by consolidating and closing small-town newspapers.[12] Steve Lipsher, former editor of the Summit Daily News said in 2008 that "If you're an advertiser in places like Summit County, they're the only game in town" [13] and in 2009, Swift-owned newspapers had 90% market share in Eagle County.[14] Swift has also been criticized for over-charging for obituary listings.[15]

Media properties[edit]

Publications[edit]

California[edit]

  • Sierra Sun
  • Tahoe.com
  • Tahoe Daily Tribune
  • The Union

Colorado[edit]

Nebraska[edit]

  • Nebraska Fence Post

Nevada[edit]

Oregon[edit]

South Dakota[edit]

  • Farmer & Rancher Exchange
  • Tri-State Livestock News

Newspaper closures & cutbacks[edit]

In late 2008, Colorado Mountain News Media, a subsidiary of Swift, reduced their staff by 20% through attrition, retirement & layoffs. [16] and closed down their following Colorado newspapers:[14][17][18][19][20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Collebrusco, Anthony. "‘No comment’: Swift newspaper websites keeping user comments turned off". Digital News Test Kitchen. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  2. ^ a b "Aspen Times online comments return". Aspen Times. 2011-10-21. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  3. ^ Tomasic, John (2008-09-21). "Greeley Tribune, other Swift papers, erecting paywalls". Colorado Independent. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  4. ^ "Who Owns the News Media". The state of the News Media. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  5. ^ "Swift Communication Inc. Snapshot". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  6. ^ Carr, David (2009-12-15). "Mountain Media Takes Nasty Spill After Confrontation with Vail Resorts". Media Decoder - New York Times. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  7. ^ Hooper, Troy (2009-12-12). "Reporter: I was fired for taking on the ski industry". Aspen Daily News. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  8. ^ Greene, Susan (2009-12-10). "Advertising flap snowballs for Vail Resorts". Denver Post. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  9. ^ Bangert, Randy (2011-04-30). "Web comments for The Tribune take a holiday". Greeley Tribune. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  10. ^ Collebrusco, Anthony. "Civil comments for news websites". Digital News Test Kitchen. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  11. ^ Outing, Steve. "#$^&%#@) it! … Keep it civil, commenters!". Digital News Test Kitchen. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  12. ^ Williams, David O. (2008-06-08). "Mountain McPapers slurp up competition". Colorado Independent. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  13. ^ Roberts, Michael (2008-05-22). "Ed Stein Moves Out of "Denver Square"". Denver Westword News. p. 2 accessdate=2012-11-14. 
  14. ^ a b Williams, David O. (2009-02-28). "Community papers struggling: Vail Daily cuts staff to 2002 levels". Colorado Independent. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  15. ^ Courant, James (2010-06-05). "Your Not So "Local Newspaper"". Greeley Gazette. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  16. ^ Webb, Dennis (2011-12-30). "Owner cutting staff at several newspapers, including Free Press". newspaperlayoffs.com. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  17. ^ "Colorado Mountain News Media Regional Marketing Solutions". www.swiftcom.com. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  18. ^ "Colorado Newspapers by City". www.mondotimes.com. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  19. ^ "Owner cutting staff at several newspapers including Free Press". Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. 2008-12-31. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  20. ^ "Western Slope newspapers cut staff". Denver Business Journal. 2008-12-31. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  21. ^ "La Tribuna named best weekly in the country". Greeley Tribune. 2006-10-15. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  22. ^ "Spanish paper La Tribuna to merge with Greeley Now". Greeley Tribune. 2008-01-29. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 

External links[edit]