Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

The Daily Examiner: Strategic Initiative 2013

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

The Daily Examiner: Strategic Initiative 2013

Article excerpt


The primary subject matter of this case concerns strategic decision making, outsourcing, and organizational politics. The case can be used to explore the intricacies of strategic planning in a strategic management course. Students are asked to analyze data in order to determine whether to adopt a new strategic plan for the company. Making such a determination requires the students to complete a cost/benefits analysis, an analysis which includes both financial as well as human elements. The case has a difficulty level of four. The case can be presented and discussed in two to four class periods depending on the number of issues considered. Students can be expected to spend about 8 hours of outside preparation to be fully prepared to complete the case.


CEO William Rogers is well aware that the internet poses a significant threat to traditional print newspapers like The Daily Examiner, a regional, employee-owned newspaper. Therefore, Rogers hired Skip Van Wart as CFO because of his reputation as a strategic change agent for staid industries. Although Van Wart has limited experience in the newspaper industry, he has initiated turnaround strategies in other companies. During his 10 months with the company, Van Wart conducted a study of all areas of operations as well as readership patterns. The study concluded that The Daily Examiner faced a strategic dilemma, determining that two major changes were strategically necessary: 1) the newspaper must develop an online newspaper segment; and 2) the current printing operation should be outsourced. The conclusions of the study are based on the increasing age demographic of the Daily Examiner readership, the growing online market, as well as the opportunity to reduce what could become excessive operational costs, i.e. capital outlays in replacing the printing presses. Immediate implementation of the plan is complicated by two major elements: (1) there are three years remaining on the lease of one of the printing presses and (2) outsourcing the printing operation would affect about 30% of the employees. Having worked in the printing area, Rogers has strong interpersonal ties with many of the employees there. In addition the printing employees, collectively, own 42% of the company 's stock and include the single largest shareholder, Buck Johnson, who had served as Rogers ' mentor. Rogers therefore, faces a tough decision: reject the initiative and stay true to the paper's historic roots and support the long serving employees, or adopt the initiative and make radical changes in order to meet perceived future needs?


As he was putting a large stack of papers and documents into his briefcase at 6: 1 5 on Friday, William "Bill" Rogers knew that it would be anything but a restful weekend. Rogers is CEO of The Daily Examiner, a regional newspaper. On Monday, Rogers has to submit the agenda and related materials for the upcoming quarterly board meeting. The most controversial issue on the agenda will be consideration of the strategic initiative. This weekend Rogers must decide on his vision for the future of the paper: do we reject the initiative and stay true to our historic roots and support our long serving employees, or do we adopt the initiative and make radical changes in order to meet perceived future needs?

The Daily Examiner is a small regional newspaper with a total readership of 60,000 adults. As is typical of most regional print newspaper organizations, The Daily Examiner faces a changing and uncertain future.

Industry-wide data indicates that income has always played an important role in segmenting newspaper authences. Readership increases steadily with higher earnings. Among adults with household incomes of $75,000+, readership stands at 55% on weekdays and 65 % on Sundays. Education and occupation have long been closely correlated with newspaper readership for both weekdays and Sundays. …

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