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View Full Version : are news papers a thing of the past?



Phillip Allen
02-27-2011, 06:35 AM
I know this has been asked many times before but the local paper came by the other day practically begging to sell a paper.

I never have read the papers much, even before the internet but I hate to see them go

Peerie Maa
02-27-2011, 06:41 AM
A good local paper is needed to cover the stuff that does not get on the national papers web sites.
I also buy a national daily when making train journeys, and the Saturday paper for the weeks TV schedules.

skuthorp
02-27-2011, 06:51 AM
Local papers, even the partisan Murdoch and Fairfax owned ones, are doing well here whereas the big state or national based dailies are not. But not everyone has net access, or the ability or desire to research other opinions than that they already hold, or for that matter anything ese other than sport. It leaves the door open to manipulation by anyone or any organisation. But then they do that now don't they? As I said before almost any organised media is catering to a carefully researched demographic of readers and the advertisers that sell to them. That , not news or truth, is the bottom line.

Waddie
02-27-2011, 07:02 AM
I will miss the local paper when it finally shuts down one day, just like I miss the blacksmiths who were replaced by the automobile. Besides, the printed newspaper is so useful....for the bottom of the birdcage, masking off to paint, packing material, fire starter....I can't count them all :) . Are we already nostalgic for printed news?
Whatever happened to the idea of a "paper-less society"? Isn't electronic delivery of news supposed to be the PC environmentally correct method of delivery? I say "save the trees"!!!
Except, folding an IPad under my arm while heading to the john just isn't the same :) .

regards,
Waddie

Ian McColgin
02-27-2011, 07:11 AM
Newspapers are an extremely interesting business. Like TV, their cash is advertising. But the successful ones are driven by someone's news passion, not advertising or money passion though having or hiring competence for the sordid grubby side matters. Local readers simply get bored if the local rag cannot cover a fight between the town manager and the head of the police union. Local readers need to see who really managed the library fundraiser and which kid scored a touchdown against the neighboring town's school. The local paper needs no batteries. The crossword can be worked on while awaiting the bus. A letter to the editor can be quarreled about at the coffee shop - the real one with stools and counter and greasy eggs and no over-priced swill with phony italian names.

A good editor attracts, trains, and often retains for life people who are, simply put, "reporters". Reporters are weird autodictats with curiosity about everything and the ability to boil the human tragicomedy into words. A real reporter knows that 'the story' is always there. In a world where both capable reporters and total idiots and blogging and flogging and generally clogging the internet, the local reporter pretty much has an exclusive on the local news, the stuff you'll actually read about that ZBA meeting.

That's why real estate rags and profit-driven empty rags will come and go but the solid community news paper will be around paying a cadre of really good editors, reporters, photographers, and graphic designers their perhaps meager salt. There will always be those people who just love news.

paladin
02-27-2011, 07:11 AM
The Washington Post is noticeably thinner, the good comics have been replaced by a batch of new, not funny, inexpensive cartoonists (which will cause me to cancel the paper). One new feature is the alternating sections on Russia and China on Sundays.

PhaseLockedLoop
02-27-2011, 12:41 PM
A good editor attracts, trains, and often retains for life people who are, simply put, "reporters". Reporters are weird autodictats with curiosity about everything and the ability to boil the human tragicomedy into words. A real reporter knows that 'the story' is always there. In a world where both capable reporters and total idiots and blogging and flogging and generally clogging the internet, the local reporter pretty much has an exclusive on the local news, the stuff you'll actually read about that ZBA meeting. That's why real estate rags and profit-driven empty rags will come and go but the solid community news paper will be around paying a cadre of really good editors, reporters, photographers, and graphic designers their perhaps meager salt. There will always be those people who just love news.

I don't know what you mean by 'local,' but if you mean what I do, you're delusional. The Ann Arbor News (Michigan) shut down last year after a hundred years of business. Little sub-local papers like the Saline Reporter are still going, but the long-time editor quit three years ago, and the reporters were always minimum-wage+ people with no particular training, as is, now, the editor. Nothing keeps the Saline paper, and several others in Ann Arbor-outlying areas, going except the real estate default pages. The same thing's happening all over the country.

Ian McColgin
02-27-2011, 12:45 PM
Papers come and go. I happen to live in a place with a superb daily, the Cape Cod Times, and several great weeklies. And the Sacromento Bee keeps on cooking. But market forces and other things can, always have, felled papers both good and bad. It's by no means an easy business.

isla
02-27-2011, 12:47 PM
Whatever happened to the idea of a "paper-less society"? Isn't electronic delivery of news supposed to be the PC environmentally correct method of delivery? I say "save the trees"!!!
Except, folding an IPad under my arm while heading to the john just isn't the same :) .


Also, it wouldn't be a good idea to swat a fly with an iPad.

S.V. Airlie
02-27-2011, 12:49 PM
I thinkone should take into consideration that several papers are owned by the same company..Independent newspapers might be on the way out. Especially if they are weeklies...and are taken over by say dailies..Advertising usually runs at about 60% of content. A weekly paper loses that advantage over a daily.

Dan McCosh
02-27-2011, 12:53 PM
They are not dying, they are pretty much dead. Most major newspaper chains went bankrupt two or three years ago, and those remaining are on life support. The impact of free advertising on the internet has caused a major implosion in the whole media business, but newspapers are taking the biggest hit. One side effect is the virtual disappearance of professional journalism--i.e., that done for a regular paycheck.

htom
02-27-2011, 01:10 PM
The Twin Cities have gone from six dailys fifty years ago to two, both of which are owned and operated by chains. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is a pale echo of the NYT, the St. Paul Pioneer Press & Dispatch is a little better, but not enough to subscribe to it, either. The others, IIRC, one has died, the other has become a weekly. The Twin Cities Reader and City Pages, two former free entertainment weeklies, one died, the other just downsized its paper again. (Both the Strib and the PressPatch have done that too, now being a little bigger than the old tabloid size.)

If they're not dying, they're doing a good imitation of it. Perhaps they're becoming zombies. They are not providing anything like the coverage of local politics, news, events, social, theatre, schools, sports, and things to do that they would have to to interest me. They became publishers of press releases, rather than reporters, and the press releases get delivered to me now.

Uncle Duke
02-27-2011, 06:37 PM
The Washington Post is noticeably thinner, the good comics have been replaced by a batch of new, not funny, inexpensive cartoonists (which will cause me to cancel the paper). One new feature is the alternating sections on Russia and China on Sundays.
Just for drill - those sections are "advertising", and are (sort-of) clearly marked as such. Last year there was one for Libya and one for Turkey, among others.
Good business for the Post - if you are the biggest paper in Washington, D.C., then you might as well sell multi-page adverts to people who want to pay big $$ because they think it serves their PR purpose. I don't know anyone who actually reads that stuff, though.

Roger Cumming
02-27-2011, 06:58 PM
If they go it will be because of people like you who never thought about subscribing. If you think print journalism is worth having, support it! If you don't you will get what you deserve: TV air heads reading AP ticker tapes and no local coverage.

L.W. Baxter
02-27-2011, 07:30 PM
I read the Oregonian over lunch every day.
I have noticed a steep decline in every aspect of the paper, but it is still very much worth reading. I hope it will hold on for a while yet.

For me, reading the paper is different than reading the news on the web. I don't enjoy my lunch nearly as much on the rare days I don't have the paper.

PhaseLockedLoop
02-28-2011, 12:25 PM
If they go it will be because of people like you who never thought about subscribing. If you think print journalism is worth having, support it! If you don't you will get what you deserve: TV air heads reading AP ticker tapes and no local coverage.

The trouble is, most of it isn't worth supporting any more. And by the way, it wasn't just subscriptions that used to drive a newspaper, it's the circulation (which includes subscriptions, natch, but includes news stand sales) which in turn used to set advertising rates. But even if a newpaper maintains its circulation, big advertisers now have web sites from which thay can actually sell merchandise, and few people look at classifieds any more, since craigslist and other sites sell better and cost nothing.

And by the way, the only thing most surviving newspapers print in the way of news comes off the AP wire. The news hole is a bit bigger in some papers than the TV news, but it's the same pap. The big newspapers used to maintain foreign desks around the world, from which smaller papers could syndicate. And there used to be three main wire sevices, each with their own reporters and correspondants. No longer.

htom
02-28-2011, 01:15 PM
We used to subscribe to both of the Minneapolis papers. When they merged, we stayed. When we moved to Eagan we stayed, even though the St. Paul paper's coverage of Eagan and Dakota county was better. I gave up on it long ago; they've offended my wife, somehow, and now I grab an occasional paper (usually St. Paul) from a box or the grocery or gas station. If they get better, maybe.