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Are newspapers really becomong obsolete?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by FireJimTressel.com, Nov 4, 2007.

  1. As I was driving to my Friday night football coverage two weeks ago, I saw the sign in front of the home school. It announced a PTO meeting on the top two lines. The bottom line read: "Go Party Crashers!"

    Now the background. Several weeks back I covered this team when it pulled off what many viewed as a surprising victory. The winning team had made the regional final (equivalent of the state quarterfinals) and lost to the eventual state champ. This year, the team returned exactly one player to its offense and three defensive players. On top of that, the team is playing in perhaps the most difficult district in the state.

    When it won the game several weeks ago, my lede was: "All of a sudden, District XX-XA has a party crasher." (Make fun of it, I don't care. We don't all have fantastic nights)

    Well, as I was driving to the most recent game, I saw that sign and realized that lede had stuck. I know the big picture reveals a trend toward the Internet. But it's moments such as this that make me realize we're probably not going away as quickly as some think.

    I'm sure many of you have similar stories.
  2. Eagleboy

    Eagleboy Guest

    I think that's awesome. It shows that people care enough, and, like we saw with the proliferation of the term "Rocktober," it's a catchy nickname that's used with pride by the team.

    I don't know that papers are becoming obsolete as quickly as we are led to believe, but I don't know that anything is being done to prolong that unfortunate trend. People do care. But I think that reading the newspaper is part of a daily routine, and unless there's some kind of benefit to lure younger readers other than "My parents did it at the breakfast table, and I will too," that routine will slowly die out.
  3. captzulu

    captzulu Member

    Could they have read your story on the paper's Web site?
  4. spud

    spud Member

    No. Impossible.
  5. I'll bet my Royal typewriter they're not.
  6. Good point. I feel like a bit of a moron now.
  7. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    Most people still tend to get their local news -- ie, their high school sports coverage -- from the newspaper.
  8. captzulu

    captzulu Member

    Absolutely. They might be reading the stories online instead of in the print edition, but people still turn to content produced by that same news-gathering organization. That niche still remains, but how long that organization continues to fill that niche by producing a paper product is a different matter.
  9. sportsnut

    sportsnut Member

    Newspapers have a long way to go before the company pulls the plug on print and go online only. I see NY is going in the right directions with newspapers for everyone.

    The NY Times: Business people
    NY Daily News: Your typical working man
    NY Post: If you like gossip and entertainment with a shot of local news stories:
    NY Observer: Weekly paper about politics and media
    NY Sun: The Local version of the Times.
    AMNY/Metro NY: The youth newspapers dedicated to the 16-24 year old market with not a lot of time.
  10. FishHack76

    FishHack76 Active Member

    I think it requires different kinds of thinking in order not to become obsolete. I think the problem is most newspaper companies are making themselves that way because they aren't investing in their people and their products. There are also people out there stuck in old ways of thinking. That's what has struck me most in my time in newspapers. There are a lot of stodgy people out there - even younger people - that don't embrace new ideas and actually shun or immediately dismiss them. Sometimes, that stodgy way is a good thing. It keeps people from going too far out in the wilderness
    Often, though, I see it as a large hinderance to helping make newspapers better.
    Another problem is as more and more people see the newspaper situation as hopeless, they leave for more money, more security, normal hours and a more positive atmosphere. Most of these people are smart, qualified and innovative people who know they're better than the current situation. If they were at a newspaper, they would probably help make it better, but now they're gone. Newspaper companies, of course, don't care as long as the paper gets out and doesn't cost too much.
    What you get in that situation is some people trying desperately to make things better but swimming in the rough seas, some executives who are thriving on the Peter Principle but are clueless and then some lifers who have nowhere else to go because they aren't good at anything else.
    We all know newspapers are pushing away some of their best people and some smart, young people see the situation and don't want any part of it.

    PART 2
    I think the newspaper needs to become more like a magazine with more weight on features, opinion, analysis and other fun, engaging items and not necessarily the same stories as every other newspaper, which I see as a problem around my area. Two or three newspapers usually run the same story because they attend the same press conference or the same gangbang interview with a star athlete. I think people get sick of hearing/seeing the same stories on TV, internet, newspapers and radio. To me, some things just get beaten to death, and it turns people off. I would say that's the No. 1 turnoff to mainstream media is the same stories or small stories that are blown up because everyone reports it.
    Your website needs to become what the daily newspaper used to be and also a place to put original fun, interactive things as well as some original content. The problem comes down for some newspapers is lack of investment. You have to hire a staff for the web. You can't just expect people to do two or three jobs (print, internet and maybe take photos) and expect them to do it well.
    Sadly, this is where most newspaper companies fail or will fail. Right now, newspapers have a monopoly on one thing - local coverage. They have the name and some credibility when it comes to delivering the news, but companies can't rest on that and think everything's going to be okay. Who's to say some billionaire won't have the bright idea to start up a credible site that covers smaller towns? If that website looks better and does better stories, where would people turn? To that new website, and there goes "the brand"? There are few loyalities on the internet. People will go where they think they are getting the best information. What if ESPN decided somehow to cover high school football games. Would people go to the Podunk Daily Record or ESPN? They would go to ESPN without a doubt - if ESPN did a good enough job. The difference is ESPN has the money to do a good job. When Stephen A. Smith's radio show gets inevitably canceled, they can bust him down to covering Berwick High.
    There are ways to still put what is normally in a daily newspaper in the newspaper (game stories, roundups, etc.). To me, it just has to be in a different format like a chart or a rail with other facts and figures. I think it's still important to have that stuff in the paper. It depends on a paper's situation and resources.
    The game has changed. People look for information faster, and the information is out there. The one-way model of newspapers distributing information is long gone, but the struggle I think most newspaper people have is this idea of being "the paper of record."
    I go back and forth on this. With the other technological innovations - radio, TV, cable, newspapers were still the record. With the internet, you can make an argument that the records or out there. For instance, I know there's a website that has every Major League boxscore for the last 50 years. There's also websites like Baseball Reference.
    So this idea of being the record is a debatable one. Like I wrote, I go back and forth in my head on this.
  11. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    1. You cannot easily carry the laptop into the crapper.

    2. You cannot easily read the lapton at the table white eating.

    3. You cannot read your laptop on the subway.

    4. There are no ads on a laptop that fall out easily.

    And now for my own favorite...

    You cannot peruse headlines easily on a laptop. I can read a folding paper 10 times faster than pointing and clicking on a computer.

    Newspapers are safe.
  12. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Oh, and boxscores suck on a computer.
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