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Great Newspaper Markets

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Max Mercy, May 12, 2008.

  1. Max Mercy

    Max Mercy Member

    OK, so "great" should never be used to describe anything newspaper-y these days, but where are the last bastions of true newspaper relevance? Cities/states/regions of significant population where newspapers are still the watchdogs, where newspapers are still respected, where there are newspaper options and quality competition spurring quality journalism, where the residents honestly need to read the paper (either in print or online) to be informed.

    I can't imagine too many, if any, major cities qualify, as there would be too many alternative means of getting the news and opinion. And I can't imagine too many, if any, tiny towns apply as they're almost all one-paper towns without much significant and hard-hitting content (no offense to small-town journalism, but community papers aren't what I'm looking for in this particular question).

    So I guess the question is, where are the great suburban newspaper markets, where print is still king and we'll all have to move to once our papers fold in 10 years (har har har)?

    I came up with a few based on comments from friends in the business and just my own observations online. Anyone got any others? Or want to shoot these down?

    I'm guessing here, because I don't know the area well. But I'm assuming the NY TV and radio stations focus mostly on the goings-on in the city and ignore the nearby Jersey suburbs. I imagine papers such as the Newark Star-Ledger, the Bergen Record and Asbury Park Press and all of those do fairly well and are absolutely vital to a huge population (most densely populated state in the country, no?)

    Guessing again here, but based on what CNN was saying during election night, there are something like three-quarters-of-a-million people in this area right outside of Chicago. But there is no local television (just Chicago and some South Bend, neither of which pay any attention to this area) and no local radio of any significance. The two papers -- the Gary Post-Tribune and the Munster Times -- seem to be the only sources of local information for a fairly major population center. Both papers seem relatively successful, combining for more than 150K circ.

    I know there IS local TV news here -- a lot of it, from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale to West Palm Beach, but we're talking about three outstanding newspapers in the Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post and Miami Herald. I'd have to think the readers are well-served her to support three papers of that size and quality.
  2. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    APP, having been gutted by Gannett, no longer figures in this equation.
  3. Shark_Juumper

    Shark_Juumper Member

    A lot of South Side and south suburban Chicago transplants there. Many still take the Trib and/or the Sun-Times because they work in Chicago and identify more with Chicagoland than Hoosiers.
  4. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Northern Alabama is a pretty good market.
    Florence, Huntsville, Birmingham all have have good papers and the local paper sets the TV agenda. Even though I think that is true in almost all the markets across the country.
    Northern 'Bama isn't what people would call the suburbs though.
  5. EStreetJoe

    EStreetJoe Well-Known Member

    Although the Star Ledger is still one of the Top 20 papers in the country in terms of circulation it lost 20K in the last circulation report and they've had a few rounds of cutbacks. The Ledger is suffering from the same problem many other papers are -- losing big advertisers who are no longer using newspapers or stores going out of business.
  6. STLIrish

    STLIrish Active Member

    Yeah, but it's still one of the best local papers in the country, and covers New Jersey like it means it. Throw in Bergen, the Paterson paper, Asbury Park and what NJ coverage there is in the Times, and you could do a lot worse.

    Also, it's not really one market, but upstate New York is pretty good newspaper territory. There are still strong metro papers in Buffalo, Syracuse and Albany. Each is privately-held (Buffalo and Syracuse by relatively benign companies, even), each has regional reach and considerably more resources than the respective local TV, and all three do good work on a regular basis.
  7. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Somebody else will need to say, as I left several years ago, but Northern Virginia seems to be lively in terms of having a lot of newspapers of various flavors, from serious (The WashPost) to frivolous (The Examiner papers, I suppose) and several shades in between.
  8. Babs

    Babs Member

    I think Pittsburgh is a good market.
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    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  10. pressmurphy

    pressmurphy Member

    Two thoughts:

    (1) Conspicuous by its absence: Rochester is on that same stretch of I-90 and is a shell of its former self. Thanks, Gannett.

    (2) Buffalo, Syracuse and Albany papers operate without any significant print competition, which is a license to be lazy. Syracuse and Albany fit that description (but only to a limited extent), but Buffalo remains a quality pub. Good watchdog journalism, thick paper every day heavy on local copy rather than wires and above-average sports staff. I'd sign on there in a minute if offered, even if i couldn't negotiate for a share of Berhshire Hathway as my signing bonus.
  11. Monday Morning Sportswriter

    Monday Morning Sportswriter Well-Known Member

    I think if you stick a thumbtack in Lancaster, Pa., and circle everything within 30 miles, you get some pretty lively papers. The two Lancaster papers (same owners), Lebanon, Reading and Harrisburg. And you can probably stick Hanover and Gettysburg into that, too, although they're mush smaller.
  12. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    NYTRG, which has all but surrendered in the fight to keep newspapers relevant, is doing their level damnedest to ruin the Florence paper. Only a concerted effort by a few folks is preventing its complete ruin.
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