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Newspapers Have Lost Their Faith

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by PeteyPirate, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    This guy just won the Pulitzer for his economic commentaries. I don't know if I agree with his underlying premise that newspapers don't give the readers enough credit.

  2. Twoback

    Twoback Active Member

    Newspapers generally never had faith in their readers.
    How can you lose what you didn't have?
  3. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    I pay attention to Pearlstein. He once did a steroids-in-baseball column that was by far the best I read. He won the Pulitzer for columns warning, a year out, of the mortgage lending implosion. What he says in this column is that someone very bright, very brave, and very rich will soon create a Home Depot/Barnes & Noble/Starbucks of newspapers. Imagine his own paper, The Washington Post, buying every mid-size paper within 150 miles of D.C. I can see a masthead:
    The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
    A Washington Post Company News Organization

    And, yes, newspapers long have underestimated readers and giving them less is suicide by a thousand cuts.
  4. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    A lot of people place stock in what Pearlstein says, and I say that literally. When he won the Pulitzer, a couple of the online commenters mentioned that they followed his investment advice to hedge against the impending crisis and didn't get killed in the market.
  5. This graph was a bit surprising:

    Today there are 1,437 daily newspapers in the United States, of which all but 400 have circulations of under 25,000. At that size, it is unlikely they can ever be very efficient or, for that matter, very good.

    I don't know that I have faith in those numbers.

    I like what he said about diminishing the quality of newspapers ..
  6. STLIrish

    STLIrish Active Member

    Which of the numbers do you not "have faith in?"

    I think his broader point - that there's a market for a useful guide to understanding the world and we can be it, but right now we're moving in the wrong direction - is right on.
  7. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I agree with a lot of points made in the article. The Internet has put the world at our fingertips, and trying to compete with that with "local-local" coverage seems quaint at best. I wouldn't mind the Local focus if it was uncovering a lot of dirt and really shaking things up, but I find most papers using the philosophy to justify coverage of business openings (but never closings) and focusing on the fluff instead of issue related coverage.
  8. Nearly two-thirds of the country's newspapers are smaller than 25,000 circ. Really?

    Live and learn I guess.
  9. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I think if you include weeklies and twice-weeklies which serve a lot of smaller communities the numbers make sense.
    And its not just newspapers that are dumbing down their coverage TWO Portland stations led their newscasts tonight in Portland with two black labs getting mixed up and sent home to different owners from a local kennel, including hints at possible legal action. I see stories like that and I get the impression nothing is really going on in the world.
  10. NightOwl

    NightOwl Guest

    Don't know if newspapers have lost their faith.

    Definitely know that newspapers have lost their way.

    I love good design, but decisions on content -- and what it takes to provide great content -- seem to be not the major thrust anymore.

    Unless Britney Spears farts or something. Then we have three meetings and a makeover for the front page.
  11. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    In the three years I was at my last paper, I can count on one hand how many discussions we had about "providing great content," or something to the effect of improving the quality of the paper.

    We had to work too hard just to tread water.
  12. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Which brings on a good point about staff cutbacks dictating coverage that can be "locked in" for the 3 p.m. budget meeting or at least before the eds head home at 6 or 7 p.m.
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