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Who's to blame for the death of newspapers?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by budcrew08, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    Didn't see this in a search, if it's a d_b, sorry.

  2. Dignan

    Dignan Guest

  3. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Enjoyed the read. The thing about a Louisville copy editor was interesting. But I think cable TV had as much to do with newspapers decline as anything. All of the sudden you could get a whole channel devoted to you interest, whether it was Entertainment, Sports, Politics and News (and later lefty news and righty), Weather, Cartoons, Home and Garden, and Business. Cable fractured the media consuming audience to smaller and smaller pieces.
  4. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    Who's to "blame" misses the point. There are a lot of little things that ended up adding into one big thing: the decline of newspapers. You could have a list a mile long of "culprits," or you could have one collective culprit. That would be the people who managed newspapers assuming they would always have a local monopoly and had a vested interest to fight for that monopoly instead of understanding the threat posed by the Internet.

    The only hope is to recast the question. Instead of casting about who is responsible for the death of newspapers, how about, what is the economic model that will allow journalism to thrive? I'm especially curious to hear the responses from those who, on other boards, are adamant that certain industries should just be allowed to fail for their, and the public's, own good.
  5. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Craigslist struck the strongest blow, taking away a major-major source of revenue. Then the buying and selling of companies led to soulless leadership. Now, stuff like Treos and iPhones make reading news so convenient that for many, there's no reason to stop at the newsstand.
  6. VJ

    VJ Member

    Blaming the design directors is hysterical. Bad design is like 1,000th on the list of reasons newspapers are fucked.
  7. I think in the Internet age, this gets forgotten about far more than it should. From a purely sports perspective, I remember ESPN becoming the behemoth it is today some time in the early-to-mid 1990s. I think you can directly correlate that to the time when newspaper circulation began dropping, along with attendance at high school sporting events. I imagine that the same can be done with the 24-hour cable news networks.

    I wonder if some sort of threshold was reached - like 2/3 penetration - at which time cable television began seriously putting a dent in newspaper readership.
  8. Overpricing of classified ads opened the door for something like Craigslist to come along and steal the market.
  9. WS

    WS Member

    greedy CEOs/board of directors and some (not all) publishers didn't help, either
  10. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    I'm getting damn sick of right-wingers using the "liberal media" meme as a reason for newspapers' struggles, like the first commenter did. Idiot.
  11. Peytons place

    Peytons place Member

    I don't know if it was TV news that really hurt newspapers so badly, or if it was that so many newspapers tried to be like the news, giving "tidbits" of information, but not really giving readers too much to read. Of course ad revenue is the big killer, but there is something to be said for giving people better and more information over prettier design.

    As for Inky's comment, I'm convinced (or hoping) that people who actually read the paper are smarter than people who are commenting on our stories on the Web, or no wonder we're in trouble. One online commenter on a story we ran about our own newpaper's financial situation suggested that if we were 100% less liberal, we might not be in this mess. Unbelievable.
  12. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Active Member

    In descending order:

    1. Private owners selling to corporate media companies. Private owners were more sensitive to the specific needs of their local readers and pretty much content making 8-15% net profit. Corporate media companies swoop in with one-size-fits-all mentality for all its properties, destroying the "souls" of their products while chasing ridiculous profit margins so they can pay off debt service and cater to stockholders.

    2. Internet in general.

    3. Craigslist---but just over the last 3 years or so.

    4. Anything in society that contributes to instant gratification, starting with handheld devices of all sorts.

    5. USA Today (good for them, bad for all the metros nationwide).
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