Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Are newspapers going the way of the dinosaur?

James Surowiecki has an interesting column about the decline of newspapers. He opens with:

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When the Tribune Company announced that it was filing for bankruptcy, last Monday, Sam Zell, the man who bought the company a year ago, for $8.2 billion, said that its problems were the result of a “perfect storm.” You take readers and advertisers who were already migrating away from print, and add a steep recession, and you’ve got serious trouble. What Zell failed to mention was that his acquisition of the company had buried it beneath such a heavy pile of debt that any storm at all would likely have sunk it. But although Zell was making excuses for his own mismanagement, the perfect storm is real enough, and it is threatening to destroy newspapers as we know them. Layoffs and buyouts have become routine. The Miami Herald and the San Diego Union-Tribune are reportedly on the selling block, while lawmakers in Connecticut are trying to keep two newspapers there afloat. Even the New York Times Company has slashed its dividend and announced that it would borrow against its headquarters to avoid cash-flow problems.
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I've noticed that the number of pages in our local paper has declined by about half. Or the number of pages with news has decline. (It seems the number of pages with ads is about the same.) I was surprised today to see the financial section folded in with the comics and local news.

The print media is hurting. It will be interesting to see the future of how news is processed and distributed. At least for now more and more people are turning to blogs.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)


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2 comments:

SmallWorld at Home said...

We were just talking about this yesterday, after again remarking on our incredible shrinking daily newspaper. As scrawny as it is, I would truly miss holding a local paper in my hands if it goes under!

Henry Cate said...

I would miss the comics. Though we also use it for the rabbit cage.

I get most of the news via the internet now.