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Main > Archives > 2008 > July > Faltering newspapers forced to re-define their roles in media

Monday, July 21, 2008

Faltering newspapers forced to re-define their roles in media

As a former member of the print  media, I've suffered through the depressing phase that many journalists have endured during the past five years.

Today's report in the New York Times comes as no surprise to anyone who has followed the downward trend. While Newspapers have become less relevant to our daily lives, the industry continues to collapse at a free-fall speed. Payrolls have been slashed in newsrooms across America, from  the Los Angeles Times to  the Palm Beach Post. As as a result, publishers and editors have changed their overall philosophy and devoted their focus to increased coverage of local news and events.

The reason for the shift is pretty obvious (except to newspaper editors)- news junkies and regular daily readers can track all of major national and international stories online via yahoo,drudge report and online news sites such as To offer stories that can't be found anywhere else, the print media has been forced to redefine its role and dig for dirt in the local markets

Any publisher with respectable foresight should have seen this trend as early as 10 years ago, but their stubborn ways have finally caught up with them. Unfortunately, the local angle hasn't stopped the bleeding, because community papers, including my former employer, have also felt the squeeze. I survived two layoffs and jumped the sinking ship before it hit rock bottom, and it dedicated every page to local news.

If newspapers are to survive over the next decade,publishers will have to adjust on the fly, because they can't afford to continue the same methods they learned in journalism school over 20 years ago. Personally, I think they need to dig deeper for the detailed content readers can't discover in a 10-second scan through the daily headlines. Otherwise, today's readers have no reason to return to the old fishwrap.




By Matt O'Hern at 08:14 AM | Comments (0)

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