Newspaper shutdown rattles struggling industry
WASHINGTON — Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper recalls getting "a feeling in the pit of my stomach" when he learned that the Rocky Mountain News was shutting down.
"Even when they were uncovering corruption in the city, even when they were embarrassing us or causing us discomfort, they were making the city better," he says. "It's a huge loss."
Tom Fiedler, the Miami Herald's former executive editor, says that if that paper folds — McClatchy Newspapers is looking for a buyer — "nobody else will step in and do the occasionally extraordinary reporting that newspapers do. The difference that a good newspaper makes to the quality of life in any community is vital. It's like a healthy heart."
At a time when such companies as General Motors, Home Depot and Citigroup are ordering mass layoffs, the loss of 12,000 newspaper jobs last year may seem small. But the industry's woes — plunging advertising revenue, declining circulation and burgeoning high-tech competition — seem to be worsening by the week.