Saturday, February 28, 2009

Talk about good night and good luck! What a week

Howard Kurtz, a Washington Post columnist who covers media, writes a good column today about the shell-shock many readers, journalists (and students) are feeling. Here's an excerpt, with the rest of the column here.

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.


  1. I keep hearing about these newspapers folding, no pun intended, and it makes me wonder what more they could have done to adapt to changes in the market to become competitive enterprises? It seems to me that when our society experienced a technological boom, a la the internet, that spelled the death of the printed news. There has to be one creative marketing person who could think of something truly inventive to keep these papers afloat. Or was the death of print inevitable given the technological gap and subsequent economic collapse?

  2. Each and every time I hear that a huge newspaper is going under, I realize even more what a mess our economy is in right now. It scares me to think some college kid, years down the road, could be interviewing me one day to ask me how I survived this down fall and what it was like to live through this time! I don't know if you can blame the failing of newspapers on the rise of the internet, the bad economic situation of so many citizens, or both. Either way I am saddened by this news!

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  4. I think that American journalists should do an experiment. We (student and professional journalists) of big and small newspapers should all just take a couple of weeks off, what the heck, broadcasters too. I want to see what happens. Maybe this would be our equivalent of a public service announcement, eh? This could really educate people about how the press/broadcast system works in their life. Apparently not very many people get it yet. I don't think the press is just some business that can fold like Home Depot, or something. The press is the 4th Estate, people. But I really would like to see what happens. Perhaps this is a sick and twisted thought. Maybe I would be pleased with the results, or maybe I would move to France. Who knows? I predict that mass chaos would ensue. But hey, we are moving in this direction anyway with all the papers folding (nice one Katie). Maybe my role as a journalist is less important than I thought, or other people think. I don't know. I love the newspaper no matter what.