The Death of the Newspaper – Part 2

“He who does not rise with the sun cannot enjoy the day”

According to a recent study from the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, 33% of Americans said they would personally miss reading the local paper a lot if it was no longer available.  Said the other way, two-thirds of Americans would not necessarily care if the local paper folded.

Another alarming (to me, at least) statistic – only 27% of Gen Y is reading the newspaper.

Call me a dinosaur, but I don’t understand how our communities can function without newspapers.  I sit at my computer way too much for my job, so don’t ask me to use a computer as my primary source of local news.  Internet news reporting is never as thoughtful and deep as what you can find in the newspapers.

TV news?  No thanks – too many egos battling for ratings.    Two words that make me cringe when it comes to TV news: “I think.”  News is a world of facts and figures – I don’t care what the news personality (please, don’t call them anchors anymore) thinks.  If I want opinions I’ll read my Op-Ed page…or not.  And I don’t want a daily dose of info-tainment – remember, I presumably tuned in to get the news!  Report, don’t opine.

Detroit.  Denver.  Seattle.  San Francisco.  Major markets that could be newspaper-free before long.  Have fun finding the sports scores of the local teams, movie listings or the comics (yes, I read them daily!).  Restaurant reviews, student achievements, local interest stories – good luck finding them online.

If I’m missing something here, please tell me!  Who else sees this trend as disturbing as I do?

Until they pry my last newspaper from my cold, limp fingers, I will continue to rise with the sun and enjoy the news the way it was meant to be reported.

~ by chuckmattina on March 13, 2009.

3 Responses to “The Death of the Newspaper – Part 2”

  1. I must admit with 2 small kids, it’s difficult to enjoy the morning paper during the week, but there’s something to be said for acutally leafing through the weekend paper with coffee and a bowl of cereal.

  2. No doubt! As parents, we pass on many habits and traditions to our kids. My fear is that reading the newspaper every day is one habit or tradition that won’t be passed down. Our kids will have a completely different way of getting the news than we did – I don’t know if it will simply be different, better or worse. Again, my fear is that relying on TV news programs means that they are getting more opinion than fact, and that their reasoning abilities will get watered down.

  3. Chuck:
    Here’s another take on the death of newspapers – the expansion of news via internet and the opportunity to talk directly to you audience – whoever they may be. This news story was from Sean Kilcarr at FleetOwner magazine.

    Fancy cutting down all those beautiful trees to make pulp for those bloody newspapers … and calling it civilization.” –Winston S. Churchill

    Unless you live under a rock (and there are very few such dwellers in the world of trucking) you know the newspaper business – and, by extension, the profession of journalism – is undergoing some seriously painful change right now.

    Stalwart icons such as the Seattle Post Intelligencer are no longer printed – living in a much reduced state online – while the Chicago Tribune languishes in bankruptcy (and may yet expire there) due to heavy loads of debt. Indeed, you’d be forgiven for thinking these are but several of the death rattles emanating from the traditional news-gathering business. Some think the very foundations of democracy are being threatened by this collapse of traditional media titans.


    That’s the furthest thing from the truth, though – for in my humble opinion, what’s going on is an at times searing evolution of journalism and the information gathering and dispersing process it manages. No longer are there such sharply defined lines between “print” and “television” journalism, or even between print and photo journalists – we’re doing it all nowadays, from writing the stories, to taking the photographs plus shooting and editing video as well.

    That even applies to the audio world, too, where satellite radio and Internet podcasts – such as the new Trucking Business Insights program my fellow editor Tim Brady is putting together – are changing the pathways through which trucking companies large and small, as well as drivers and owner-operators, get the information they need to be a success in this tough industry.

    [Veteran newsman Evan Lockridge, host of “The Lockridge Report” on Sirius XM channel 147, talks about how these new mediums are creating closer connections between trucking journalists and the market we cover.]

    Is any of this a “bad” thing when it comes to providing you, the digester of trucking news? I surely don’t think so. I think it actually opens up more opportunities for us, as trucking reporters, to bring you more useful information while helping us formerly ink-stained wretches craft better stories across many more mediums than before.

    Indeed, while YouTube and the Internet can often times disseminate more than their fair share of rumors and outright inaccurate garbage, they are also demolishing barriers to news – providing channels outside the control of heretofore omnipotent news barons and government censors, giving everyone a chance to hear more sides of stories than before.

    Take Daniel Hannan, for instance – a member of the European Union’s Parliament that’s been taking copious notes on how “blogging” is changing the face of political discourse

    “The internet has changed politics – changed it utterly and forever,” he noted in a recent post on his own blog. “I made a three-minute speech in the European Parliament, aimed at Gordon Brown [Prime Minister of Great Britain]. I tipped off the BBC [British Broadcasting Company] and some of the newspaper correspondents but, unsurprisingly, they ignored me: I am, after all, simply a backbench MEP.”

    He did, however, disseminate his comments to the public via YouTube – and that changed everything. The next day, he found his phone clogged with texts, his email inbox stuffed with messages, with the YouTube clip of his remarks had attracted over 36,000 hits.

    “How did it happen, in the absence of any media coverage? The answer is that political reporters no longer get to decide what’s news,” Hannan said. “The days when a minister gave briefings to a dozen lobby correspondents, and thereby dictated the next day’s headlines, are over. Now, a thousand bloggers decide for themselves what is interesting. If enough of them are tickled then, bingo, you’re news. And jumbo thanks to all the American bloggers: you chaps are way ahead of us in this regard.”

    Hannan’s own example below of how a short video speech can lay out a new line of political debate – in this case, how the European Union’s financial arm is spraying money everywhere – illustrates the power the new media channels have today.

    “Breaking the press monopoly is one thing. But the internet has also broken the political monopoly,” Hannan said. “Ten or even five years ago, when the Minister for Widgets put out a press release, the mere fact of his position guaranteed a measure of coverage. Nowadays, a politician must compel attention by virtue of what he is saying, not his position. It’s all a bit unsettling for professional journalists and politicians. But it’s good news for libertarians of every stripe.”

    And good news for truckers, too, as hopefully this will provide wider access to more useful information in real-time than ever before.

    Digg Syndication Syndication Google Syndication MyYahoo Syndication Reddit Syndication

    Related Topics: Sean Kilcarr
    2 Comments to “The new media”

    Mike Pennington Says:

    April 3rd, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Dependable, accurate news coverage is vital to our industry. Long live the hard-working journalists, long live the newspapers and magazines (plant more trees), and celebration for the internet and speed of info — accessing and dispersing. Applause for print and broadcast journalists who discern news from fluff. Jury has not returned the ‘verdicts’ on newer social media as it applies to our working industry. Do keep us posted, please!

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