3.17.2009

Another one gone...


I know that journalism is in a rough spot, but this is getting absurd.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer rolled of the press for the final time today. The paper, started in 1863, has stopped its print edition citing "a fatal economic spiral compounded by dwindling subscription rates, an exodus of advertisers and an explosion of online information."

The Hearst company, who owns the P-I, put the paper up for sale earlier in the year but said that if the paper didn't sell within 60 days they would shut it down.

The P-I is going to keep its website going and fill it with columnists and local news. But the paper as it's known and loved is gone. There still is a major daily in the city: the Seattle Times.

On top of this, the News and Observer recently announced that it was cutting another 11% of its workforce including 27 full-time jobs.

You'd figure that every newspaper in America is struggling right now. You'd be wrong. The little guys are getting by and, in some cases, even expanding.

Take the Carrboro Citizen, a small community newspaper (circulation ~5,000) in Carrboro that started printing in 2007. While all these other metro-dailies were struggling and cutting jobs, this little weekly announced it was expanding in January of this year.

Why are they thriving while everything else is dying? My community journalism class got a chance to visit the Citizen and Editor Kirk Ross had something to say about it. What it all comes down to, he said, were the huge companies (like Hearst and McClatchy, who owns the N&O) who bought all these other papers with the hopes that they could condense their operation and make more money off it.

Long story short, it didn't work. The huge companies are swimming in massive amounts of debt. And who pays? The newspapers. Ross said that Raleigh is a great newspaper market and the N&O is a money-making venture. But McClatchy is in debt so the local newspapermen take the hit.

That's why you see all these smaller papers getting along just fine. So when you see the news about newspapers crumbling and cutting back, don't think that the whole industry is dying. Oh no. The big metro dailies are struggling and looking to make a change, but all the small, hyper-local community journalists are doing just fine.

1 comment:

Salvation Holdout said...

When all the dust settles from these newspapers getting shuttered around the country, I think we're going to be fairly happy with the results. No more $100,000 ads in the NYT. Less Bill Kristols with a microphone. More localized talent. Varied media mediums. I'm down. In the meantime, it's cringeworthy, especially when the Frisco Chronicle is up for sale.