December 17, 2008

Paying attention to local newspapers

There's a fine piece on the Yahoo message board by "myradon" about the Journal Register Co., which is normally confined to ranting about the evils of the company.

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1 comment:

Bob Jelenic said...

Regular people are to blame for the decline of newspapers? While that forum post was well written and well thought out, it is based on a very foolish premise. Why should people donate the cost of home delivery for something they don't want, at least not in the form that newspapers previously provided it?

I really am disturbed that you agree with that author's point.

Don't blame regular people. Blame the newspapers' ownership or operators. The internet took the industry by surprise and there was no wise plan in place to combat the rapidly changing world. Do you really expect people to pay for a bulky, messy, smelly, environmentally-unfriendly, outdated product when they can get the information they want for free, anytime, anywhere? You're living in the past, if you do.

No one forced newspapers to give their news away for free. They eventually did it because they didn't know what else to do. I don't know what the best solution would have been for newspapers, or if there even was a best solution at all. Sometimes the world evolves and changes, and things that were beloved and important in the past either change or completely go away.

Consider the past and present of the following industries or careers, just as examples: blacksmiths, cobblers, ferry boats, telegram, radio, stagecoach, town criers, etc. At their heyday, these were incredibly vital parts of society and it would have been unimaginable to think of life without them or with them in different capacities. Yet, that's the case and life goes on and improves.

I support your passion to fight. But you are fighting to keep alive horse-drawn wagons instead of leading the charge in the movement toward fast cars and spacecrafts. Like it or not, newspapers as we knew them are going away. It is not just happening in the little community of Bristol. This is going on everywhere.

Use your passion to help steer the news industry to its new state. The people have spoken, in action and lack of action, and they don't want the daily newspaper anymore. They still do want the news, though, a point also made by the author of that forum post. People want and need the type of information that reporters provide.

Forget the horse-drawn wagon. Think fast cars and spacecrafts. People still need transportation (or news, in this case) but they want it to be in a modern way. I suggest, again, focusing on ways to keep alive the spirit of newspapers and reporters by exploring ways to keep them viable.