April 30, 2013

Why papers dying matters to other news sources

Most Americans probably don't realize it, but most their local TV news is ripped from the headlines of the newspaper.

Proof? In this article on how half the LA Times staff may quit if the Koch Bros. buy the paper is this tidbit:
The LA Times largely decides what is LA news. The opening segment of LA's public radio programs, such as AirTalk and Which Way, LA, is generally a story on page one of the Times that day. All LA news outlets follow and cover at least some of what the Times reports.
So, if a newspaper dies, whether immediately or in the longer term, that affects TV and radio news.

And, no, bloggers can NOT fill all that void. Are they/you going to work for even more peanuts than today's journalists do on things like long investigative projects?

Yes, I recently ranted, primarily about cable TV news, but about "defending" the mainstream media in general. But, bloggers, Redditors, etc., aren't a replacement. Period. And a slimmer paper means less for bloggers to link to. Because, this one included, most of us are doing analysis, not reporting. Let's be honest.

Unfortunately, the alternative seems to be a return to pre-World War II, with civic magnates owning newspapers, but with just one or two left in even the biggest of our cities.

And, let's be honest, like Matt Ingram (wow, I actually like something he wrote) calls on newspapers to be honest. Newspapers have always fudged, inflated, or ginned up their circulation numbers. Counting an online subscriber who also has a hardcopy as two different subscribers (or three if they're also on mobile) only makes it worse. And, per Matt, no, it's not justified by past practices.

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