Is your town or city losing its daily newspaper?

Discussion in 'Books' started by Auriaprottu, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Auriaprottu

    Auriaprottu Member+

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    Didn't know where to post this, but as a possible discussion about how the cybermedia is taking over from printed media, it probably belongs here more than anywhere else.

    My local fishwrap (The Huntsville Times) has cut its publication days to Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, citing costs and dwindling subscriptions. The Birmingham News has done the same, but different days (not sure which, but with the importance of college football, I'm sure they still print a Sunday edition), so there isn't a reasonably reputable paper being printed in my state every day anymore. Now, Huntsville's not a big city, but the metro area has almost 400K- you'd think that'd be enough subscribers to merit daily editions, but apparently it isn't.

    Anything like this happening near you, and how do you feel about it? I'm accustomed to eating my meals with a paper spread out on the table. Will I starve?
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  2. bungadiri

    bungadiri Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The Ann Arbor News is dead and gone. It's been replaced by
    http://www.annarbor.com/, which is a semi professional site that positioned itself as the direct successor to the Ann Arbor News. No real reporting, in the classic sense of the word. Plus the comments are infested with people with ridiculous agendas.

    But there's also the Ann Arbor Chronicle, which is run (I think) by former AA News reporters: http://annarborchronicle.com/ This is a thoughtful, much higher quality site, but it's understaffed, has a narrow scope, and gets updated too seldom.

    Frankly, there's still a hole in my daily routine and the town is vastly less well served by the combination of these two things than it was by a real newspaper. Is a good newspaper essential to the sense of community for a town like mine? I'd say so.
  3. Auriaprottu

    Auriaprottu Member+

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    I understand. The site that passes for news now is called www.al.com and it's shamefully hickish. The printed paper was actually pretty decent, which leads me to think that they're now just pandering to the LCD.
  4. Val1

    Val1 Member+

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    I get my sports on-line, but for news and comics, nothing beats a printed paper. I get the Washington Post and it is sad seeing it die a slow death as well, though I think it will always exist, in some form, in a printed version.

    And as bungadiri said, getting the news without the comments is also a plus.


  5. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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    Before we moved, we would've loved for our hometown paper to fold: It's owned by Richard Mellon Scaife. But we used to read the dead tree version of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which still exists. We subscribe to the on-line edition of the Scranton Times Tribune, though I read the paper versionat the coffeeshop 5-6 mornings each week. One advantage to living in a place with an older than average populace is that the morning paper habit is more strongly ingrained.

    A few years ago, the Post Gazette broke news of a major scandal. They got sued. They won. Had they been a blogger or a semi-pro operation, they proabably would've retracted the story or went broke before winning the case (or more likely, not had anyone with the skills to research, support, and break the story in the first place). There's something to be said for these long established institutions: they can do things the "new media" just yet, can't do.

    And the absence of comments is an immense plus.
  6. CrewArsenal

    CrewArsenal Member

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    I still miss the Columbus Citizen-Journal in the mornings.
  7. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I have three daily options. Locally, the Moscow-Pullman Daily News focuses on the two towns and the surrounding communities, while the same publisher has the Lewiston Morning Tribune based about 30 miles south but with offices up here too (shared usually with the Daily News). I also subscribed to the Spokane-based Spokesman Review for many years until they closed their Palouse bureau and focused more on the metro area.

    I guess the MPDN isn't really daily, since they have historically not published on Sundays. Close enough though, and holding steady to longer trends/traditions rather than losing Sunday due to more recent shifts.
  8. spot

    spot Member+

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    We lost the Rocky Mountain News and are down to the Denver Post. I stopped taking the paper years ago, and when I do pick one up I'm amazed at how much it has shrunk. The whole Post is now barely long enough for a morning's sit-down. The Post's as insubstantial as a ghost having just enough presence to remind me that this used to be a big operation.

    On the plus side, some of the small neighborhood papers actually pick up some of the slack, with local in-depth investigative coverage.
    Ismitje repped this.
  9. CrewArsenal

    CrewArsenal Member

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    Many people have said their morning doesn't begin until they get their first cuppa. I have never been a coffee drinker, but if my morning paper isn't here when I am ready to read it at breakfast, it starts my day off on the wrong foot.

    I could just as easily spend less reading the electronic edition after dropping the print version, something I may likely do, but for now I will content myself while awaiting the soon-to-be modernized (smaller, easier-to-handle-pages) version, due out in early '13.

    Of course, it was also due out in early September, but they claim production issues caused too may problems, so they want to get all the bugs out first.
  10. guignol

    guignol Moderator Staff Member

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    the examiner we subscribed to in SF went bellyup, then reemerged as a free paper, and still exists. the chronicle is still going fairly strong i think.

    my real hometown paper was the salinas californian, which became a gannett paper in the 70's, and though in a way it lost some of its soul, that probably is why it still exists as a real daily, and i think a pretty good one. and there's another paper in the area, the monterey herald, which is also doing OK i think. the area is big enough and far enough away from either CA metropolis that a local paper fills a real need, so so far so good.
  11. guignol

    guignol Moderator Staff Member

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    here in france the situation is much different. the important canards have always been national (meaning parisian) : le figaro, le monde and libération are the biggest circulations and can be distiguished by their editorial slant; these three are listed from right to left so to speak. all of these have had their financial wobbles but none seem close to disappearing.

    two others still in daily print are la croix (catholic) and l'humanité (l'huma for short, the organ of the communist party, once a major player but now consigned to the same bit part as the PCF). these have smaller circulations but will always be propped up no matter how artificially because of their importance as a standard bearer for their patrons.

    this brings up what has been the norm for french papers since forever : the identities are not geographical but political : royalist, loyalist, bonapartist, republican, socialist... and many more ists.

    there are also national papers which specialize in a special subject : l'équipe for example is the sports daily; whether it's cause or effect the other papers have very limited sports coverage so l'équipe is very robust. les echos is a french WSJ, but the old, old style WSJ, which dabbled much less in politics. (the name of their game? it's the economy stupid!) another very robust daily is paris turf, the french daily racing form, and playing the ponies is much more widespread here than in the states. having their own turf (see what i did there) makes all these papers stronger than borderline viable.

    so very few places actually have their "local" paper. roughly speaking each big city has one, and these try to expand distribution, sometimes with local inserts, to the border of the next "regional" but outside their home city (and even within) they generally sell less well than the nationals. the most successful are lyon's le progres, lille's la voix du nord, and ouest-france: a conglomerate of smaller editions that benefit from the general apathy the more urbane part of the hexagon has for anything west of the line stretching from le havre to marseille... and vice-versa.

    to make a very long post short, the situation of print dailies in france is rather good. why?... is a good question; here is my perhaps not so good answer : the still fairly widespread habit of the neighborhood café. on the way to or from work, people stop off for their coffee (or something stronger) at the local comptoir, and since they don't have internet there, they buy a paper to read while they drink... and to talk about with other habitués while doing both.

    so the computer hasn't killed either the zinc or the canard yet... but the 4G cellphone just may.
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  12. CrewArsenal

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    Probably not much call for a bonapartist paper these days, I am thinking.

    Interesting info on the French papers, by the way. Thanks.
  13. spot

    spot Member+

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    Out of curiosity how do they fund themselves?

    I'm sure it's open to debate, but the big killer of our local daily (and I imagine many others) was the near total loss of revenue from classified ads. Craigslist has probably killed more papers than online news sources. Online news makes a difference, but the combination is a killer.
  14. guignol

    guignol Moderator Staff Member

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    you might be surprised!

    besides those who are propped up from the outside as i mentioned, from advertisement and sales, just like always. but for both of these there are significant differences from what is (was) normal in the states.

    for advertising, classifieds aren't a big thing for the regionals and are completely absent from the major nationals... after all, if you're in strasbourg, used cars or furniture for sale in bordeaux are of no interest to you. the same as for sports you buy l'équipe, for classifieds you picked up the free want-ad paper in the supermarket. those exist in the states too, but here they were much more substantial. and i say were because online classifieds killed these off only slightly less quickly than the enola gay destroyed hiroshima.

    for sales, subscription, although it was almost the only way to get a paper in the 19th century, barely exists these days in france. sales are almost all newstand, and unit price has always been significantly higher than the almost nominal cost once practiced in the states
  15. JG

    JG Member+

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  16. Minnman

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  17. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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    Is there a noticeable difference in terms of the quality of the two weeklies? Or content?

    We actually have two weeklies available in Scranton, one owned by the Scranton paper (which is actually pretty good) and the other by the Wilkes Barre paper (which I've never seen). I can't tell the weeklies apart.
  18. Minnman

    Minnman Member+

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    The Other Paper is more news oriented, while Alive is more about the local arts scene. To be honest, I was never very impressed with The Other Paper. Before moving to Columbus, I lived in Durham for eight years, and always enjoyed the local free weekly in the Triangle, Indy Week. Excellent paper.
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  19. Dyvel

    Dyvel Member+

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    If the NY Times ever goes under my Sunday mornings might as well not exist.
  20. Val1

    Val1 Member+

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    Not a newspaper, but Jet magazine is shutting down it's print version and going on-line only.

    images.jpg

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/enter...9df7e6-d60a-11e3-95d3-3bcd77cd4e11_story.html

    I haven't read Jet in years, but I will miss this magazine. My college history thesis was on Bob Moses and the civil rights movement and there was absolutely no better source material for this period of time. Of course, Jet is perhaps most famous for publishing the photos of the Emmett Till funeral which was pretty darn courageous.
  21. El Chuma

    El Chuma BigSoccer Supporter

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    I hope so
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  22. Auriaprottu

    Auriaprottu Member+

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    I stopped reading Jet long ago because they pretty much went tabloid/entertainment in order to sell more copy. I completely understand that they (and Ebony) were intended to fill a media void and cover the lives and whatnot of Black people, but that isn't really something I care about. I would have been much happier to see them become/remain a mag focused on social commentary on the topics that would have affected Black folks the most at the given time.

    They'll always get credit from me for the Till photos.
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