Goodbye Freedom

As everyone knows, newspapers are in decline. Fewer people than ever are buying the paper. In some markets, certain newspapers have closed their doors, while others have lightened their loads by trimming staff or changing from home delivery to mail. It is widely held that the reason for this is the widespread availability of news on the internet.

Buyer beware: the news you get from the internet is not necessarily the same as the news you get from a “real” news product. By that I mean, for example, who would you trust to cover a city council meeting; a local news reporter, or some dude with a Twitter account and an iPhone? And don’t even get me started about television “news” coverage.

Newspapers are known as the Fourth Estate for a reason: it is their purpose to be the watch dog and the guard dog of truth. Since they are disappearing, you might soon be on your own.

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4 Comments

  1. Truer words were never spoken. For the most part, TV “news” should be classified as “entertainment.” They’re only really useful for immediate coverage, when people across the world need to know *right now* what’s happening, and if they’re in danger.

    For actually getting the meat of the story, old-style newspapers did such a better job.

    But even the newspapers that are still “thriving” are getting kind of pathetic. My own former employer is one of those. I may have been part of its downturn; I’m not sure. But compare any current issue to any issue from, say, 15-20 years ago, and you’ll see what I mean.

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  2. My boss’s husband insists that newspapers will be saved by the grace of Kindle and other e-reader subscriptions. What do you guys think? Would a focus on subscription and online “rack” sales instead of advertising revenue be enough to keep papers afloat?

    The president said earlier this year that he would be open to a bailout of sorts to newspapers, granting them special tax-exemptions in exchange for the papers going non-profit. Personally I like this option, but I’m curious how a switch from private to non-profit would affect staff sizes.

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  3. I cannot imagine a world without newspapers. I too have heard that the Kindle may be the redemption of the newspaper but it is still not the same thing. I wish that some genious would come up with a clever marketing campaign to save the newspaper. I don’t think it’s the electronic age as much as it is that people don’t have time to read it anymore though. I once had the police come in my home to search because of newspapers piling up outside on my porch. I was very busy that week and didn’t pick them up. I came home and the cops were searching my home. I still wonder why they didn’t check with my neighbors, but I was livng in Lawton at the time.

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