Flutterby™! : more on dying papers

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more on dying papers

2009-03-18 15:20:07.319261+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

The discussion in Frank Simpson's notes about the Dutra asphalt plant proposed for just south of Petaluma has taken an interesting turn, and this morning Frank linked to Leonard Pitts Jr: As newspapers die, expect no mourning from the crooks. I'm also currently listening to the podcast of Monday's Talk of the Nation which is addressing the death of the Rocky Mountain News, albeit without a whole lot of insight. One interesting note was an email from Bruce in Tucson who described his relationship with the Arizona Daily Star, which offers the online version for free. He ditched the paper version to keep down the clutter. He pays $4/month for the PDF version, but he reads the online HTML version because it's more convenient for him.

Back in the early '90s, Mike Harrison and I sat in the office of some exec at either the Chattanooga Times or the Chattanooga News-Free Press. It may not matter which one it was, they were on the inexorable slide towards becoming one paper. We laid out a vision of the future that was remarkably prescient. The poor guy did what newspaper guys are doing today: He said that he didn't see the business model, and we should come back with a revenue generating proposal. Frankly, we didn't see how to figure out how he could make money either, so we went off and built what we knew how to build.

But I think there are two things here: First, in that period when news has been tanking, we've been hearing more and more about how the real money is in the pictures of crying widows and celebrity news. Maybe that crap is finally catching up with the newspaper guys. Or maybe, because they're largely advertiser funded, newspapers have been out chasing that audience because advertisers like stupid people who'll buy crap, and now they're coming whining to the rest of us when we put up our hands and step back.

At any rate, the second issue is the one raised by Bruce in Tucson: We'll pay for news. Gladly! (Yeah, $4/month isn't lots, but it's a start) But we need news, not just crap that drags in eyeballs for advertisers, and we need it in a convenient package. It's not like the hints aren't here...

[ related topics: Consumerism and advertising Journalism and Media Chattanooga Pop Culture ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-03-18 15:32:56.426882+00 by: Dan Lyke

And in the comments to Frank's piece I noted that classifieds have been replaced by Craigslist, the events calendar has been replaced by other local devices, but I didn't note that the comics in the newspaper are way obsolete. PVP introduces an "I'm killing newspapers by reading web comics" T-shirt.

I mean, unless you're still into Garfield.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-03-18 16:46:52.729499+00 by: stevesh

Everybody in the newspaper circulation business knows that sports sells papers. It may be (we can hope, anyway) that our global obsession with sports is on the wane.

I stopped buying the Detroit Free Press when they stopped carrying the comic strip Frazz. Shame, since they do carry Leonard Pitts' column, which is one of my favorites.