Speaking of Journalism

As newspapers across the country continue their slide into mediocrity, each one wondering when the industry will at long last bottom out, the debate on the future of journalism rages on. Here in Springfield, MA, the death watch for the city’s only daily newspaper, the Republican, continues unabated as many people here are now taking bets on the number of years the newspaper has left in it – and none of those bets are beyond ten years.

Daily newspapers are quickly becoming irrelevant as their online counterparts are able to put up the news quicker than them and slicker than them. Indeed, many people who pick up the daily newspaper have already read the front page news online – oftentimes as far back as the evening before. So what’s the point? Instead of cutting back on local reporting staff, the dailies should be axing the national, AP-fed, headlines.

The latest episode of John Dvorak’s “Cranky Geeks” video show [click here to watch it - 30mins.] talks about journalism, blogging, and the financial dilemma many news outlets currently face. As Dvorak – himself a writer for PC Magazine – points out, the answer many struggling newspapers have turned to – firing staff and reducing content – is not going to save them.

If anything, it will probably only accelerate the death dive.

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One Response to Speaking of Journalism

  1. The one thing that could save them is changing their emphasis to local news. There are so many issues that could be covered that would inform, educate and enlighten people and make us more of a community.

    I realize that national feeds are relatively cheap, require no reporters (no labor costs), but are largely irrelevent. We can get national news from so many sources on the web.

    Personally, I read the Boston Globe for Massachusetts news, the Times, Washington Post and Huffington Post online , to name a few, for national news and commentary and then the many blogs that are available.

    I read The Republican for its local news which is useful but there needs to be more of it and where are the local columns? A change of emphasis would bring in more readers and then maybe more advertising dollars which could keep the business going.

    They have tried to make MassLive a profit center. Personally, I find it akin to CB radio. Seemed like it would be useful but has been taken over largely by people who prefer to remain unknown and do not enlighten but use the forums largely to tear others down. So that business model may not save them.

    Jeremy Cole
    July 16, 2008 at 9:52 am