Posted by: christinelsmith | July 31, 2009

Goodbye to the Age of Newspapers


Goodbye to the Age of Newspapers was a good article. Before reading the article, my knowledge about the decrease of old media and the increase of new media was limited. I knew that there was a substantial decrease in the number of people purchasing and subscribing to newspapers. However, I didn’t realize how much newspapers were forced to cut back as a result. The author is correct when he says that we take newspapers for granted. Newspapers have been a part of our daily lives for so long that we’ve failed to realize how important they are to us as individuals and as citizens. They are important to the business world, the cultural world, and the political world. They have informed us about the world we live in and they have made sure that the information we receive is accurate and reliable. Newspapers have acted as watchdogs. They have fact checked and they have questioned the actions of government and government officials. Newspapers have remained in production because they were able to generate revenue through low prices and high sales. They had the purchasers and the subscribers. Now they don’t.

According to the article, many major newspapers have been forced to cut back in a number of areas. The Los Angeles Times has reduced its newsroom by 50 percent. The Los Angeles Times parent company, The Tribune, recently went bankrupt. The McClatchy Chain, which owns and produces 30 newspapers, has been forced to cut back as well. They have laid off 25 percent of their workers in the past year with many more layoffs expected in the near future. These newspapers have cut back on their editorial sections substantially as well. According to Paul Starr, they are currently “cutting close to the bone”. The largest daily newspaper in New Jersey, The Star Ledger, is a good example. Approximately 45 percent of the editorial writers received buyouts when the owner, Advanced Publications, threatened to sell the newspaper if its goals for cuts were not met. Advertising sales are down 25 percent from previous years. Advertising sales are expected to decrease another 27 percent this year and 7.5 percent next year. This is unbelievable. Even extremely successful and extremely renowned newspapers like The New York Times are not expected to survive. This is truly a tragedy.

The newspapers themselves and the American public are to blame. However, I don’t think people realized how much the newspaper industry was struggling. I don’t think that people realized that without purchasing or subscribing to newspapers, they wouldn’t survive. People thought of their purchase or their subscription as small and meaningless. But, in the end, it all adds up. I also think that people would rather access the internet for their news. People think the Internet is easier, quicker, and more convenient. People can choose their content. It is constantly available. It is constantly updated. It is free. The author points out that the Internet is unreliable for a number of reasons, including the fact that it doesn’t have a lot of journalism or reporting. In my opinion, unfortunately, people don’t care. People are interested in and fascinated by soft news. News from the Internet possesses a substantial amount of human interest and sensationalist stories, which people seem to love. It’s successful. Now, I’m wondering if it’s too late to save newspapers and old media. Many newspapers have substantially cut back and many newspapers have already disappeared completely. In my opinion, the estimate of newspapers being out of existence by 2034 is troublesome and worrisome for the future of the United States of America.


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