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The death of newspapers

We’ve all known it was coming.
After the explosion of the internet in the late 1990s you had to be deluding yourself that newspapers as we’ve known them for the last 300 years would continue as they have. The newsroom that added positions was very rare and not rare was the elimination of newsroom jobs.
Newspapers have had incredible profit margins. Much, MUCH higher than other types of businesses and the people that own and run these companies have been too slow to recognize they need to change how they do things. As a veteran of the newsroom and the new media areas of the newspaper for nearly 20 years of my life I feel I have a good understanding of what has been and not been happening in the newspapers of the country.
The people that ultimately make the financial decisions have yet to understand how to monetize information gathering. Content. They say all the right things, they say they understand the maxim that content is king, but they continue to cut the newsrooms to the nub.
The news companies that claim success in profits are the also the ones with the weakest content. They pay reporters and editors next to nothing, so that anyone with talent moves on so fast that they have no experienced talent left. There is never time for in-depth journalism and the best never stay journalists because they can’t afford to live as journalists. It doesn’t pay enough. How many writers do you know over the age of 40 with the exception of the 8 or 10 largest papers in the country? And even here the numbers of old-timers is dribbling down to zero, because they have the highest salary and are the first to be forced into retirement and early buyouts.
I got started on this rant because of 2 stories on a great website about Los Angeles area newspapers. I worked for many years for one of the companies here. MediaNews Group which owns the Daily News, including a few years working in the new media area of the DN.
The 2 stories:
Daily News rumors: ‘catastrophic’ cuts
Times buyout offers come with a stick
These 2 stories to me scream out loud that the end is near for quality newspaper journalism. And that is very sad. Newspaper have been the best and loudest voice for democracy in America.

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