Friday, May 18, 2012
The demise of the newspaper...
There are surely good reasons for this. We are too close to Nashville to support our own authentic newspaper. People don't read like they once did. The interest and 24 hour news cycle have made the printed newspaper obsolete. You know the ordinary reasons (I would say excuses) for the massive decline in newspapers and their circulation. I borrowed a comparison of circulation from 1992 to 2012.
Detroit Free Press 580,372 132,635
San Francisco Chronicle 556,765 165,523
Miami Herald 404,679 167,057
St. Louis Post Dispatch 339,545 169,608
Orange County Register 332,164 162,921
Boston Herald 330,614 103,616
Atlanta Constitution 302,616 163,607
Fort Worth Star-Telegram 256,199 136,624
Louisville Courier-Journal 236,103 136,766
Kansas City Star 287,119 163,697
New Orleans Times-Picayune 269,639 133,577
Baltimore Sun 227,706 136,708
Oklahoma City Oklahoman 210,004 116,350
I would offer a completely different reason for the decline in readership and circulation. Newspapers have shifted from reporting to commentary, from news to fluff about lifestyle, and concentrate more on advertising than on being a, well, newspaper. In particular, they have given up reporting on religion. Where we once had long and thoughtful stories on the political, business, lifestyle, and religious news of the day, now we have little tidbits that tell us nothing we did not already know, usually a few weeks late, and without much depth. Nowhere is this more true than in the reporting on religion. Most papers have given up reporting on religion. My own city newspaper doesn't even report on the big religious stories right here in town much less on any religious news from across the nation or the world.
I believe people have given up on newspapers not because they prefer cable news or the internet. I think the demise of the newspaper is because newspapers have given up on being newspapers. Predictably liberal in tone, concentrating more on ads than news, having cut back on reporters, circulating the stories written by others instead of reporting on their own local areas, and ignoring religion entirely, the public has judged the newspapers have offering nothing worth the cost. However, if they ever wanted to be a newspaper, I think there are enough folks like me who would love to begin the morning with a good cup of coffee and a good read.
GetReligion reports on one newspaper that seems to have found how to remain a newspaper and the public reads it just like it did in 1992. It is the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; 1992 circulation - 176,741 and 2012 - 175,27! Guess what -- it spends a good amount of paper and ink on religion and religious news. Real news. Go figure... You can read about it all here.....