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Print News Fading, Still Source of Much News 140

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the fact-checking-the-next-media-casualty dept.
CNet's Dan Farber took a look, not only at the popular news of how print media is dying a slow death, but also what contribution to the news print journalists are still making. According to research quoted, while the physical publications are quickly becoming a thing of the past much of the news that makes its way into circulation via blogs and other means still originates from the hard work of those print journalists. (We discussed a similar perspective on the news a week back.) "While the Internet is growing as the place where people go for news, the revenue simply isn't catching up fast enough. The less obvious part of the Internet overtaking newspapers as the main source for national and international news is that much of the seed content--the original reporting that breaks national and international news and is subsequently refactored by legions of bloggers--comes from the reporters and editors working at the financially strapped newspapers and national and local television outlets. [...] As the financial pressures mount--the outlook for 2009 is dismal--and the cost cutting continues, we can only hope that the original news reporting by top-flight journalists is not a major casualty."
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Print News Fading, Still Source of Much News

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  • Frist Post! (Score:3, Funny)

    by h4x354x0r (1367733) on Friday December 26, 2008 @11:24AM (#26234929)
    You know it's very important to be the frist one to break the news.
    • Am I missing something here. I subscribe to the newspaper so I can access the archives on their website I put the actual paper in the recycling on my way out the door every morning.
      This gives them the same revenue from me they would be getting if I actually read the paper. If they embrace this business model for techies and sell the dead trees to everyone else(there are still people not on the internet) they will be fine.
      I also get some other extras for subscribing vs. free registration like the actual
      • by roguetrick (1147853) <kazer@brIIIigands.org minus threevowels> on Friday December 26, 2008 @12:24PM (#26235259) Homepage Journal

        Actually you are missing something. Classifieds and ads constituted of the majority of newspaper revenue, not subscriptions.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Shakrai (717556)

          Actually you are missing something. Classifieds and ads constituted of the majority of newspaper revenue, not subscriptions.

          So why don't they borrow a page from RIAA's playbook and sue Craigslist?

          • Unless they ignore the problem to long. Then they have the financial backing to out do craigslist. After all they have been publishing classifieds a lot longer. If they can adapt to the new media or medium that people are migrating to. I just hope they don't borrow a page from RIAA's playbook and use those resources to attack their customers for going to other sources for their news. However they seem more sensitive to what that would do.

            Circulation continues to fall at about 2.5% year-to-year for dailies and 3.3% for Sunday editions.1 The total reach of newspaper organizations including their online and niche products is growing, but this does not translate readily into sustaining advertising revenue...
            What is true all over is that margins have begun to decline quickly and that high fixed costs from the era of print dominance are not sustainable. That puts some papers facing the possibility of going into the red, and sales of extraneous business units or buildings and land have become commonplace.

            Newspapers in 2008 [stateofthenewsmedia.org]

          • The RIAA has a legal leg to stand on in its lawsuits, in that P2P networks are distributing works that are legally owned by the MAFIAA. Independant websites that solicit classifieds and ads are anologous to independant music labels that compete legally with the RIAA labels. Just like the independant labels sign artists and distribute their music via different channels, so do Craigslist and Monster solicit ads and distribute them through different channels. Nothing illegal about that.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by I_Voter (987579)
          roguetrick wrote:
          Classifieds and ads constituted of the majority of newspaper revenue, not subscriptions.
          -------
          I have heard the same thing. If you still get your newspapers out of a newsbox, that money just pays for the delivery to the box. The distributors get the papers for free, or close to it. I guess they also have bonding and or liability insurance requirements. Also somebody has to pay for the boxes, but, in my experience the boxes are often branded.

          I would guess that the Corporate adverti
        • by mrvan (973822) on Friday December 26, 2008 @05:28PM (#26236771)

          The editor in chief of one of the large Dutch newspapers (de Volkskrant) told me recently that this is actually shifting: as the demographics are changing (ie newspaper readers are becoming older) they are less interesting for advertisers and more able/willing to pay subscription fees. The ratio is now >50% subscription fees.

          This is a quality newspaper, I can imagine that more popular/tabloid newspapers are more dependent on advertising, and the new free dailies obviously are, but I was surprised by the fact that it isn't the case for paid-for quality newspapers in the Netherlands.

          Notwithstanding, the problem of free news sources freeriding on the work of the paid-for sources will have to be solved one way or another, as I have little doubt that print newspapers will only decline the coming decades and (exceptions excepted) blogs will not become professional investigative journalists overnight.

          Since our democracy depends on independent, critical, and well-researched news, this is an important question for the coming time.

      • Of course subscription = revenue. BUT revenue does NOT mean Cover All Operating Costs.

        I used to work for a software vendor writing and implementing enterprise circulation systems for medium and large newspapers. For the greatest majority of all print media (and I would be surprised if there were more than a handful of exceptions) MOST revenue is derived from advertising. (How much did it cost to buy that one full page Firefox ad in the New York Times a few years ago?) In all cases, the cost of a subscripti

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps they need to change their toner cartridge if their news is fading.

    *rimshot*

  • by bacon volcano (1260566) on Friday December 26, 2008 @11:28AM (#26234945)
    People don't like to get newspaper ink on their hands. The internet has just been a very elaborate solution to that problem.
    • Re:It's simple... (Score:4, Informative)

      by hierofalcon (1233282) on Friday December 26, 2008 @11:59AM (#26235137)
      I work on computer systems for many hours a day. Giving my fingers, wrists, and eyes a break for just the cost of some newspaper ink is a good deal. The local and national newspapers I read solved the ink issue long ago.
      • by linzeal (197905)
        I just use an ebook reader [amazon.com] to read the most current stories on about 100 different rss feeds I have. A little htmltopdf [htmltopdf.org] and I got more news than I have ever been able to read in a 2 hour daily commute. What is this news "paper" you speak of?
    • by skeeto (1138903)

      People don't like to get newspaper ink on their hands. The internet has just been a very elaborate solution to that problem.

      Yeah, but I hear that the Internet causes worse things to get on people's hands.

  • What a sad world (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phorest (877315) on Friday December 26, 2008 @11:31AM (#26234957) Journal

    The quick and the easy = AP, Reuters
    The long and difficult = Local Reportage

    When the metro newspapers finally figure out that a lot of folks actually like non-national stories again, they may be able to save themselves. Uniqueness and specialization are the drivers of everything online. Just running AP feeds will NOT bring in quality revenue.

    • Some newspapers are now outsourcing local (glocal) reporting to India. They set up a webcam at city council meetings, etc., and someone writes up the story dirt cheap.

      • by phorest (877315)

        Which actually may be a good thing. That Indian webcam parrot isn't gonna have to explain himself in the hallways, or over drinks at the local watering hole, thus can be legitimately more objective.
        A link to the minutes/transcript can and should be included, allowing one who wasn't there to actually review the reporting. Why don't the newspapers use those? They are public information, and adds value to the resource.

        • by WindowlessView (703773) on Friday December 26, 2008 @01:00PM (#26235443)

          That Indian webcam parrot isn't gonna have to explain himself in the hallways, or over drinks at the local watering hole, thus can be legitimately more objective.

          There is a difference between reporting and stenography.

          This system adds no value. Even if people had the time to watch the House and Senate in session all day, it would provide very few and only the most superficial and unimportant facts of a story. Some outsourced entity simply summarizing the activity just gives me a condensed version of the unimportant.

          Real reporting involves digging up the story below the surface. C-SPAN can show people the southern Republican senators pious "free market" words on a Detroit bailout but without knowing how deeply their hands are in Toyota's, Honda's, etc., pockets you have just consumed so much hot air.

    • Re:What a sad world (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday December 26, 2008 @11:57AM (#26235127)

      The quick and the easy = AP, Reuters

      The long and difficult = Local Reportage

      When the metro newspapers finally figure out that a lot of folks actually like non-national stories again, they may be able to save themselves. Uniqueness and specialization are the drivers of everything online. Just running AP feeds will NOT bring in quality revenue.

      If that's true, then do you have a theory for why newspapers, which have been racking their brains non-stop regarding this crisis, haven't latched onto the local-coverage solution?

      If you're theory is correct, then I would expect a few newspapers to have tried it, made lots more money (or lost much less) then the others, and then every other paper would flock to the local-coverage approach.

      Even if poor local coverage is an area where newspapers can get better, it may not be enough. Papers are also hurting baldy from the loss of classified ads, real estate listings, and car ads, all of which are migrating to the web (i.e., craigslist). The truth is, the web is just a better advertising medium than printed paper for most/all of those items and services. And newspapers really need ad revenue as well as subscription revenue.

      • by phorest (877315)

        If that's true, then do you have a theory for why newspapers, which have been racking their brains non-stop regarding this crisis, haven't latched onto the local-coverage solution?

        Yes. Where is the value in reporting? Maybe they should be aggregating local stuff too. My recommendation to include linked transcripts would be a start. Start thinking like an information repository and less like a tabloid. What the hell does BradGelina have to do with Memphis, Tennesee anyway?
        The filtering they do now means that

      • by mordred99 (895063)
        The only reason I read the local paper is to get the Fry's ad :). My parents live with my and get the daily paper. My mother does the suduku, crossword, and all the other games in it. My dad reads the articles. I could not agree with you more. They need to spend more on the local stuff. That is why they get a paper. The national news they get from the 11:00 news.
    • by swschrad (312009) on Friday December 26, 2008 @11:58AM (#26235129) Homepage Journal

      both services have in their contract a "republish" clause on all of their clients' content. with The AP, it means a little more, as The AP is a cooperative owned by the newspapers and broadcasters itself (broadcasters are a subclass of ownership.)

      any local stories you have on AP and UPI come from local news outlets, unless there is major statewide interest. the wire services have already been stripped down heavily, and fee cuts The AP will be making for the 2009 and 2010 years, as reported, mean the service has to cut its size AGAIN, by about a third.

      and since 90-plus percent of their income comes from local outfits' budgets, you can see the fallacy of the argument by phorest.

      As the locals go bust, the whole infrastructure is going to go down with them.

      • Locals aren't going to go bust. They are still solvent, and will always be because the websites that will replace their print editions are the ones run by the paper. I live in a City of 300k and an Alexa comparison shows the local papers website getting more page views than /. and to a very area specific populace.

        I'd like one of these guys to define what "Print" journalism is. I work in a news room and I'm not exactly sure. Does it mean the dead tree outlet? or the AP style news story? because in our room

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by garcia (6573)

      When the metro newspapers finally figure out that a lot of folks actually like non-national stories again, they may be able to save themselves. Uniqueness and specialization are the drivers of everything online.

      My website is basically an aggregation of local news sources from all over our area and encompasses some 15 different local news sources. These newspapers have relatively small distribution areas and a lot of fluff. Very little of what comes out of them are "news" by any means and while they may brea

      • These people have no idea how to function in the modern news world and I doubt that they ever will.

        Sounds like you don't either, since your whole business model boils down to stealing their "outdated" work.

        I do have more regular reader than these papers do and I more or less just print blurbs of what they already covered and give my own opinion.

        So you basically take the copyrighted work of others, add some marginal utility and then sell it for a profit, And then call the very people you are dependent on ignorant. Why? for not sending you a DMCA take down notice?

        You strike to the very core of the ignorance of the whole web "bubble" and the other bubbles. Your profits aren't based entirely on innovation, you have not greatly increased the eff

      • by rtechie (244489) * on Friday December 26, 2008 @05:21PM (#26236747)

        My website is basically an aggregation of local news sources from all over our area and encompasses some 15 different local news sources.

        So you're a thief.

        People seem to want that and while I wish I wasn't leeching I just don't have the budget, time or staff (I'm one person doing this in 1.5 hours a day) to "report" on stuff.

        Exactly, you're a thief. The real work that newspapers do is REPORTING, actually calling or talking to principals in question, doing investigations etc. EVERYTHING else the newspaper does from classifieds to comics to sports scores is intended to support those tasks. If you're reprinting the actual work (the reporting) without reprinting the advertising and additional bullshit YOU ARE STEALING and YOU, and you personally, are going to put them out of business.

        I'm looking at the front page of your site right now and it's about beer and stories ripped out of the local police blotter, hardly incisive journalism there. OTHO, when you venture into original reporting (as you did with the superintendent story) the site becomes non-crappy.

        Is any of this sinking in? If you want to run a news site you have to do your own reporting, PERIOD, otherwise you're at least as bad as the Pirate Bay or similar sites. If you don't have time to do much original reporting, ONLY do the original reporting. There is no rule saying that your site has to be updated every day. If you want to drive more traffic to your site see if you can get your stories LINKED on other local news sources.

        Personally, I would STOP and join a larger news organization like IndyMedia. If there's no IndyMedia site in your area you can start one.

        • The real work that newspapers do is REPORTING, actually calling or talking to principals in question, doing investigations etc. EVERYTHING else the newspaper does from classifieds to comics to sports scores is intended to support those tasks.

          Boy the owners of many newspapers would disagree strongly. For instance the Tribune Corp, which recently bought the LA Times, and has gone through several rounds of laying off newsroom staff to increase profits (which were already at 25%), has made it very clear that the main products of a newspaper are profit and shareholder value. Everything else is just support tasks. Reporting is merely supposed to draw you into looking at the ads.

          Now if the rtechie was right, and reporting was the heart and soul

    • by Simulant (528590)

      I prefer the national/international coverage but, you're right about AP & Reuters.

      When every local paper (in any US city) I pick up has the same AP & Reuters stories as every other paper/website, there's really not much point.

      There are still a few national papers worth reading but they're pricey at the news stand on a daily basis.

      Pricier yet is The Economist, which, IMO, is the best source of international news available in the printed English language.... worth every penny th

    • by capaslash (941889)
      Ah, local reportage *is* the AP. The Associated Press's news comes from local papers who put their stories on the AP wire, then all other AP member newspapers/TV stations across the world can get a copy of that story and put it on their own newspaper/website/TV station. Srsly. Get rid of all the local papers and guess what? You just killed 90% of AP news.
  • It's the problem (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NorbrookC (674063) on Friday December 26, 2008 @11:32AM (#26234961) Journal

    How do you make what you do pay when the distribution medium changes? While we like to celebrate the Internet for it's ability to disseminate information, the fact is that gathering that information has to be done by someone. Bloggers have done quite a bit in terms of gathering news, or breaking it, but the problem is that most of it is scattered, and tends to be narrowly focused. The other stories, coverage, and news is still done by the traditional media. It's going to be that way for quite a while - we need people who have expertise (and get paid for that) to dig into the complex stories, we need organizations who are going to aggregate it and check it. The actual functions of newspapers and television reporting are needed, but the distribution channel changed. The question for them is can they hold on long enough to make what they do pay in a new medium.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The problem isn't just limited to the news, either. I expect for some /.ers to offer the same solutions they do for other copyright holders whose income is being lowered by the internet's near-zero cost of distribution - the journalists should tour more, sell more merchandise, or work under a patronage model.

      • The problem isn't just limited to the news, either. I expect for some /.ers to offer the same solutions they do for other copyright holders whose income is being lowered by the internet's near-zero cost of distribution - the journalists should tour more, sell more merchandise, or work under a patronage model.

        Oops, you got modded down. Well I thought it was funny. Your representation of what people think we think was pretty accurate. But it lacks a real understanding of what has changed.
        The real solution is to embrace the new way things are distributed and use it to your advantage rather then fighting it to your own detriment.
        The Internets is a tool that can be used for both good and evil. Like most tools it has no morals itself it just makes things easier.

    • by sfjoe (470510)

      I don't need nearly the level of coverage on the latest missing, pretty, white girl. If more news outlets go under maybe the rest will not have the resources to cover touching, but unimportant issues.

    • by jamesborr (876769)
      But the solution is so obvious. Just have the government step in with tax dollars to fund these icons of journalism. After all, if the plebeians are too cheap to fund what is so obviously beneficial to the control of them, then the state must step in and make them contribute to that apparatus.
  • According to research quoted, while the physical publications are quickly becoming a thing of the past...

    Not to be pedantic, but rendered webpages containing news are also physical publications.

    • by AviLazar (741826)
      Not to be pedantic, but rendered webpages containing news are also physical publications

      But you do it so well. I am sure we all realize, including you, that he meant the difference between hard copy vs soft/e copy.
    • by djupedal (584558)
      > Not to be pedantic, but rendered webpages containing news are also physical publications.

      Let me know when you figure a way to line your bird cage and wrap fish with a rendered page, thanks.
      • > Not to be pedantic, but rendered webpages containing news are also physical publications.

        Let me know when you figure a way to line your bird cage and wrap fish with a rendered page, thanks.

        Believe me, after visiting foxnews.com, I have top men working on it.

        Indianna Jones: who?

        Top. Men.

      • > Not to be pedantic, but rendered webpages containing news are also physical publications.

        Let me know when you figure a way to line your bird cage and wrap fish with a rendered page, thanks.

        Or, if you wanted a real answer, here it is. If a rendered webpage isn't physical, then how does it make an impression on your retinas?

  • Easy solution is for media giants to pair up with ISPs and charge for ALL content. ( and shutoff/sue anyone that tries to get around it )

    Not that i want to them to of course.

    • ISPs used to provide news as a bundled service. It was called usenet. They got bored policing it.

  • "we can only hope that the original news reporting by top-flight journalists is not a major casualty"

    Is this the Onion or something? The above statement is a joke, right? Maybe part of the reason print media is taking such a downturn is both the internet AND the inability of many of the "top-flight journalists" to do anything that remotely resembles objective reporting. The internet is too accessible, cheap, and more or less admits its bias. Journalists - particularly those at the top - seem to believ
    • by jcr (53032)

      the inability of many of the "top-flight journalists" to do anything that remotely resembles objective reporting.

      The pretense that reporters could be unbiased was a relatively short-lived phenomenon, confined mostly to the USA. Up until the middle of the last century, any political movement had its own newspaper, and you knew where they were coming from. That's pretty much been the case all along in Europe; you know which papers are left- or right-wing, and if you want to be well informed you read them

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MrSteveSD (801820)
      [quote]Journalists - particularly those at the top - seem to believe that their training and expertise and degrees somehow give them license to disguise their personal beliefs and views as objective reporting.[/quote

      It's worse than that. Whereas you or I writing about some topic will have our own opinions, the Mass media have so-called gatekeepers to make sure stories conform to the company's (and lets not forget they are companies) "guidelines". In other words with the mainstream media you have mass org
    • by Dun Malg (230075)

      Maybe part of the reason print media is taking such a downturn is... the inability of many of the "top-flight journalists" to do anything that remotely resembles objective reporting.

      Nah, the real problem is the pretense of objectivity. Historically, the press has never been particularly objective. No, I think what irritates people and drives them away is the thin veneer of ersatz objectivity overlaying screamingly obvious bias.

    • by earlymon (1116185) on Friday December 26, 2008 @03:13PM (#26236177) Homepage Journal

      It's not just objectivity - it should also be about insight, intelligence and analysis. My personal citation - Edward R. Murrow. (The irony that he was a broadcast journalist is not lost on me.)

      Got a new political or skulduggery scandal? Add a "-gate" suffix to it. Great. No intelligence there whatsoever. Woodward and Bernstein WORKED for their insights. Now I see/read/hear yearly about a "-gate" with no effort by the reporter, yet - what is it? - in their minds they're the new W&B?

      Dan Rather became popular - IMO - or for me at least - because he was the young reporter always calling Nixon to task during Nixon's press conferences - and getting it right.

      Later, in the 1991 Gulf War, Rather said, and I quote from memory - "the F-15E - the E is for Eagle - blah blah blah." Ludicrous. I would want to fault Rather's intelligence, but it may have been the whole broadcast journalistic system that led to someone feeding him that nonsense into his earpiece for him to parrot.

      I've talked to reporters, socially - a LOT of them. They have one thing in common and that's a general "I'm going to trick you" or "I'm smarter than you" attitude. That's my experience anyways. Unlike their better predecessors, they aren't smarter and they don't think things through.

      Short attention span thinking does not lead to incisive reporting.

  • Why are we still talking about newspapers as we're still amazed at their losses, or as if there's a hope of recovery? AIDS patients and cancer victims have a better chance of survival than newspapers. Stick a fork in 'em, they're done. I haven't read a newspaper in years. Mainly, I get them when I stay in hotels and it's left for me in the morning in front of the room. But I've already read most of the articles they are reporting on because it was on the Internet the night before. If not, it will be a
    • You insensitive clod I get my news from TV haven't you heard of the Colbert Report [colbertnation.com]
    • by cbuhler (887833)
      I mostly agree with this, except, some of us older people have already given up on print news and TV. Computer illiterate wife still lives for TV and a dozen magazine subscriptions, but I get all the news I want from the net. I do still subscribe to Scientific American because I still need something to read when I'm in the "library" first thing every morning. That's going to keep a few of the better publications going, but the rest are probably rather short lived.
  • Painful evolution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday December 26, 2008 @11:47AM (#26235061)

    This issue scares me. We need more, not fewer, journalists to watch over our government and businesses.

    Hopefully, people will eventually realize that one way or another, we need to pay for reporting to get done.

    My fear is that we won't realize that, and figure out a way to pay for it, until too late. That is, until legions of seasoned investigative journalists have left for greener pastures, and many good journalism schools have been shut down.

    • It's a non-issue. Paper as a news medium is simply becoming a non-sustainable business model - that's all. There are whole load of emotional/nostalgic factors at play though - newspapers have been around for all living human memory - it's weird to think that they'll soon be consigned to history.

      Web advertising has been undervalued for a long time. In terms of reaching a target demographic, it beats print and broadcast tv hands down. Once it undergoes an industry re-evaluation then it'll become more viable f

      • by Rahga (13479)

        I don't think paper as a news medium is non-sustainable... I just think that Newspapers as a 12-section behemoth advertising delivery vehicle is non-sustainable. The current amount of bloat is immense, and exists simply because the current model is to sell as many ads to as many clients as possible. This means a ton of cheap ads that take up a large percentage of space, and they won't cut down content until advertisers pull out completely.

        Limiting it to fewer sections to at higher cost would probably keep m

      • by mrvan (973822)

        It's not about the medium, it's about the business model.

        Online ad revenue might just cut it for a few very large media, such as the ny times. However, chances are the NY Times are not going to investigate a scandal in your local politics, whether you live in Phoenix, AZ, or somewhere out of the USA.

        Local reporting seems to be degrading to reprinting AP/Reuters, with if you are lucky one more or less investigative news medium, be it local TV or a newspaper. That is not enough, you need multiple sources of i

  • by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot@NospAm.davidgerard.co.uk> on Friday December 26, 2008 @11:47AM (#26235063) Homepage

    PHONING IT IN, mid-afternoon - An ambulance service has praised a five-year-old boy after he successfully called 999 to report that his mother had collapsed and was unconscious in their home.

    In other news [today.com], a pet wears a seatbelt, alleged scientists have yet again discovered a formula for the perfect attractive woman (it apparently involves being short with long legs and large breasts), there's a piece on ancient Roman bikinis, how to make the perfect cup of tea and lots of pictures of sunburnt, drug-addled women in bikini tops at a summer rock festival, including ones that aren't Amy Winehouse.

    Crop circles have fallen out of favour in recent years. How the A-levels these days aren't as good as proper A-levels were back in my day, you mark my words, remains a perennial favourite. With pictures of students in bikini tops.

    "We're holding out hope of the first skateboarding duck of the season," said one of the few reporters still left in the office. "In the meantime, I'm researching a story about a long, short-breasted, large-legged sunburnt woman in a Roman bikini top making me the perfect cup of tea."

    Remember: it's the Watchdog of the Press that protects our democracy.

  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Friday December 26, 2008 @11:52AM (#26235091) Homepage

    Way before TV, radio, film and even the internet, the most efficient means to distribute news was for each population area to have its own publisher of news print. Cities, towns, burroughs etc. all had their own news papers. Larger areas, such as states, did not. It was not efficient to print a newspaper and deliver it through out the entire state all on the same day.

    However, things changed and soon publishers adapted and you could buy the New York times throughout the State and throughout the country. Theater owners started showing news reels, radio started giving out news, and so did TV stations. But newspapers survived all of those because newspapers offered more stories with more depth.

    However, the internet has changed the efficiencies for news distribution. Nowadays the internet offers more depth and is updated immediately, plus it offers video and audio, and yet another plus, it offers up to the minute commentary. It's simply asinine for each city/population center to physically publish news on paper and then deliver those papers via gas burning trucks to individuals, to read news articles that were published the day before on the net.

    The answer is not to shut down news on the net, it's to accept the fate that newsprint is dead.

    • by DaveV1.0 (203135)

      The only problem is that "news on the net" comes from the people who write the newsprint articles. Once newspapers go away, the few real journalists that are still working will dwindle to zero and reliable news will be a thing of the past.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by 24-bit Voxel (672674)

        I think in minds of many, reliable newpaper reporting is already dead. Bush and co. should have been absolutely battered bloody over the torture scandals, but largely they escaped it unscathed. Once the news is no longer a tool of the people, and instead a tool of the government, it loses its broad appeal to the masses. They will never get it back. It's over.

        • by DaveV1.0 (203135)

          Your ignorance and bias does not make you the voice of "the masses".

        • Doesn't that say more about readers than the news media?

          I mean, I know what you're referring to when you say "torture scandals" from the media.

          Isn't it more the case that most people just don't care? That, to the average viewer / reader, celebrity gossip and missing white girls are more important?

      • The only problem is that you are not looking at the big picture. Journalist don't become journalist because of some altruistic drive to report unbiased news for newspapers. The become journalist because they want to get published. The same people will find another way to satisfy that urge. Some people just have a hard time adjusting to the new way.
        • by DaveV1.0 (203135)

          If one is not unbiased, then one is not a journalist, one is merely a writer.

          • If only they(meaning those with a job title of journalist) would follow that higher standard then half the complaints about them would go away.
            I hope we can rediscover true journalism as you describe it. What form it will take is the question. We can only hope that fair and unbiased are givens.
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      However, the internet has changed the efficiencies for news distribution.

      While everything you said may be true, the fact is that the internet changed the efficiencies for advertising.

      The distribution model is entirely besides the point if there are no advertisers to keep the whole operation afloat.

      • While everything you said may be true, the fact is that the internet changed the efficiencies for advertising.

        It doesn't help that one of the biggest culprits is someone that lists classified ads for panhandling money i.e. he just does it for donations.

      • by iomud (241310)

        Now that many papers have an online presence they should have more, not less advertisers available. The customer/reader is accessing them via the internet the customer/reader can purchase goods via the internet as well. In the physical paper it makes less sense for a product sold online to be advertised, so that market is probably nil.

        My local paper does advertise brick and mortar local shops on their website, meanwhile Amazon.com reports its best-ever holiday season [bloomberg.com]. I see zero, non-local advertisements on

    • Nowadays the internet offers more depth

      Which one are you hooked up to? Mine is as shallow as pond scum.

      Sera

    • by dkf (304284)

      The answer is not to shut down news on the net, it's to accept the fate that newsprint is dead.

      The real issue is that almost all newspaper publishing in the US does not involve good journalism, and everyone knows it. I've seen it for myself in DC, Boston, Chicago, New Orleans and Seattle, all of which are large enough catchments to be able to support at least one major newspaper. If they had good journalists and good editors, stories that are worth reading would keep the readership interested, telling the readers stories that they felt they had to know.

      In other parts of the world, newspapers are doin

  • I enjoy reading a newspaper but the news has gotten slanted so far left that it just makes me mad.

    We get to little local government and to many puppy in a tree stories. We get to much Hollyweird freak is doing X stories and not enough international news.

    Take the recent election in the US, McCain was the golden boy until nominated then they piled on with the negatives. Obama got very little coverage on his past voting record. Now I have a preference (none of the above this year) but I still want to KNOW t

    • Absolutely. Great post... I wonder why it only received a score of 1. Oh, that's right, the scoring Gods of /. have about the same amount of objectivity as the Gray Lady.
  • The newspaper is dead. Long live the newspaper!

  • by swell (195815)

    In my city, like many others, the major newspaper has made serious cuts to the news department and some top reporters were let go. Some of those reporters have moved to an online only newspaper which has become an excellent source of news.

    Our newspaper, again like many others, has always had an agenda and an involvement in local politics that prevented honest reporting on certain topics. The reporters that moved now have more freedom to tell it like it is.

    For the first time ordinary citizens have the opport

    • Non profit != not getting paid to work. They are still getting ad revenue and hopefully offer some subscription services above and beyond free registration. Non profit just helps around tax time as well as allowing bigger donations. ~looks thoughtfully into distance... I wonder if special interest will take advantage of this.
  • Not surprising really. The old media print newspapers have the staff and research people to go out and do real reporting/news gathering in the real world. Online sources pick up this basis of real news reporting and become a distribution and commentary outlet for the work done by the traditional reporters.

  • by FlyingHuck (1135427) on Friday December 26, 2008 @12:08PM (#26235185)
    When I was a young lance corporal, fresh out of MOS training and a newly minted crewman on the KC-130 in Iraq, I had my fair share of ferrying politicians, reporters, and high-ranking officers into Al Asad and Baghdad. This is purely anecdotal, but Fox reporters never carried an air of arrogance about them that I, my aircraft, and my fellow crew, where there for the reporters' benefit. I never had to remind a Fox reporter that yes, they did indeed have to strap in, because a tactical low level flight involves some serious cranking and banking, and if g-forces didn't toss them into a sharp object and kill them, I would. These are the kinds of things that those of us who served with reporters remembers. As a Marine, we also remember other news agencies immediately picking up the story of Haditha, and using Abscam Jack Murtha's statements that it was an open and shut case of unlawful murder on civilian targets-- before an NCIS investigation was even underway. We also remember the initial invasion, when all news outlets were attached to ground forces pushing up from Kuwait, and the Safwan Hill offensive displayed one of the most awesome displays of military firepower since the Second World War, and the reporters gained ratings, awards, etc. They also couldn't really spew much bs at the time, because their safety depended on staying with the extremely valiant, confident, and capable forces, and even the looniest of the bunch couldn't spin much.

    By the time Fallujah came around, many media reports would make you believe that the Marines (that were effectively squashing all enemy resistance) had met their match against hardened "militants" (I love that catchphrase), and it was doubtful they would be successful. For those of us who have dug a little deeper into military history and engagements, we realize that Fallujah turned out to literally rewrite the book on the effectiveness of operations in an urban environment amongst an enemy established for ambush... the last historical example being Hue city in Vietnam. While we were out there doing our jobs with what we had available at the time (as the military has always done, in every war of our nation), that wonderful, benevolent, caring media reporting on us and using us for their purposes, could only talk about how thin we were stretched, how poor our supplies were, how ridiculous it was to expect us to do our missions with the numbers and supplies we had. When the political pressure mounted and twenty thousand additional pairs of boots were sent to help, along with massive increases in logistics, it was immediately spun as "putting more troops in harm's way" or "the war's not working so we're throwing more resources down a hole." In reality, having extra boots on the ground and rifles pointed downrange meant greater safety for everyone. Units could take more time off between combat patrols because there were more units to cycle in. Assaults could be handled with more fire support and faster evacuations for the wounded. As much as the mainstream media hates to admit it, "the surge" worked.

    Lastly, I want to talk about the thing I hate talking about the most: friends who never made it home. While the moonbats at CBS, ABC, and (MS)NBC typically would have a segment at the end of their evening broadcasts showing the photographs of those killed in Iraq, with little other explanation than to senselessly display the fallen on television to stir animosity toward the war effort, Fox sends real men like LtCol North into the field to report on our units on the ground, how they are adapting and overcoming adversity, how they are still keeping their morale high in the face of a long and costly war.

    These are the kinds of things that we veterans of this war will remember. We will also remember when bloggers use that "hard reporting" provided by the "big guys," and put it through basic smell tests to see if it passes. Reuters can thank Little Green Footballs for showing what a bunch of Hamas-friendly tools they were during the Israel-Lebanon war by doctoring

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dun Malg (230075)
      Shame I don't have mod points to undo the bullshit "-1, Overrated/I don't like your viewpoint" mod you got. I can't say that I had a lot of exposure to reporters out in the sticks in Afghanistan (likely perceived as too dangerous), but I was regularly disappointed by the occasional news story emailed or snail-mailed to me. There were descriptions of events I was present for (and I guarantee the reporter heard about it second hand) that bore no real resemblance to what really happened. I hear the same from f
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by FlyingHuck (1135427)
        One of the niftier missions I flew was delivering bomb-resistant vehicles to a few Army units (poor bastards... they didn't join my beloved Corps :-). The reason the Army wanted them was 1) Roadside bombs suck 2) Shortage of armored humvees and 3) armored humvees don't hold up for shit against anything but grenades and small arms fire. We always used to joke that the truly roadside bomb resistant humvee was the Abrams... which unfortunately holds true. So, the DoD, really in a very wise move decided that
  • by shalla (642644) on Friday December 26, 2008 @12:14PM (#26235209)

    Except that I'm not convinced that this is a replacement of traditional print media by Internet sources so much as it is simply a decline in news readership. As a librarian, I've found that I don't really compete with bookstores. The more people read from the library, the more they also tend to buy from the bookstore. It tends to be a synergistic relationship.

    On a related note, Central Connecticut State University President Jack Miller put out his annual Most Literate Cities study, which looks at what literary resources are available and used.

    From a USA Today article on this year's study: [usatoday.com]

    The findings come at a time when newspaper circulations across the USA are declining, and online newspaper reading is increasing. Miller's analysis suggests that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the availability of free online news is not to blame for the decline in newspapers' print circulation -- and that neither is the decline in bookstores across the country caused by the rise in online book buying.

    Cities that ranked higher for having more bookstores also have a higher proportion of people buying books online, the analysis found, and cities with newspapers that have high per-capita circulation rates also have more people reading newspapers online. Likewise, cities that ranked higher for having well-used libraries also have more booksellers.

    So I don't think it's necessarily that people are actually choosing to read their news online instead of subscribe to a traditional newspaper. I think more people are just not reading in general and may happen across news online as they do other things--but that isn't the point of their Internet usage.

    And if we aren't reading, will that leave us with just television reporters? :O

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If the Journalistic standards of 'USA Today' are anything more than at 'Comic Levels' then I'll eat my Austrailian bush hat.
      I Sat next to someone of a flight from Sydney to LA. He spent the whole flight reading a 4 day old copy of USA Today.... I read a complete Harry Potter novel on the same flight. It is nothing more than a joke. Real newspapers carry real stories thoroughly investigated by their own journos. Not picked up and printed pretty well verbatum from the wire services.
      In the past, qwe have relie

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by shalla (642644)

        Sadly, you read the source of my quote and chose to focus on that rather than on what I'd actually said. Should you care to look, the study's results are published a number of other places, but I admit that USA Today had the pertinent bit I needed all in one place for me to quote.

        The point is that in many places, literacy begets literacy. Print newspapers aren't losing readers to online newspapers so much as newspapers are losing dedicated readers overall.

        As to the guy reading through the four-day-old USA

  • Pure Bull (Score:3, Interesting)

    by daemonenwind (178848) on Friday December 26, 2008 @12:21PM (#26235233)

    CNET is owned by CBS, one of the major networks who's prejudiced "coverage" of the news is prompting people to cancel subscriptions and tune out. The obviously, grossly biased news on CBS even cost Dan Rather his job for the simple sake of appearances (even though he's just the talking head that reads what the producer puts on the teleprompter). Despite this, the lesson still isn't learned. So CNET has a strong interest in putting this kind of "analysis" out.

    In truth, most old-media outlets get their news from the same source: The Associated Press. Watching almost any local or national newscast, or picking up nearly any newspaper in America, shows a near-perfect reprint of the AP feed. And the AP feed is exactly what people are getting from the syndicated news site of their choice, whether it has a Yahoo, MSN, Google or some other banner at the top of the page. Why watch some overpaid talking-head and suffer through bad advertising if you can just go online, read the source of the copy?

    Local and insightful reporting is a dead art, and THAT is what people are turning to the internet for, because it's hard to get from anywhere but a blog in the US.

  • by Animats (122034) on Friday December 26, 2008 @12:24PM (#26235255) Homepage

    The journalistic institution with the most reporters is Bloomberg. They have more reporters than the Washington Post and The New York Times together.

    Hard news is becoming the province of the weeklies. Time, Newsweek, and The Economist have real reporters out gathering news. The story quality is usually better than what's in the dailies; they're not as rushed. So nationally, we're doing OK.

    As for local news, newspapers shot themselves in the foot with "fluff" sections - Food, Wine, Cars, Lifestyle, etc. that didn't require real reporting. On the advertising side, they ended up surviving on classifieds, real estate ads, car ads, and ads for local sales. The Internet does all those things better.

    It's not clear who, if anybody, will pick up the slack with local news.

  • by MpVpRb (1423381) on Friday December 26, 2008 @12:24PM (#26235257)

    Some people devote their lives to a career because it's who they are, not what they do. As the newspapers die, a large pool of talent will be freed. Those who never really had the passion will find other jobs.

    But, those who view journalism as their essence will somehow find a way to get paid while practicing their craft. They will invent the next journalism business. They will not quit.

    Believing that the end of newspapers equals the end of journalists is like believing that once the record companies all die, there will be no more music.

  • by guanxi (216397) on Friday December 26, 2008 @01:01PM (#26235453)

    Many bloggers complain that the "MSM" (that is, professional journalists) filter the news, and they want to bypass that filter. But the reality is that blogs are often a second filter on top of the first one. They take the content generated by the professionals (sometimes an article, sometimes some words taken out of context), and the blogger frames it with their own perspective and context.

    Why would anyone want some random person adding yet another filter to their news? In large part, I think it's because the bloggers are willing to offer a level of info-tainment that the professionals won't: Uncorroborated rumor, conspiracy theory, unfounded amateur analysis, and outraged or outrageous opinions.

    (Of course, there are many good aspects to blogs (here I am reading /.) and there are lousy professionals.)

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Friday December 26, 2008 @01:55PM (#26235767)

    We used to get our paper every day. Then I noticed that we were taking the paper in in the morning and putting it into the recycle bin unread at the end of the week. We were getting all of our news from TV and the Internet. We only really used the paper for the Sunday ads (finding sales and coupons). We looked into Sunday only delivery and determined that our paper's Saturday-Sunday rate was a better deal. (I would read the paper most times on Saturday.) After awhile, we got a notice from our paper that we were being switchded to Thursday-Sunday delivery for no additional cost. Now we're basically in nearly the same boat as before. Every recycling day, 2 papers (Thursday & Friday) go into the bin unread. Saturday's is read and Sunday's is read only for the ads. If we could get the circulars/coupons online for cheaper than the cost of the paper (this would need to include ink costs to print the coupons), we would cancel our subscription entirely.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I worked in the circulation department of a fair-sized local paper about twelve years ago. Even then they were getting pretty desperate.

      They ended Friday - Sunday service (Friday's TV guide) and Sunday-only (coupons) service. You could do Mon - Fri (businesses usually), Weekend or every day.

      The theory was that it would force people wanting both the coupons and the TV guide to buy a seven-day subscription. Since that was a really stupid ass idea, it predictably failed to do anything other than piss off sever

  • by presidenteloco (659168) on Friday December 26, 2008 @02:19PM (#26235899)

    I for one welcome.

    Here in Canada our mainstream newspapers and main news TV programs are all owned by two large corporations, CTVGlobeMedia and CanWestGlobal, whose editorial stance is somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun.

    I mean the term democratic socialist media mogul is kind of an oxymoron isn't it.

    It will be interesting to see if the blogosphere ends up with any particular bias that is different than what good citizens are pablum-fed in their daily TV news broadcast.

    I surely hope so.

    Although I am not sure that the move from people all having one spoon-fed opinion to a state of truthy factoid bombardment from all sides leading to a catatonic equal acceptance of or non-committal to any old statement or viewpoint is really a victory.

    Crowd chants:
    "WE ARE ALL INDIVIDUALS"
    "WE ARE ALL INDIVIDUALS"
    "WE ARE ALL INDIVIDUALS"

    Pathetic squeaky voice in background:
    "umm, errr, I'm not."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As someone who has worked in newspapers for 20 years, including several stints as a web designer, I can tell you first-hand why print is declining, and why first-hand online news sources (that's the news department side of newspapers) are fading, even while online news is attracting more eyeballs than print ever did.

    But first, a few basic facts:

    In the traditional newspaper model, the cost of subscriptions (and newstand sales) paid for the cost of printing and distribution; that includes paper, ink,

  • Whoa is the press and their loss of financial recompense. Still, the perfect storm here is that the internet is taking over at the same rate that professional news is getting useless.

    I see the newspapers, and the media in general, as shallow. They parrot news at the same level of understanding as an immature, uninformed citizen. (And they get praise from immature, uninformed citizens for doing this.) I'd like to think they are pandering, but I bet, as a whole, they've done it so long that true immaturit

  • I live in the SanFrancisco bay area (Boston transplant) but I still frequent the Boston Globe's website. Why? Because the writers for The Globe, especially the Sports section write about those teams that I still follow. While national sites like ESPN are fine, but I actually like to read the articles written by specific journalists. If a new journalist comes on board, there's a good chance that I'll read them too. However, am never going to resort to some redsox google search http://www.google.com/sear [google.com]

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