I’m not sure if this is unique to my state, but I’m pretty sure it’s not. The local paper I took for granted as a young girl has been shut down, probably never to be seen again. (I spoke too soon. It is in the process of being shut down, but local organizations are trying to keep it running as we speak! My fingers are crossed for them). Rumor has it that a long list of other local dailies will quickly follow. They’ve become financially unstable, and with so many fewer people picking up a newspaper to catch up on news, it’s not altogether surprising. This could leave only a few local dailies and one major newspaper in the state. That’s a bit frightening. The major newspaper has already been bought out and has made dramatic changes in content, focusing less on local news and more on advertising. In today’s paper alone, half of the front section of the paper was devoted to Macy’s pre-black friday sale.
I’m curious how much this lack of newspaper sales is due to online news and how much of it is due to a general downturn in overall reading amongst all age groups. Is it worthwhile enough to pay for newspaper content, much of which can be found without a paid subscription? And then, of course, there’s the downturn in the number of business’s bringing in ad revenues, recognizing that they aren’t reaching much of their target audience, which I guess would have the biggest impact on a newspaper’s finances. Can’t imagine a world without local newspapers, but it may happen in my lifetime.