The negative news about newspapers is deafening. The Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, San Jose Mercury News, and now the San Francisco Chronicle are all battling for their very existence. Some might make it, others might not.
Everyday this drama plays out, side by side with the dramas in our financial markets, in Detroit and on Main Streets throughout the land.
All of which makes it nice to see the level-headed reporting of MarketWatch’s David Callaway.
Particularly galling to someone who has worked as an online journalist for the past decade are the sweeping declarations that our very democracy is at risk if newspapers and their investigative news teams disappear. And to hear otherwise brilliant colleagues state that no online newsroom can be successful without a legacy print organization to feed it content staggers the mind in this second decade of the Internet age.
Of course, MarketWatch, TheStreet.com and Slate have been online, or electronic-based, since their very beginnings, not to mention MSNBC.com, ESPN.com, Politico or even Bloomberg and Reuters. All are award-winning journalism groups, connected to video operations or radio operations, but not tied to or born from print roots.
Print is dead weight in a society moving toward sustainability. It’s not hard to see or understand. Newspapers are shedding journalists when they need to be retooling their distribution systems. No one can afford to waste resources today, and producing and distributing news on paper is wasteful in the extreme.
[THERE’S MORE] On my personal site the other day, I noted that moving to an all digital format is necessary but not easy for newspapers to do, given the state of online advertising.