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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Future of local reporting in the Internet Age and the death of newspapers

political cartoon on newspapers going out of business, 'When I was a kid, I carried the . . . Minneapolis Star,' reminisces Jack Ohman, 'Paper Trails...,' Oregonian, Mar. 22, 2009, p. E2

PHOTO: (click to enlarge) a political cartoon about the death of newspapers. Similar to the above political cartoonist, I was also a Minneapolis Star evening newspaper boy and therefore amused to see his caption that reminisces, 'When I was a kid, I carried the . . . Minneapolis Star.' (Cartoon by Jack Ohman the Oregonian editorial cartoonist in "Paper Trails. . .," Oregonian, Mar. 22, 2009, p. E2. See and my previous posts Minneapolis Star newspaper boy Jack Ohman (3/24/09), Newspaper TV guides R.I.P. (9/25/10), Corvallis newspaper circulation (10/15/08) and Kim Kraemer auto mechanic 1980 (11/7/09))

Here is my letter to the editor commenting on the future of local newspaper reporting:

While collecting money each week from my older customers, in my first real job as a 12 year-old newspaper delivery boy, I recall them fretting that new-fangled TV technology would cause the demise of local newspapers. At that time, even small cities had multiple competing newspapers with morning and afternoon editions.

Indeed, the advent of TV led to the demise of evening newspapers, including the G-T, which to stay in business had to become a morning paper and convert from molten metal letterpress to computer typeset offset printing technology.

Today, older newspaper customers similarly fret new-fangled internet technology will cause the demise of local news reporting, both in print and online. One example was the discussion at a Corvallis City Club meeting led by the recently "retired" editor of the Albany Democrat-Herald, Hasso Hering. (See Nov. 13 article in the Democrat-Herald, "Panel looks at future of local media" or Gazette-Times, "Tomorrow's news today.")

Having spent decades managing and investing in high-tech businesses that literally go obsolete every few years, I am sympathetic to the plight of newspaper publishers.

Decades ago, a beleaguered publisher of the G-T blamed the disappearance of newspaper boys on the "lesser work ethic of the younger generation." On the contrary, I believe today's boys and girls, who would have probably delivered newspapers in the 20th Century, will invent a way to provide local news reporting for a profit in the 21st Century.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Kids still have initiative," Gazette-Times and Democrat-Herald, Nov. 25, 2012, p. C4)

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