Local Newspapers are Dying

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Newsflash: The newspaper industry is dying. I know this isn't exactly a new development, but the fact is that to most people, newspapers are already dead.

In his latest post for the Online Journalism Review, Robert Hernandez said that white males are the ones that don't realize that newspapers are dead. This is because newspapers tell stories that relate to this demographic. Hernandez said for African American, Native American, Asian, Latinos, gays, females and those under 25 feel that newspapers are already dead. These groups believe this because they are continuously left out of their local newspaper.

Hernandez said that if local newspapers don't reflect the diversity of their community then why would they bother to read it, or even buy it?

As a journalist, it is very important to cater to your audience. If you choose not to, readers will lack confidence in your reporting. They like to read stories in which they can relate to, and if your writing doesn't reflect your audience, they will lose interest in the paper. In addition, more readers are turning to the Internet to find stories that relate to them or they have become journalists themselves.


Leslie Hanson March 22, 2010 at 9:00 PM  

I would have to agree that the paper version of the newspaper is a dying object for newer generations. But the baby-boomers are the largest group and they are set in their ways. They grew up with newpapers, and that will continue to be important to them. The newspaper today is the same as the record was 30 years ago in the music industry. We still get our music, just in another form.

Hanna Russmann March 22, 2010 at 9:51 PM  
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Hanna Russmann March 22, 2010 at 9:56 PM  

I agree newspapers are dying, but I think local, small-town papers still have some time. For instance, my hometown newspaper doesn't have a Web site. People will continue to buy it, because it is the only source for what has happened and upcoming events for my town. Not to mention the fact, my hometown is comprised mostly of older people who are not computer savvy. So in cases like this, I think the newspaper will be around for a while longer.

Katelyn Chamberlin March 23, 2010 at 11:10 AM  

I am wondering where Hernandez got his information that white males are the demographic newspapers appeal to most. While this seems true for major newspapers, small-town papers seem to appeal to more of their audience. This may be because small cities have fewer demographics they need to represent. Because of this, local, small-town papers seem to be considerably more successful at appealing to all their subscribers than larger papers have been. This may be another reason local papers may stick around a little longer.

Kari.Ratkovich March 24, 2010 at 6:41 AM  

I work for The Des Moines Register. I have to disagree that the newspaper is a dying business as a whole. Sure circulation has decreased slightly, but readership has continued to grow and be strong. Media groups are doing a great job of relating to everyone. Whether demographically or geographically, we are making daily efforts to produce new products and services to continue to reach the masses. Agreeing with Leslie, baby-boomers continue to be the largest group and they are the audience that continues to read the daily/weekend paper and economically this group spends the most money each year. I grew up reading the paper and watching the news everyday. Those vehicles of getting my news are just as important as reading a breaking news story online or reading online news in a more broad national scope. Many markets continue to see a decrease in newspaper circulation and are often closing, but that is usually because those states/cities are often two paper markets. With the competition at its highest, someone has to go.

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