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Sun Jul 8, 2018, 07:56 PM

Why local US newspapers are sounding the alarm

By Taylor Kate Brown
BBC News, Boulder, Colorado
1 hour ago

In the past decade, hundreds of local US newspapers have closed or merged. What happens to the communities they leave behind?

A hundred and twenty years ago, a wooden auditorium was built in the hills of Boulder, Colorado, as part of the Chautauqua movement, a lecture circuit/educational variety show for rural communities. In early June, Dave Krieger got on stage in the Chautauqua auditorium to tell the city's residents why he got fired from the local newspaper - and why he's worried about the future of local news in the US.

Boulder isn't an average American town - the city of 100,000 has multiple federal research centres, a growing tech scene and a median single-family home price above $1m (752,000) - but its daily newspaper is following a path of decline that many local news outlets have trod already - some all the way to closure. That newspaper, the Daily Camera, was founded right before the Chautauqua, as Boulder grew.

Now some of the community's residents are asking - how long will the 128-year-old paper last?

About 1,800 local papers have closed or merged since 2004, according to data from researchers at University of North Carolina. The reasons for newspaper closures are well-known - internet advertising destroying the traditional business models, readers moving towards more online and more free news. In Boulder and in nearby Denver, there's also a question of ownership.


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Reply Why local US newspapers are sounding the alarm (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jul 2018 OP
JayhawkSD Jul 2018 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 09:23 AM

1. The piece cited says essentially nothing.

First of all, the headline is highly deceptive, because
a) the newspapers are not sounding the alarm, one writer and a few of her friends are.
b) it describes the decline of newspapers, and some effects, but the "Why" in the headline is unaddressed.

It describes the declining staff and deteriorating content of newspapers, but offers no reasons and does not address the cause and effect relationship between those things and declining readership. Did newspapers cut costs due to loss of readers to online and visual media, or did people stop reading due to the cuts in staff and the concomitant loss of quality? That never seems to be addressed.

The article assumes that political control of content, suppression, is due to there being a single paper, making easier to control, but is it actually due to the owner of that paper no longer being local but rather being part of the corporate elite and a regular member of the governmental control structure? I would assert that the cause has a great deal more to do with corporate ownership than with the number of papers in any one location.

That's not to say that the decline to single papers in cities is not a serious problem, and that the loss of quality and usefulness of those papers is not an even more serious problem. But the article is typical of today's media, superficial, describing a problem with neither analysis or in-depth research, offering no solution, and manages to be an illustration of today's media problems rather than shedding any light on them.

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