A MinD in MoTown

It’s the end of the world as we know it.
December 11, 2008, 5:45 pm
Filed under: Argh, News Girl

(Oh, and contrary to popular belief, I do not “feel fine.” Thought I’d let you know.)

With the economy continuing to crumble, it seemed only a matter of time before the news industry – already suffering as a result of a changing environment and the move of information to the Internet – was further damaged. And on Tuesday, that harsh blow came via the announcement that the Chicago-based Tribune Co., which owns several papers including the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

I suppose looking at this news from an outsider’s perspective, it might be a bit shocking to see such a titan in the news industry fall to this obvious low. However, from the inside, it was, unfortunately, to be expected. It was simply a matter of time and who it would affect.

And although the reason this occurred to the Tribune Co. was, as the article’s writer put it, the “piling (of) too much debt on a company facing declining revenue,” a decrease in sales and advertising is happening to all newspapers across the country, including the publication I work at and its sister papers.

With the Internet came the relocation of news to the Web, and thus, the relocation of advertisements as well. Despite this, newspapers forged on with a hampered revenue stream – because, let’s face it folks, newspapers definitely don’t make their dollars from actual sales or subscriptions. And then the slumping economy strikes and businesses lack the faith they once had in newspapers actually helping them generate sales because the tangible object is reaching fewer people as single copy and subscription sales decrease since a newspaper isn’t a “necessity” when the paycheck gets slashed (also a result of the economy). The businesses choose to not place their ads, the newspaper loses more money, and then, within a matter of time, yet another publication disappears from the shelves.

It’s a rather sad cycle, and I’m hoping the Tribune Co. isn’t forced into the cutbacks we in the news industry have already seen – most notably in the Charlotte region at the Charlotte Observer, whose workforce was considerably parred back several months ago.

The company I work for has already sliced through the news departments of other newspapers, and it seems only logical to assume it’ll be hitting closer and closer to home in the months or years to come. Is my small, Mooresville-based newspaper in jeopardy? I’m hoping not, as we are a community paper. But the bigger publications, they’ll see the ax without notice, and then my dreams of attempting to ever find a position elsewhere in the news industry become futile as I face droves of individuals vying for the same jobs.

It’s a vicious cycle, and while I’d solely like to blame the economy, the lack of appeal the newspaper holds – an appeal that only decades ago was through the roof – is also at fault.

I suppose it’s just another day for the news girl who has big dreams and sees them crumbling before her feet.

9 Comments so far
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and that’s why i picked the right time to get out of media and…wait. something is going on here

why is your page snowing?

‘Cause I’m super awesome & can make it snow… Nah, it’s just a WordPress feature for Christmastime. OoOoOooo, how festive, eh?

Comment by wishmewell

Oh wow dear, I knew the industry was suffering but the LA Times and the Tribune?

Kind of makes me glad that I decided to go into education instead of journalism.

Hopefully it is not as dire as it sounds but I suppose only time will tell.

Only time, that’s for damn sure… ::Sigh::

Comment by Kendall

But newspapers have great sunday coupons and we can’t live without those.

Riiiiight. Almost. Good thing my newspaper doesn’t have a Sunday edition….

Comment by rs27awesome

When I read about the Tribune Co., I began thinking of backup plans in my head. While I don’t work tfor that media company, Lord knows we’ve all seen cutbacks, layoffs and everything in between.

I hope your paper isn’t effected like mine and so many others have been. I hope we can all make it out of these tough economic times with our jobs as journalists still intact.

My paper has a very small staff, as we’re only twice per week – I also write for the nearby daily occasionaly. So we should be safe. But maybe I’ll have to think of a backup plan, too. Any ideas?

Comment by E.P.

You should blame Al Gore for creating the internets.

That bastard.

Comment by Matt

I feel for you! The newspaper industry is so interesting, because people will never stop being interested in the news, its just the form its delivered in. There has to be some way to get people to continue buying papers….oy!

So true! News is always in demand, but the form has changed. Found an article today (http://weekendamerica.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/12/13/death_of_news/) that might give a little hope to newspapers remaining important. I can only hope for the best, after all, at this point.

Comment by Amy

I work relatively close to the LA Times building downtown, so I’ve heard some general grumbling about the cutbacks. It’s awful..Keep on keepin’ on girl!

Thanks hun!

Comment by hautepocket

Ugh. How depressing. All we can do is plow through it, eh?

What other option is there? Le sigh.

Comment by Akirah

I used to work for a small town newspaper, too. Get out now.

I love the news industry much too much to give up on it.

Comment by Arjewtino

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