(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.
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