New Report Urges Newspapers To Change, But Not If It Means Cutting Costs

from the both-ways dept

Last week, we discussed the fact that while large newspapers are struggling, smaller papers that serve their local community continue to thrive. This really isn’t too surprising, since small-town newspapers that know their communities remain the best way for advertisers to target those markets. The idea that newspapers should focus on best serving their target market is a lesson that applies to anyone in the industry. But the The Project for Excellence in Journalism has a different take, as it decries the focus on “hyper-local coverage” in a new report about the state of the industry. The organization is particularly worried by the elimination of foreign news bureaus at many newspapers, which it sees as simply a cost-cutting move. While many publishers might see eliminating foreign news bureaus as just a way to reduce costs, it’s a move that often makes sense. The Dallas Morning News, for example, probably doesn’t need a Middle East correspondent, when that region is so fully covered through newswires and on the web. As for what the industry should do to stem its troubles, the report said that a “new economic model” must be developed. This is something we’ve been talking about for quite some time, though without some recommendations, it’s just rhetoric. There’s no reason that refocusing on local coverage can’t be part of this new model.

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Comments on “New Report Urges Newspapers To Change, But Not If It Means Cutting Costs”

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Overcast says:

You know – I still buy a paper at lunch many times.

But.. I only read the Editorial Pages. I’m not really interested so much in what these reporters have to say. There’s too much bias, it’s not really ‘fair’ reporting anymore. I’ll read the sports page and maybe a couple of the core articles too.

Plus – for nationwide news, it’s really easier to get it on the web. Local news; however, is close to impossible to get on the web.

It may actually be an issue that many smaller communities lack solid web pages, more than anything.

dallas says:

It depends somewhat on the definition of “hyper-local coverage.”

Our local daily offers weekly inserts zoned by area which cover “local” events. Their coverage includes school news, youth sports teams and the play at the local senior citizen center. It may be local, but it ain’t really news.

If “local” meant taking a hard look at local political issues with the same scrutiny that they give the metropolitan area, then that would be worth my time.

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