thin news

I was shocked by how thin today's Washington Post was.  The Book Review section, which is ending as a stand-alone section in a few weeks, had essentially no ads.  The car ads were a single folded sheet, so 4 pages.  The help wanted section was a sheet and a half, 6 pages.  I don't see how they can survive like this.

I guess I'm one of the people responsible for the collapse of print newspapers.  I subscribe to the Sunday Post only, read both the Post and the NY Times online.  (We also get hard copies of both, plus the Wall Street Journal, at work, but I usually wind up reading online anyway.  It looks more like I'm goofing off when I'm reading in the lunch room than when I'm in front of the computer.)

9 Responses to “thin news”

  1. bj Says:

    Oddly, on Sunday morning, I noticed how thin the NYtimes was (a western edition). I also occasionally feel guilty ’cause we subscribe to the NY times, but read the Wash Post & NYT regularly online.
    I’m worried about the newspapers, too, but especially because I think they’re going to have to do some deep re-thinking of the business model. Classified ads in newspapers are just going to die, especially in the day of mobile network access.
    bj

  2. Eve Says:

    I had the same reaction to the Post today. Maybe everyone was watching the Superbowl?

  3. dave.s. Says:

    Well, we’re down from 3 daily (Post, NYTimes, and WSJ) to two (Post and NYTimes). We will likely go back up to 3 as soon as my wife’s job situation is clearer. So we are sort of doing our part – but we are part of the problem of the decline of value of newspaper ads to advertisers – if we are looking to buy something, we often order over Internet, or check prices on the Internet, or look to Craigslist. There is no road back for those guys, I think. And I’m not particularly looking forward to Carlos Slim Helu deciding what is the useful news for me to see.
    Pinch Sulzberger has made a dramatically bad series of decisions, been poorly served by his editors, and hastened the NYTimes decline. And the Grahams have been spectacularly lucky in theirs – Kaplan Test Prep! you will never go broke if you are selling something suburban parents think will help their kids. But long-term? Christian Science Monitor? BBC? Pravda? it’s hard to think what models take us forward, here.

  4. jen Says:

    I personally believe we’ll have to go through a collapse cycle with the papers. Everyone’s freeloading off them currently by reading them online more than ever but skipping on the paid copy. We’ve clearly seen that internet readers are not willing to pay for online news currently. But I believe this will come to a screeching halt when the high-quality papers have either gutterized themselves or gone under and we all realize there’s no source of news out there we can trust.
    I sometimes wonder if the real future of news reporting is NPR: funded by “donations” and a huge endowment. The other possibility is the wire services — those who actively sell news to various “publishers”. Many’s the social networking site, etc., that chooses to subscribe to the wires.

  5. urbanartiste Says:

    This is really scary and the image that keeps flashing in my mind is a science fiction scene of people’s eyes attached to laptops. It is the end of an era for newspapers, TV news reporting and magazines. The numbers of magazines folding is increasing.
    I get weekend delivery of the NY Times and ever since the new year it is dwindling week after week. NY Times Magazine is pitiful, so thin. I also get Newsday delivery, which is awful and thin. First I thought the thickness was on account of holiday flyers, but the news coverage, but there are also a lot less entertainment/leisure articles.
    On a positive note, my local town paper has doubled in size over the last year, which is now where comparable in size to a national paper. I am guessing local business are getting better advertising rates and access to local patrons via town papers. My town paper tends not to have everything online either.

  6. urbanartiste Says:

    Sorry about all the errors in that last post. I lectured about art history for 3 hours tonight and am exhausted.

  7. dave.s. Says:

    Here is a really convincing piece about the importance of local news: http://theamericanscene.com/2009/02/01/the-california-section-rip
    I have no idea of a solution, but it’s clear there’s a problem!

  8. Jackie Says:

    I’m part of the problem too– I read three newspapers online every day, but only get the weekend edition of our local one (Bmore Sun) and that only for the coupons, truly. I think it was a terrible move for newspapers to put most of their articles online for free early on when they first started feeing threatened.

  9. dave.s. Says:

    gee, Eileen, tell us how you really feel, okay? Don’t pull your punches!
    http://www.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/op_ed/view/2009_04_07_Times_pimps__pillages_Globe/

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