Monday, June 12, 2017
I just returned from two weeks in California visiting relatives. What struck me during the sojourn is how jejune the newspapers are there. Even the mighty Los Angeles Times is a shadow of what it was. One wonders how much longer the print medium can sustain itself in the face of the internet. Based on what I read, it can't be much further into the future. The newspaper industry is in a death spiral. It cuts staff to slow expenses, but in doing so, it cuts news and by slicing content, it continues to lose frustrated readers, and by doing that, major advertisers abandon print. The missing columns of news are an incentive for readers to look elsewhere online and once they have adjusted to reading that way, they don't come back to "bird-cage" liner. Publishers understand this but they are hamstrung by their big presses and complex distribution. Despite brave pronouncements, such as the Sacramento Bee's slogan of "160 years of independent journalism," the newspaper industry is too sick to defend itself. Look for more to abandon daily editions and to move online.