Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Read the News Today...

Wow!-- and not in a good way.

The publisher of the Allentown Morning Call says the paper is eliminating nearly 40 editorial positions, about 25 per cent of its newsroom staff.

The news business is changing. Newspapers used to be "it." You didn't believe it until you saw it in print. Now, newspapers in their current form are on the verge of becoming irrelevant.

The internet killed the newspaper star. The Allentown Morning Call is an excellent newspaper and it has a very good web site. Like everything else, it comes down to money, and it's not just the news. I don't know the numbers from Allentown, but some newspapers used to get half their revenue from classified ads. In some places, it's down to 20 per cent. The old business model doesn't work. The internet is great. Unfortunately, at least right now, it can't generate the money at the level and the way newspapers are used to seeing-- ad revenue, subscriptions, and newsstand sales.

We're all in this together. Something that hurts one method of news delivery hurts us all. It's a new world out there, and we have to figure out how to make it work. A much leaner, trimmer newspaper may be one of the answers, but that doesn't mean I don't have sympathy for those losing their jobs.

By the way, I have an unsolicited advice for some of our newspaper friends and their web sites. I don't think the Morning Call does it. I've seen it in a few other locations here in our area. There will be a short internet blurb on "breaking news." It usually ends with the line "for more, see tomorrow's editions of ----------." No! They just don't get it. The internet has trained people to expect the information NOW. When you ask people to come back later, or wait until tomorrow's newspaper hits the streets, all you're accomplishing is driving your readers to another source of information.