About a year and a half ago, when I started networking to move on from The Palm Beach Post, the (Denver) Rocky Mountain News was one of the papers I got in touch with. When I watched this video about the paper's final days, I thought about all the newspapers in the country. I've heard that Hearst is considering closing the San Fransisco Chronicle, too. The Chronicle? The twelfth most read paper in the country?
You could plug a name of any number of newspapers into this video. I watch it and I see my newsroom. What used to be my newsroom. I wonder what it will be like when the rubble and dust and shrapnel of our economy clears. What papers will remain? What papers will come back? Will any of it return?
To me, newspapers are about connecting you with your community, letting you know what's going on, teaching you about others in your community, whether it be through an inspirational story or a tragic one. But, most important to me is something that will not come-up on blogs or websites. That's investigative journalism. Aside from the massive job losses and the community's loss of it's valiant daily informant, I think that's the worst part. The stories that make the reader mad or leave the reader thinking 'I don't want to read about this (scandal or that issue I didn't know about)!', the story that leaves the reader incensed to stand-up and do something. The story that enlightens us, holds a politician accountable for his or her actions, or calls out the local company for outsourcing.
I am not an economist, but I can't help but think, why is nothing being done to save our source of news? Where the hell are you going to read about what banks are being saved by the government or which car you may or may not be able to buy because the company is closing for good?
Not to mention, if the newspapers do rise from the ashes, it's going to be a hell of a rat race for all the journalists who lost their jobs and want so much to work at a newspaper again.