Random Sounds And The Decline Of Traditional News Media

Sunday, 2007-April-08 at 12:24

M. David Peterson has an interesting observation about the pervasiveness of non-professional newsgathering.  It makes me even more sure that traditional news media are doomed.

I stopped purchasing my local paper regularly when there was a candidates forum with 30+ people that were running for the town council, but neither the local paper nor the local radio stations showed up.

When there is a traffic situation or a fire, radio stations from thirty miles away usually have the information before the local ones do (they are part of one of those national sound-alike networks, so they might not be permitted to deviate).  In fact, during last weekend's fire evacuation in a nearby city, I heard about it from relatives sixty miles away, who heard about it from their local radio station.

Micah J recently called me to tell me that I absolutely had to buy the next day's paper.  He had come in first in two events at a five-school track meet.  The next day, we discovered that no reporters had covered the event, so the only coverage was taken from a summary submitted by the participating coaches.

I am sure you have heard the chorus of newspaper owners that want to lock up all of their content behind pay-for-view walls, as though they could stop themselves from spinning around the drain that way.  I do not have an answer for their problems, but I do know that they really do need to have exhaustive local coverage or they will not be worthwhile.

I think the days of charging people to read the coach's summary has ended.  I could have gotten that when I drove to the school after the bus came back from the meet.  Rocky Agrawals has some advice that will probably help newspapers, if they will listen.

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