Monday, April 30, 2007

Local Newspapers Dying - How Are Local Governments and Local Citizens Affected?

I was listening to AM talk radio today on the topic of the continuing reduction of local newspapers while some national newspapers are seeing new growth.

As local newspapers and local media begin to disappear, who will publicize local citizens and local governments?

Blogs & the web came to mind. There seem to be some opportunities for channeling the voice of local peoples through the web, and I hope that increased communication between local governments and local citizens will result. I fear that a continued lack of accountability(due to lack of publicity) in local government and increased abuses of power will ensue as the shift in media formats and communication continues.

It seems evident that national media outlets are less concerned with local events - that's not their market or coverage. Increased national media focus will likely further isolate the average citizen. It is much easier to affect change on the local level in the areas in which we live. Our federal government seems to be less representative of its people as our voices are squelched by the broadcasts of national and world media giants.

Where can our voices be heard? Will free speech be tolerated by national media when local views are shared? Are local views relevant to national or global media outlets? To whom are media outlets responsible?


Unknown said...

I am of the opinion that local newpapers are NOT losing their footing, but gaining a local presence elsewhere.

Having spent 2.5 years in the newspaper industry working with both large and small newspapers. The large newspapers are in fear of the locals. They fear the local paper will take away the ability for them to produce a "local" section.

This may be why I've recently seen many acquisitions by the big guys of the little guys. Mind you, the local papers are strong and individuals can most definitely become a small paper to challenge the normal train of thought.

Lars Rasmussen said...

According to the Newspaper Association of America, daily newspapers in the United States ARE dying as the decline in circulation since 1990 continues.

"US newspapers again suffered declines in their measured print readership, with the average daily circulation for 745 US newspapers falling by 2.1 per cent between October and March."

"Although newspapers are attracting audiences on the web, now one of the main sources of news, the switch to online readers does not always compensate for the revenues lost from declining print advertising."

Doesn't sound as if local & metro U.S. papers are gaining any footing, even on the web. The continued acquisitions by global media corporations further illustrate the death throes of the local newspaper.

This is "a critical time in the newspaper industry, when defections of readers and advertisers to the Internet has sharply eroded newspaper profits and raised doubts about the industry's long term future. In the past year two newspaper empires, Knight Ridder Inc. and Tribune Co., have put themselves on the market after pressure from restive shareholders."