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Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Victim of the Internet

I come from the perhaps the last generation of those who mainly got their news from newspapers. I could spend a morning enjoying the Sunday paper and I still like to pour over the paper over breakfast. But the newspaper industry has been hard hit from the Internet with much less advertising particularly with classifieds going to places like Craigslist and fewer and fewer people reading the physical paper with young people getting their news from the Internet and the myriad news (and comedy) channels and TV. Newspapers have had to shrink staff and reduce the quantity and quality of their product.

This crisis hit home last week with the redesign of the Chicago Tribune. I understand the need for a paper to freshen up its image and can look beyond the extra color and fluff. But it is what's missing that bothers me. Two sections (Business and Local News) have been merged into the first section with business news more focused on personal finance than business. The Sunday Perspective (The Tribune's version of the Week in Review) has become a 3-page editorial/op-ed. But most dramatically is a significant drop in the coverage of real national and international news.

The Tribune hit its nadir last Saturday. The day after the bailout passed the house and was signed by the president, the front page had only one story—on the dating habits of suburban teens. The bailout story was on page 16.

The Tribune picked an interesting time to have their redesign, a month before the elections and with both Chicago baseball teams about to start their (short-lived) march into the playoffs. Perhaps they felt few would unsubscribe during this time. I went ahead and subscribed to the New York Times (instead of just skimming it online) because I still crave real news with my coffee. I'll get both papers for a while and if the Tribune doesn't recover I may have to say goodbye to my old friend.

2 comments:

  1. I come from the perhaps the last generation of those who mainly got their news from newspapers.

    I wonder whether there will be much of a generational gap between people relying on the Internet today and their descendants.

    I say this because it is hard to imagine a major new innovation that would change our lives.

    Sure technology is always changing, but changes in the foreseeable future are small compared to the widespread use of computers and the Internet.

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  2. "I say this because it is hard to imagine a major new innovation that would change our lives."

    Did people feel the same way when television became widespread and people started to get their news that way? After all, you had sound AND moving images - what more was left?

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