Friday, October 14, 2005

NEWSPAPERS Free papers' growth threatens traditional news

Ideally, the free daily tabloids that are popping up in the Bay Area
and elsewhere like mushrooms after a rain would complement rather than
substitute for relatively high-quality paid newspapers like the San
Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News. Commuters and shoppers
would pick up the free daily tabs to learn what the city council was
up to, and still subscribe to a broadsheet for regional and world
news. Young people would enjoy the brevity of the free papers, then
graduate" to more substantive broadsheets. People who won't pay to
read would still be informed. Print journalism would flourish,
providing new entry-level jobs at the free tabs -- without diminishing
the workforce of broadsheet journalists who have deep knowledge of the
community. That was the hope. The reality appears to be shaping up
differently. While the free papers have delivered on their promise to
increase awareness of hometown issues ignored by the metro press and
local TV newscasts, they also are replacing the paid dailies in some
people's lives. The result so far has been the spread of an
abbreviated, underfinanced "news lite," adding to the woes of paid
papers that have supplied the in-depth, public-service reporting that
Americans have come to expect from print.

Source: Michael Stoll, Grade the News

No comments: