Mourning Old Media's Decline

What You Should Have Read, Oct. 29, 2008

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Mourning Old Media's Decline

The New York Times media columnist David Carr rounds up a week's worth of bad news for those in the business of publishing words on paper. On Tuesday, The Christian Science Monitor announced that, after a century, it would cease publishing a weekday paper. Time Inc., the Olympian home of Time magazine, Fortune, People and Sports Illustrated, announced that it was cutting 600 jobs and reorganizing its staff. And Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the country, compounded the grimness by announcing it was laying off 10% of its work force -- up to 3,000 people. The Tribune Company declared that it would reduce the newsroom of The Los Angeles Times by 75 more people, leaving it approximately half the size it was just seven years ago. The Star-Ledger of Newark, the 15th-largest paper in the country, which was threatened with closing, will apparently survive, but only after it was announced that the editorial staff would be reduced by 40%. And two weeks ago, TV Guide, one of the famous brand names in magazines, was sold for one dollar, less than the price of a single copy. Clearly, the sky is falling. The question now is how many people will be left to cover it. The paradox of all these announcements is that newspapers and magazines do not have an audience problem -- newspaper Web sites are a vital source of news, and growing -- but they do have a consumer problem.
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