Saturday, May 27, 2006

Have Newspapers Lost Their Relevancy?

While I was driving home the other day, I was listening to talk radio in Philadelphia. The hosts were commenting about the sale of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Daily News (who used to be owned by the Knight-Ridder Corporation) to a local ownership group. While everyone was rejoicing about the sale, an interesting question came up - have newspapers in America lost their relevancy? The circulation of both newspapers have declined rapidly over the past ten years, and there has been a talent drain of writers that have left the paper and moved on to greater pursuits. But "relevancy" is a hard word to define. Maybe the real question is the news still important?

A newspaper, is just one of the many instruments used to deliver the news.
A lot of people still depend on their morning paper to be delivered to get a first glance of the news ahead. Others, who are internet-savvy, wait until they get into the office and logon to see the on-line version of the paper. Still others can get snippets of information that would normally be published in a newspaper through blogs and RSS (Really Simple Syndication) newsreaders.

In Philadelphia, there are alternative weekly papers that I think do a better job of covering local news than the mainstream media. Two in particular, the Philadelphia Bulletin and the Metro are small in size (less than 20 pages) and are quicker reads than the adverage daily paper.

With these alternatives available, I believe that people will read the continue to read the news according to their reading preferences and how it fits into their lifesytle. News mediums that take the approach of increasing circulation just in one medium, run the risk of missing out on alternatives in other mediums.

I thought that the object of the game was to get more people to pay attention to the news, not to squeeze the most advertising dollars out of them.

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