Change is inevitable.
Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher of change, posed that if you put your finger in a stream you can never put it back in the same spot for that water that you once touched has moved on. Change has definitively turned many of the nation’s economies into a championship fight, and its punches have greatly impacted our Fourth Estate.
I cite you the change in the economy and the change in the viewing and reading habits of television, newspapers and magazines. Only politicians can remedy the fragile national economy while increasing the reading and viewing numbers of the public is a mountain the information industry may never climb, and paradoxically that mountain is the Internet.
The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reports “The Internet news audience – roughly a quarter of all Americans – tend to be younger and better educated than the public as a whole.” Pew failed to report that the young have the attention span of a gnat as they continue criticizing the wounded mainstream press.
In 1950 there were 1,772 morning and evening papers delivered daily across America. Today that number is hovering around 1,435. The only city paper with a daily circulation more than 1 million is The New York Times.
So, what about our local paper, The Examiner? The keyword here is “local.” That’s 110 continuous years of local. Veteran publisher Steve Curd is on a high wire, waking with a balance pole made of caution and optimism. He laments eliminating the Monday paper, but economics dictated he do so.
“We were having a record year until the last 30 days, so I had to make a decision to eliminate the Monday paper or reduce staff. Our readers understand, and we have had few complaints. We have increased local coverage immensely, and we will continue to be the voice of Eastern Jackson County and like most newspapers, we too have an interacting modern Internet web site,” he said.
As scores of American businesses line up seeking government bailouts, no one is waiting in line representing the newspaper industry. President Thomas Jefferson once said, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government. I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
I give you President John Adams’ toast: Independence forever.
And happy new year!
In a world of change, newspapers struggle
Change is inevitable.