“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” —Mark Twain
Not so with newspapers. The decline was heralded long ago, even before social media and the internet. From my association of nearly 50 years in the newspaper field, starting at the very bottom to the very top and a lot of jobs in between, the death knell was when the chains started skinning them alive like a mad school of piranha.
First to go were the cold-type composition guys. Then adv. typesetting & paste-up departments were merged. Cities with multiple papers woke up to just one paper. Small town independent weeklies were absorbed, staffs reduced, content became shared; all of a sudden you were reading more about items two towns over than your own.
This all came flooding back as I was reading a guest blog by Linda G. Hill over at the Harsh Reality blog. She titled it the Decline of the Newspaper, but her angle was one I hadn’t seen before. Her connection is neither from editorial nor advertising, she is on the circulation/delivery team.
“Those of you who know me from my own blog (the percentage is low, so I know I’m speaking to only a few), know that I’m a stay-at-home mom and that my only paying job is my paper route. In the two years that I’ve been a newspaper carrier I’ve watched a steady decline. Not only has the number of houses I deliver to decreased – I lost two last week alone – so has the size of the paper.”
Her blog is a nice slice of life, viewed as she delivers the paper. But she felt compelled to divert to comment on the sorry state of newspapers. As did the responders in the comments field; OM, who has built up the Harsh Reality site to over 28,000 followers has amassed a diverse group, many of whom have had ties to the news biz. They responded with informative insights for all the readers.
I would suggest you bloggers who have any interest in making a living as writers, read what Linda had to say.