Tuesday, March 17, 2009

News Change Continues

The newspaper industry, America’s source for news and opinion for so long, is clearly struggling to change in these difficult times where ad revenues are tightening and moving online, news is being made available free over the Internet and what and how we read is changing.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer will produce its last printed edition on today and become an Internet-only news source, leaving the city with only one mainstream daily, the Seattle Times. This in turn will put additional pressure on the money losing Times, as the two papers had a joint operating agreement, where The Times handled all non-newsroom operations for both, like printing, delivery, advertising and marketing.
The agreement is now effectively dissolved and leaves the Times in the same situation that The Denver Post found itself in after its rival, The Rocky Mountain News, folded late last month when its owner, E.W. Scripps Co., couldn’t find a buyer. In Arizona, Gannett Co.’s Tucson Citizen is set to close Saturday, leaving one newspaper in that city. Hearst has also said that it would close or sell the San Francisco Chronicle if the newspaper couldn’t slash expenses in coming weeks.

Media companies continue to fall at an alarming pace, with four newspaper companies, including the owners of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and The Philadelphia Inquirer, seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in recent months.

Detroit Media Partnership (DMP) has announced that it will launch a trial with 100 Plastic Logic e-readers to gauge reader reaction to electronic editions of The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. DMP has been cutting down its print distribution costs and a cut in home delivery of its papers to Thursday, Friday and Sunday. However the Plastic Logic large screen reader will not be fully released until 2010 which may be too late for some and makes 2009 a difficult year for all.

The demand for news I not in question but its creation, editing, collation and distribution is certainly under increasing pressure. However it is not alone and like most media sectors change is clearly gathering pace. The only thing that is certain is that tomorrow will be different.

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