February 2010
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A little story about my local newspaper

So, the other day I was in the convenience store near my house.  I had not picked up a copy of the local newspaper in quite some time, so I looked around for one.  I couldn’t find it anywhere so I asked the checkout clerk, who looked at me rather dead pan and said “they went under about a year ago.”

What? I hadn’t even noticed my own local paper was gone, for a year?

A quick Google search and I found a notice on their website saying that the newspaper was no longer published and a blog entry from a former reporter summing up the end of the newspaper.

Sadly, the Millbrook Round Table was just one of scores of local newspapers forced to close down, because the holding company of many of them, Journal Register Co., defaulted on loans and was de-listed from the New York Stock Exchange. However, despite the sympathy I feel for all of those reporters, editors, photographers, graphic designers, proofreaders, ad salespeople and delivery people, no one can say we didn’t see this coming. The truth is, newspapers have been an antiquated technology, and try as they might, they haven’t been able to find a new business model that would enable them to be profitable in the post-paper world of instant, online publishing.

Sound even vaguely familiar?  All of the small local newspapers bought up by a big consolidator, who then defaults and cuts costs.  Caught behind the technology curve, unable to make up the lost ground, local institutions that have been in place for more than a century fold and disappear in the wink of an eye, sometimes completely un-noticed.

Sadly, I will say that the radio business seems to be on the same trajectory.

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3 comments to A little story about my local newspaper

  • J. Aegerter

    Times change, and as someone once said, “Technology Always Wins”. The Internet is wreaking havoc with the print media, as well as the broadcast media. More voices tied together globally. It will be interesting to watch how our Constitutional Freedoms and Liberties will hold in the near future. With the current bunch (and the last bunch) running the United States, the future looks dubious and uncertain. Maybe another revolution is coming, who knows. I happen to think that things will get much worse before and if they get better.

  • admin

    Well, we can only do our own little part as best we can, I suppose. My main concern about the decline and loss of radio is that more and more information is centralized. It is very easy to manipulate or choke off information over the internet. Most people believe that it is this big free thing that goes everywhere and everyone has a voice. Perhaps right now, but there are seven, count them, seven major routing points in the world. All those Cisco routers can be remotely accessed and any number of IP addresses can be blocked. China does it all the time. Here, in this country, it happens often on a commercial basis. One day, the powers that be will try it. Once that happens we will be living in a censored society. Perhaps I should move to Canada.

  • J.Aegerter

    We need more voices in broadcasting and more local-ism. The current bunch of broadcasters are lazy, self-serving, copy-cats that are trying to ride the laurels of the past when there was easy money in almost any broadcast license. Today, a broadcaster has to OVER-PRODUCE with variety, innovations, and just plain ingenuity in programming. It is no longer “easy-street”! The satellite feeds have dominated the bands, and the truly dedicated stations are still making a living. The answer is a simple one; come up with something different! As far as Canada is concerned, I would never move there. Quebec with its French fascism and laws about what language a sign has be be written in, and all of their stupid politically correct laws on freedom of speech, plus their socialist health care system, would be a distinct NO-NO to me. Canada is not like it used to be.

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