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