newspapers…an endangered species??

Earlier today Stephen Frank issued his latest report that includes a heading “are newspapers yesterday’s news.” In his email he included commentary from the SF Chronicle on this very topic. This is a relevant 21st century issue for discussion.

While we can thank former V.P. Al Gore for inventing the Internet perhaps he is to be blamed for the future demise of the print media as we know it.

In his book entitled “The Vanishing Newspaper,” Philip Meyer predicts that newsprint in the U.S. will die in 2043.He argues that the major product of newspapers is not news but influence. A very interesting assessment.

With the explosion of internet technology and search engines such Google we have access to literally thousands of stories dating back more years than I care to acknowledge. There is a cautionary note to this comment in that what we find in utilizing the search engines are stories that have appeared in some form of print or broadcast media such as the You Tube and sites. Even as the print media experiences a major drop-off in classified advertising revenues, some smaller family owned newspapers may disappear but the majors will survive.

As bloggers, not only can we refute the print media bias but have the technology to immediately respond with our own research and opinions. Even the major newspapers have added their own blogs where we can immediately respond to their latest editorials.

There was a time when we had three major networks for our TV coverage. CBS, NBC and ABC. Along came CNN and their 24/7 coverage of the first Gulf War which opened the door for cable to compete for advertising dollars. I add the world of television to this discussion in that they too are starting to hurt in the Nielsen rating game. What should we talk about 24/7 and still keep our audience has become a challenge.
In our C.E. analysis our opinion is that many of today’s reporters are “creating” rather than “reporting” the news.

This ongoing shake out is probably better news for conservatives than liberals as you read the editorial pages of today’s major newspapers. Yet, at the same time, talk radio is balancing the scales as we hear more conservatives covering policy issues with listeners as we sit in traffic and tune into radio on our way to and from work.

Back in Oct of 2005 Ron, Anna Winship and myself did an editorial on the Cutting Edge-a talk show dedicated to “media bias” which is one reason for the explosion of the blogosphere. In that Commentary we reviewed fifty years of media news coverage from the first TV programs to the current day with hundreds of news anchors and 24/7 reporting. You can still watch that CE Editorial “on target” episode which remains on our home page at

OK. And now for some feedback from you. What is your major source of news?

Local newspapers

National newspapers (such as USA Today or the Wall Street Journal)

Magazines (such as Time or Newsweek as you wait in the doctors office)

Network TV channels 2, 4 or 7

Cable news channels such as CNN MSNBC, FOX, PBS or Telemundo

Free Internet newspapers such as the Sac Bee, NY Times, Wash Times, Wash Post

Your barber while you sit in the chair. Sorry, I don’t qualify for this one.

Email from bloggers

Your next door neighbor

At the water cooler in your office

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