As you have read in this column over the last year, newspapers are in trouble. We have lost some of our best-known ones and others are bleeding red ink. But the Seattle Times is bucking the trend for now. While the community has gone from two daily papers to one, that one--the Times--seems to be weathering the storm. That is good "news" for an industry that is competing with the Web, lack of interest, and the cuts that are overburdening the staff who remain. It is also good news for us as citizens and readers. We need a non-biased press. With the talk show radio and TV venom and partisanship that is spewed daily on both sides of the political spectrum, people need to know the facts so they can decide for themselves if the health care reforms will ever work or if the economy is coming back or what is happening in the world. One of the genre that is doing pretty well however are community newspapers.
A couple of years ago, Time magazine had a very good article on this subject. I remember years ago, a person saying that the day would come when we wished for the daily news that we could hold in our hands, come back to later in the day, and see the local sales. This wish sounds, smells, and looks like a daily newspaper to me.
The American Journalism Review has lots to say on the say on the subject also. This piece is an excellent assessment of other sources of media and how they stack up to newspapers. I, for one, hope that we see a resurgence of the big papers. We need them now more than ever.