Sunday, March 15, 2009

MoreMore More on Dying Newspapers

Here are comment made by John -- no last name; the mystery, the mystery -- over at Alan Mutter's Reflections of a Newsosauer. Is he right? Is emphasis on local news some sort of American oddity? Would word-of-mouth, plus "volunteer" blog-based news, actually work for cities like Oakland and San Francisco?

The US newspaper market has always bemused me in it size and structure. There is no other news market in the world with such a strong reliance on locally driven content. This creates a byzantine cost structure that ultimately harms the industry. That mid-sized cities cannot support more than one paper is barely a surprise. The question should be whether it can support a paper at all.

A shakeout that results in a ~4-6 national papers (perhaps with the odd local insert) will bequeath a stronger industry where the parent company can capture more synergies across the group. Not only that but the funds will remain in place for high quality investiagtive reporting that is essential for a well functioning democracy.

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