They felt thin and weak in my hand this morning. Two extremely lean newspapers, plastic wrapped and waiting on my doorstep. I've subscribed to the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News for a long time. We've been so fortunate to have two daily newspapers in the Salt Lake City market. The bill to "re-up" came just yesterday and without hesitation, my check is in the mail.
But changes are coming. It can't be denied. We've heard about the newsroom layoffs, the lack of print advertisers during a down economy, and the gutting of classifieds' revenue by other online entities who do it for free.
The industry is on the edge of a cliff. Will it fly or jump? Most importantly, will it hang onto its sage newsroom management and senior reporters? Will they be there to mentor the newbies who may not understand how easily their words can ruin reputation or influence government and business for better or worse?
both papers suddenly announced they were going completely online? Advertisers who've doubted the effectiveness of online ads would have only one option if they wanted to be in the Deseret News or Tribune....get used to online news. As more advertisers take the plunge, new forms of measurement will follow to satisfy those who live and die by the numbers.
Kindle and iPhone offered Tribune and Deseret News subscriptions? Sure, I can currently subscribe to other larger papers, but I want local news. I'd be the first to buy in, because I refuse to spend my carefully rationed free time in front of a computer monitor. Just last week, in five quick minutes, I bought a book from Amazon.com on my computer and it was downloaded wirelessly to my iPhone. I quite enjoy reading from the device.
And what if...
in their hard copy absence, a group of skilled and fresh-out-of-work reporters could cobble together the financing to create a brand new Salt Lake newspaper...the kind you can still hold in your hand when technology hurts the weary eyes. That would be a blast. And I hope it happens.
No news reruns.
The news industry can't fill the online space with re-runs. This is the information age and those who produce the content will always have a place. Two tough questions remain: Is it a welcoming, ethical, respectful place, and does it pay enough to make it worth their lifetime dedication?