Or, more accurately stated, another affirmation that the newspaper is, well, old news. The Washington Post reports that the Rocky Mountain News will cease to exist as of tomorrow. This news follows Wednesday’s report in the Huffington Post that the San Francisco Chronicle is facing a similar fate. And, of course, there are other major newspaper conglomerates that have recently faced similar financial woes (i.e. the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, recently joined the Chicago’s Tribune Co. and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in declaring bankruptcy). What does this all mean for the future of newspapers, especially the printed version? Is it even surprising or new news to hear about the decline of these great newspapers?
I don’t know how to answer those questions, but I know that I feel particularly sad to hear about these casualties since I grew up reading newspapers–any that I could get my hands on. This habit has since died. I have taken up a different form of getting my fill of the news in the way of online newspaper websites. But still, everytime I get my hands on a hard copy of the newspaper, I fondly recall my previously obnoxious habits. For example, I used to keep newspapers for weeks in order to refer back to old stories just so I could reference back and stay informed on the “whole” story as it unfolded throughout the course of any particular news item. My room was an awful cluttered mess and a fire hazard to boot.
I can anticipate someone may say that the decline of conglomerate newspapers is a good thing because, among other reasons, these conglomerate media groups are potentially less accountable than a smaller media group. Therefore, so be it. But I’m not positive I feel that way. Doesn’t the fall of these great newspapers mean something more? Aren’t the survival chances of newspaper companies, and more specifically the printed version of their news, now based on the economic vitality of these conglomerates? If so, then I fear we may see an increasingly greater number of such casualties that will end the newspaper business as I once loved it. Then again, I’m just talking old news right?