City Journal Spring 2014

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Spring 2014
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Nicole Gelinas
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It seems that all these old papers all make the same wrong decisions. The result is the same, the paper folds eventually. They cut staff, the paper gets smaller and smaller. The editing and proofreading disappear, resulting in ridiculous errors. It just results in more people going, why am I paying for something that just isn't worth it anymore.

And that's before you get to the bias. Most of today's "reporters" are completely out of touch with reality as the general public sees it. They present things that are opinion as news. They don't even seem to understand the difference anymore.

It seems like they don't want big stories anymore. My brother dumped what should be a huge story in my area on the local paper, are they interested? Nope, not one bit.

News papers should be taking on corrupt local politicians not cozying up to them. That's what papers were once for and its something they don't do.

Will that paper in New Orleans see its 200th birthday? Doesn't look good.
There is some small comfort to be found when attributing the demise of metropolitan newspapers to journalistic liberal bias. But the culprit is actually a combination of demographics and technology. When it comes to news, it’s the information we value and not the wood-pulp, although lining your cat’s litter box with yesterday’s New York Times brings a smile to some faces. When you can easily receive your monthly bank statement, your daughter’s “can I do a sleepover?” text message and the business news in Outer Timbuktu on your IPhone, then perusing the local news rag appears as outdated as hitching up your great, great grandfather’s Conestoga.

Advertisers find gathering information much easier when it comes to internet sites as opposed to tracking ads delivered to newsstands and to bushes next to your front porch. And full page ads in the local newspaper are far more expensive and less likely to target prospective customers than spreading your ad dollars across various websites who reach specific demographics.

Lastly, folks in major urban markets don’t read anymore. It’s not that they don’t want to read, it’s more than likely they can’t read. There is a high correlation between functional illiteracy within urban areas and those newspapers who have been forced into thrice weekly vs. daily printing. Oakland, Detroit and now New Orleans illustrate that correlation and other urban newspapers will soon feel the pain as our city schools continue to turn out graduates who can’t read even the simplistic prose offered by today’s media outlets.
Just think all those journalism students who won't get a chance to "make a difference ." What a shame . Anyway the rags ain't been much since HL Mencken and Hedda Hopper quit the scene .
Mr. Olson's comment only reinforces what Mr. Davis so ably points out. Newspapers have chosen the means of their own demise. They have somehow come to believe that straightforward, no-nonsense, unbiased reporting doesn't sell papers. So they bombard their readers with biased garbage. And their readers are responding . . . by cancelling subscriptions. It's too bad, and in many ways it's sad. But nobody should feel sorry for the newspapers. They've, quite literally, written themselves out of relevance (and existence).
Gallup reports that the percentage of Americans who feel "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in newspapers is now 25%. That is close to an all-time low and is down from 51% in 1979. That loss of trust didn't happen with the internet, since the figure cited above was already down to 30% in 1987. For television news, the same statistic of trust is even worse, now at 21% from 46% in 1992. I hope Ms. Gelinas will comment on the print and TV news media's distinct loss of credibility since I suspect that that loss is one of the main causes of newspapers' present financial trouble.
I honestly would subscribe to my local paper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, if it switched to a thoughtful, once a week format like The Economist.
B. Samuel Davis July 11, 2012 at 1:10 PM
"As a leaner, less frequent paper faces pressure from powerful advertisers and civic leaders, it will be tempted to spin the news"

"Spinning" the news is what big time newspapers do all the time, nearly exclusively on behalf of the Democratic majority, and helps ensure that Democrats stay in the majority. I may be bitter as a result of being in the NYC metro area, but I see nothing wrong with newspapers going the way of the dodo. There are plenty of resources on the internet to make up for the loss.

In other words, newspapers have failed the public - their spinning of the news in favor of the small numbers of people who adhere to a liberal Democratic philosophy have made the papers unreadable. The worst of it is the AP and Reuters stories that many carry - the head of the AP more or less confirmed what everyone already knew about bias at the AP with his recent remarks.

When the New York Times finally, and inevitably, folds or goes all internet, I intend to celebrate, along with, I am sure, many others. Ditto for other national newspapers. These businesses knew or should have known that the average newspaper reader was older, more conservative, yet they elected to to slant the paper toward an ideology that was for the most part rejected by many of their readers and potential readers.

As for the local papers, I have yet to find one that didn't have the same bias. I know nothing about the Times Picayune, but it is a safe bet that it is slanted liberal pro-Democratic as the rest.

In short, good riddance to bad rubbish.