Monday, March 23, 2009

I want to be the first to say it: Newspapers are killing themselves

I just read The Ann Arbor News is closing its doors in July. They will join the Rocky Mountain News, The Seattle Inteligencier, and numerous other daily newspapers that will close their doors and blame it, in part, on the Internet.

I want to be the first to say Newspapers, especially journalists and editorial page editors, have done this to themselves. Under their watch the federal government has grown progressively bigger without their objection. In fact, the federal government's growth has been applauded and encouraged by many journalists whose liberal bias supports the notion that government can and should do more, and the more the government provides the better.

We're quickly arriving at a point where our federal government does so much and our state and local government relatively little, that most of the news fit to print comes out of a single location: Washington DC. Exactly how many newspapers and TV news shows does it take to cover a single city in America?

In the Detroit area there's only one locally-produced news program in the morning on Fox affiliate, WJBK. NBC, ABC, and CBS all produce their morning shows out of NY (one city) covering their favorite two topics, Hollywood and Washington DC. On those local channels the only local content is weather and traffic, and a brief three minute news interruption.

The blogosphere is hardly to blame. Most bloggers are covering the same national stories everyone else covers coming from the same locations--Hollywood and DC. Journalists like to follow the money trail, and since most the money is in those two locations it makes sense there's less interesting news everywhere else.

In a subsequent article I'll see if I can substantiate my hypothesis by looking at the growth in federal budgets, the growth in programs, and the decline in newspaper readership.

This quick article is just so I can go on record as having thought of this first. Actually, I thought of it a few days ago, but posted some comments on other blogs today and was finally inspired by the news story above to post here.

Stay tuned.