Newspaper demise hurts us
I haven’t read the Seattle PI on a regular basis in several years, every since the Seattle Times moved from an afternoon paper to a morning paper. I changed and started reading the Times.
But the end of the PI tomorrow, is a sad time for me, as it should be for anyone who craves knowledge and is interested in his community. And, while the PI seldom covered local Thurston County news, it did cover state government and state government is, in many ways, Thurston County.
Tomorrow is the last day for the PI. It has gone the way of many local landmarks. But, it’s more than that.
Newspapers help us keep informed. Newspapers help us learn about our community. They carry police news and local govenrment actions. They list the marriages and the divorces. They list those who have been born and those who have died. They are, in many ways, public property.
But they are also a business and they have to make money to survive. And recently, no newspaper has been making money. Classified advertising, which often made up 70 percent of a newspaper’s profit, has gone to the internet.
Newspapers have gone to the internet as well, but they haven’t found a way to make up for the loss of classified revenue and so they have had to cut back.
Word has it that The Olympian has layed off another 15 people. We have to ask ourselves – - how many people do they have left? They had only 7 reporters and 4 sports reporters left at last count. I wonder how many have survived this latest cut?
And, when The Olympian goes out of business and moves what’s left of its operation to Tacoma, who will report on local government activities? Who will be around to watch local government spending? Who will be around to make certain that local government officials answer the tough questions? It won’t be The Olympian.
When that newspaper leaves us, we’ll be worse off for it.
I doubt that even bloggers like myself, will be able to fill the void, but it looks like that’s all you’re going to have left.