Thoughts on the news business

March 31st, 2009 by Ken

I wish I were 30 years younger.  I wish I still had the fire in my belly I had when I was 30 years old.   This is a great time to be a reporter and to be in the news business.  But, it’s also a time of change which brings fear to some, joy to others and ambivalence to most.

There are those, myself among them, who mourn the demise of our daily newspaper.   I like the excitement of picking up that morning paper and seeing what happened during the night.  Of reading the headlines, scanning the obituaries and laughing at the comics.

I like taking the paper to the local Starbucks, and catching up on all of the news that I find interesting.   I like the idea of newspapers.   But, then again, I grew up with newspapers.  There’s something familiar and important about a newspaper.

But the newspaper as we know it, is gone, just like eight track tapes,  cb radio and disco.   The news-paper will soon take its place along side the rest of those items from time gone by.

But news will not go out of business and those that deliver the news will be with us until death parts us.  It’s just that news is now delivered differently.   And we’re still trying to figure out how to make money with on-line news deliveries.

Most daily newspapers now have a web presence, where the news that finds its way to the paper, also finds its way to the internet.  Few, as yet, charge for the information.  They have internet ads, but these bring in considerably less revenue than print advertising.  

Because of the loss of revenue newspapers have to cut back.   Our own local newspaper has reduced its reporting staff to a handful.  Combined with a few editors, about a dozen news reporters and editors still work at The Olympian.  That cuts down on the number of events that can be covered and also cuts down on any investigative work previously undertaken by newspapers.

We have perhaps eight or ten serious bloggers covering Olympia and Thurston County.  Of these handful, most have no experience in reporting.  Their blogs confine themselves to regurgitating news from other sources and most just give their opinions on the news.  

There are few serious bloggers covering local news events. 

Several local people are working hard to make up for the hole left by the demise of The Olympian.  Some are contemplating the creation of a monthly printed publication.  Some are considering starting a local cable news show.  Some are considering starting a local news web page.

The rub of course comes when they try to make a profit doing it.

I wish I were 30 years younger.  I’d be one of those trying new things, experimenting with new ways of delivery, of being a pioneer in the new news.

But now, I content myself with writing my own blog, doing my radio show and publishing my monthly newsletter, now in its 22nd year.  And, I hang around on the fringes of the new news delivery and glorify in just standing next to those who will eventually become the major local news moguls.

Posted in Business, History, Informational, The Real News

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