Saturday, October 24, 2009

Newspapers - The Struggle To Survive.......

Despite all of the ragging I have done on my hometown newspaper, the Advocate of late, and despite how I intend to keep voicing my displeasure with the direction it going under present management, until I see a positive change in the quality of their product.......I do not envy the owners' task of trying to make it both a more credible, reputable publication, or to keep the ledger printed in black ink each month. Despite the recent layoffs in the newsroom at the New York Times, and the constant number of newspaper closings and bankruptcy filings by other old dailies, I still am not hearing death throes from newspapers in general. What I am seeing and hearing though, is that the time for them to stop the bleeding and streamline their operations to a point that remains both profitable AND credible, is running out.

Print news is still a bargain, but signs are there that they are circling the wagons. While the papers in newsracks are still sold on the honor system, that is trusting that you'll deposit the correct change and take out only what you paid for, look at the shrinking size of the daily paper. I mean, you could walk into the corner Valero, and pull out five Advocates and fold them under your arm, hand Mustafa 50 cents, and he'd be none the wiser. Apparently, newspapers are starting to tighten their belts - up here at least. Wasn't long ago that you could drop in at 4am and there would be a pile of yesterday's papers waiting to be sold or recycled. I rolled in tonight from Austin at 7:00, and immediately stopped at the corner Shell for a mas. Same thing happened twice more, before I was content just to go home and read it online, and browse thru my Austin Statesman from this morning, and my Marble Falls weekly Highlander.

As much as I wish I could come up with a solution for printed news, I guess I'll just be content to sit back and hope they figure out an answer. I do find it ironic, that with Google being my source for neighborhood pizza joint phone numbers, that on my way out of my apartment to the truck, and on the front stoop of each establishment I went to looking for a newspaper, I found myself tripping over those damned yellow bags of six inch thick Yellow Pages with..........a gazillion PRINTED phone numbers. Looks like the frickin' phone company is even slower to get the message than the Daily Planet, eh Lois and Clark? I haven't had a land line for two years, and I have had enough phone books delivered to my door to burn and keep warm for both winters........go figure.