The economic plight of daily newspapers should be of concern to everyone. With declining revenues from paid circulation, classified advertising and display advertising, the ability of the papers to provide good journalism is being seriously threatened. In a world where journalists are compensated on a pay per click basis deep coverage of important topics is being supplanted by shallow coverage of celebrity travails and pop politics.
Two things bought this into very clear focus for me last month. First I had the occasion to assist a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter working on a series about the growth of the defense intelligence community in our area. The reporter has been working on this series since summer; a rare occurrence in today’s decimated newsrooms. Second, in the New York Times Magazine last month, Andrew Rice wrote an article entitled “Putting a Price on Words” that delved deeply into the online economics of journalism. The picture he paints isn’t very pretty.
You can read this month’s column here.