Breaking News?

2007-05-27

In a recent article from the Columbia University alumni magazine, David Craig wonders: "Ten years from now, will people in Dallas or Cincinnati or Pittsburgh pick up a local newspaper every morning?"

I wonder: Does it matter if the newspaper industry is dominated by businesses that are regionally owned, operated, or focused? Do people in Seattle or El Paso or Philadelphia drive regionally-designed cars to regionally-operated hardware stores while listening to regionally-recorded music? No, they drive a Toyota to the Home Depot while listening to music published by Warner Brothers or some other big conglomerate. Does anyone worry about the health of the republic because of the consolidation and centralization that has occurred in manufacturing and retail and a hundred other industries? Why is the newspaper industry any different?

Interestingly, it strikes me that in some industries, companies that offer truly local products and services are able to differentiate themselves from the big (and often bland) centralized corporations, whereas regional companies are not different enough to survive. For instance, here in Denver I don't read the Denver Post or the Rocky Mountain News, but I do avidly read the Washington Park Profile, a high quality, truly local monthly paper.

Do I think that the regional newspapers will survive? Not particularly. But I don't know that it particularly matters, either.


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal