Newspaper Death March 3.17.09

• The final edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer was published today. They go Web-only from now on. Good luck with that. (Story here.)

• Former staffers of the Rocky Mountain News are creating a paid-subscription newspaper on the Web. Holy frijolé! Somebody say Subscription? Good luck with that. (Story here.)

• Big-eyed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to bailout newspapers, now . . . at least the ones in San Francisco. Nance! Babe! Trust me — they’ll turn it all down! Conflict of interest with the government they’re reporting on. But, look — good luck with that. (Story here.)

• Pew Research yesterday released their latest findings on the state of newspapers.

US newspapers are in a state “perilously close to free fall” and time is running short for them to find a business model and reinvent themselves, according to a study released on Monday.

The Pew Research Center?s Project for Excellence in Journalism said its 2009 report on the State of the News Media was the “bleakest” it has issued since it began doing the annual studies six years ago.

Reinvent themselves? You mean, evolve? (Where have I heard that before?)

Hey, good luck with that. (Story here.)

• The Opinionator at the NYT has their own take on the Shirky piece I linked to yesterday (READ IT NOW!) and on comments by writer Stephen Berlin Johnson. “Why Newspapers Can’t Be Saved, but the News Can” is necessary reading.

• The Tacoma and Olympia newspapers both announced layoffs Monday, totaling 45. Both will give their staffs pay cuts. (Story here.) Good luck to everyone!

Thanks to the late, great Orson Welles for the pic.

The Arrogance of Newsday: Trying to Control the Internet

“We plan to end the distribution of free Web content.”

That’s a direct quote from Tom Rutledge, CEO of Cablevision, which owns Newsday, the newspaper that covers Long Island, NY.

Here’s the whole story. It’s obvious that he and the powers-that-jerk-themselves-off high in the ivory towers of Cablevision have no concept of what the Internet is, or how users regard “content providers.”

Not highly.

As a friend of mine Twittered today, “Four years in new media taught me that people expect free online content. I predict Newsday will be sadly disappointed.”

Deservedly so.
You think any of them will ever get it?

Out with a whimper…

The Rocky Mountain News, Denver’s newspaper for the city’s entire history, will shut down Friday after nearly 150 years of operation. Rich Boehne, chief executive officer of Scripps, the paper’s parent company, said in a prepared statement, “The Rocky is one of America’s very best examples of what local news organizations need to be in the future. Unfortunately, the partnership’s business model is locked in the past.”

The italics are mine, because Boehne’s opinion ties in exactly with mine, as I posted yesterday in The Peter Principle is destroying our newspapers.

Here’s the whole story from the Associated Press.