Newspaper Death March 3.15.09

Definition of a zombie newspaper: a skeleton staff operating in an organization that provides them little support, no room to make a complete transition to the Web and holds a death-grip on the paper instead of modernizing it. There are a few out there already. Candidates, anyone? (

Yeah, I got one I can think of, unless they start singing a new tune . . .

More news from the land of the shambling undead:

• The Washington Post is cutting pages and shrinking, shrinking, shrinking

• This is a GREAT article on how newspapers have to evolve, and not just change a few things to survive in the short-term.

• According to, Pew Research found that 33% of readers would miss their local paper a lot if it folded; 25% would miss the paper “some”; 16%, “not much”; and 26%, “not at all.”

• How is the 9,000-circ Norwalk Reflector is doing without AP? Just fine, says publisher Andy Prutsok. There’s been no reaction from readers, he tells Josh Benton. “It’s a bigger deal to us than it is to them. Our readers couldn’t care less if we carry the same news that they can get off the evening news.”

Are you listening, Times-Dispatch? The key to your future is local news, as I predicted in a previous post.

But do you think the bow ties will have the guts to keep the paper alive by evolving, or will they just zombify and close down . . . and run away with their bonuses?

Here’s the Norwalk story.

Until next time . . .

Huh? Someone agrees with me about newspapers?

I have to take my politics one small dose at a time. So when I get tired of all the Republitard zombies, shambling around, mindlessly trying to retake control not only of Washington but of our individual rights — and our wallets — I turn to sites like Think Progress and balance everything out.


Think Progress’s Matt Yglesias agrees with me in this news report and sound bite. Today’s old-fashioned paper — virtually unchanged for more than a hundred years — doesn’t make a lot of sense in contemporary America. No matter how much I love the newspaper, the concept is no longer sustainable:

A newspaper is something much more than a just a venue for producing hard news stories. It’s a physical bundle of paper that bundles together stories of all different kinds: weather reports, sports coverage, arts, book reviews movie reviews. And there’s a particular logic to assembling that kind of bundle, but its an economic logic that has to do with the economics of printing and distributing pieces of paper and its not a logic that really makes sense in the present world.

I, personally, try not to argue with logic.