Friday, March 13, 2009

Newspaper Angst

A new report by Pew is sure to create more angst among newspaper people. The report's lede says it all:

As many newspapers struggle to stay economically viable, fewer than half of Americans (43%) say that losing their local newspaper would hurt civic life in their community "a lot." Even fewer (33%) say they would personally miss reading the local newspaper a lot if it were no longer available.

I don't think this is all that big a deal. A huge chunk of people don't read the paper any way, so 33% saying they would miss it is no big surprise. I am a little surprised that among regular paper readers, 10% would not miss it at all and another 10% "not much." But in general this reflects what we've all known -- newspapers are no longer as important a part of life in a community, or its people, than they used to be.

The days of being everything to everyone, they may be gone. That common tie that brings a community together? It was the newspaper, among a few others. Those common ties are unraveling.

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