The Arizona Republic‘s publisher, Gannett Newspapers, announced long-awaited layoffs of almost 100 people, including some of its long-time reporters. It’s part of a national epidemic. Who’s going to write the newspaper? Interns and journalism students, apparently. Jon Talton has been blogging about the things he couldn’t say when he was a columnist for the paper:
I learned a few things, chiefly that Gannett is not really a newspaper company. Yet it will be remembered as the company that destroyed newspapers.
Gannett has its roots in small newspapers and it never could shake its inferiority complex. …Gannett didn’t believe it had anything to learn from excellent newspapers. A top executive used the word “metro-itis” to describe, and quash, any effort to do high-impact journalism, build superior reporting and editing staffs or develop sophisticated content.
To these leaders, who by this time were highly influential in the industry, small and “lite” papers had all the answers. Lite being the operative phrase.
So maybe it’s not just teh intramawebs that are killing newspapers. It may have something to do with content so fluffy you can finish reading your morning paper before your cereal has time to get soggy. More and better journalism, please.
[Dead Sea Newspaper, Wikimedia Commons]