Thursday, February 5, 2009

Plight of Hartford Paper on NPR

There was an interesting story on NPR this morning about the possible demise of daily newspapers like the Hartford Courant. The reporter tried to speak to the paper's editor. No luck. The story runs down some of the problems facing newspapers -- troubled economy, online classifieds, shrinking ad revenue, the difficulty of converting online traffic into revenue, etc. It's worth thinking about what might be lost if daily papers disappear. How does that change the landscape of local arts coverage? Many of you work at the school newspaper, some of you have interned at dailies, some of you hope to work as journalists -- how would it change your life if the Hartford Courant disappeared? Seriously.


  1. Outside of losing an internship if the Hartford Courant closed it's doors, I would lose the only major daily in the state of Connecticut. While sites like CT News Junkie and My Left Nutmeg are gaining tons of traffic, they don't have have established journalists on their side. I rather rely on trained journalists to give me my news feed than citizens. While their points may be the same, there is something unnerving about reading the work of the average Joe that doesn't sit well with me. As long as people want their local news in a traditional format, the Hartford Courant will keep their presses moving at 7 p.m. every night. The day this ends, will mark the end of traditional print journalism in the state of Connecticut.

  2. I just read about the NYT concocting a 'last man standing' strategy:

    To be honest, if the Courant were to fold, this means journalists would have to step it up a couple notches. If we are adamant about keeping print journalism alive, we would collaborate and devise a plan to create/establish/fund another way for CT to get news in their hands. Journalists from newspapers across the state coming together would actually be an endearing effort to help save such an important profession.
    I agree with Ed; I don't want to read the average Joe's writing when I know there are plenty of talented and qualified writers.

    On a bit of a tangent: money needs to be put into funding reading and writing programs! The decrease of interest in these areas is very scary: if it were up to the youth of today, they'd only want news about Twilight and the Jonas Brothers.

  3. I think that losing The Courant goes so much farther beyond how it would change my life. Instead, I juxtapose myself with a retired man and woman who can barely afford basic cable, don’t know how to use turn a computer monitor, and certainly would never attempt getting caught in the World Wide Web.

    The newspaper is a main source of information for people such as these. And people such as these are most likely the main subscribers. I personally think that newspapers are in limbo right now: stuck between an audience of paper readers who are fading away and a highly technical savvy younger generation.

    Part of the problem with transitioning the newspapers onto the web is that many of the “Baby Boomers” are about to retire. Many of these people never went to college and will never be able to navigate the internet (whether it be due to financial, mental, or psychological restraint). But certainly most of them can read at a sixth grade level, or whatever elementary level that reporters are supposed to be writing at. These retiring people are the ones who fuel the printing of the newspapers, because they are purchasing the paper versions.

    Until the last of the “Baby Boomers,” I think that it will be difficult for newspapers to be totally one the net.

    On a last note, I can’t remember who said this, but one of my journalism professors pointed out that a writer commented on losing the printed papers saying this will cause readers to lose peripheral vision i.e. not being able to pick-up on stories that they may not have directly looked at, but because they were present on the side of a page, the story caught their eye.

    As for myself, I’m not too concerned. I can navigate The Courant on the web or get it in print. But I am concerned for others. This gap in the newspaper industry between those who are purchasing the paper and those who are able to review it online will eventually close, but, in my opinion, not for another 15 years.