Print Media: Death Knell or Phoenix Moment?Permalink +
Thu, Oct 18, 2012, 4:15 pm // Riley Sweeney
Writer's Note: Riley Sweeney here, dropping in to share my thoughts on the future of media. You can find the rest of my blog posts over at The Political Junkie
Two big stories flashed across my digital desk in the last couple of days and got me thinking about print media and its struggle to survive.
First came the news that the Seattle Times, now Seattle's only daily print newspaper, is going to give free advertising space away to the Rob McKenna campaign (and the Approve R-74 campaign). This is equivalent to an $80,000 donation to each campaign. Setting aside the fact that the Times donations seem to be aimed at opposing goals (Rob McKenna is staunchly anti-marriage equality, yet they are also giving to the equality campaign?) why, you ask, is a supposedly non-partisan newspaper giving away advertising during campaign season?
They claim it is to "provide a powerful demonstration" of the influence of the Seattle Times. (Note to self, if your business plan has you sounding like a comic book super-villain, maybe you need to rethink your plan.) The answer behind the answer is that advertising revenue continues to fall each year for the Seattle Times. They are pulling this large publicity stunt, and yes, it is a stunt, to convince businesses and campaigns of the importance of purchasing ads in their paper. The fact that it helps the first Republican to have a shot at the governor's mansion in decades is surely a footnote. Today, over 100 employees of the Seattle Times signed a letter of protest to the owner criticizing the decision.
The other thing that caught my eye was the story that Newsweek is going to cease its print version. After 80 years in the print business, they are going all digital on the first of the year. They claim it is a transition, not a goodbye, but the news also came with reports of layoffs nationwide for newspapers and periodicals.
My father, a proud newspaper enthusiast, used to scoff at the notion that print is dead. He would point to reports of print's demise with the advent of television, then cable news, then internet, saying that it survived those changes. I agree, but I feel there might be another challenging transition ahead.
One of the advantages of a newspaper, is you pay for the bundle. You don't just purchase your front page bylines, you also get the local news, the comics, the business page and the letters to the editor. You get everything all at once. Now, with the internet, consumers are able to pick and choose. The bundle no longer is our only option, we can consume our news ala-carte. With the business model of subscriptions on its deathbed, how do you fund full-time journalists?
What will the future of journalism look like? I can tell you from personal experience that the local news market needs a tentpole. While I truly enjoy reading the Cascadia Weekly, this lovely site, Get Whatcom Planning, and Latte Republic, we still need the Herald to function. If they went out of business, the rest of us would be hard-pressed to fill in the gaps.
I deeply appreciate everyone who tosses me a few dollars to keep this blog afloat, but it is not a professional business model for a media organization. We need print media - functional newspapers with full-time reporters who know their areas of expertise and have the contacts to provide context to their reporting.
I only hope there is a solution out there, because I'm fresh out of ideas and print media is rapidly running out of time.
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4 comments; last on May 20, 2015
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Wed, May 13, 2015, 5:30 pm // John ServaisUpdated | Ski to Sea race does not need to race through sensitive Chuckanut Community Forest Park for special mountain bike leg. City did not renege.
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Fri, Mar 13, 2015, 5:00 am // Dick ConoboyThe Whatcom County Council has sent discussion on changing the meth ordinance back to the Public Works, Health and Safety Committee
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9 comments; last on Mar 23, 2015
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Wed, Feb 25, 2015, 6:31 am // Dick ConoboyIn a hearing, possibly on 3 March, the Whatcom County Council will consider an ordinance changing the rules for contaminated meth use sites.
1 comments; last on Feb 27, 2015
Mon, Feb 09, 2015, 6:00 am // Dick ConoboyNot all rent-to-own propositions are an unwise method to buy a home but some are schemes to rip off the unsuspecting tenant.
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4 comments; last on Mar 03, 2015
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Fri, Jan 23, 2015, 12:13 am // John ServaisThe second annual award for Citizen Journalism will be to The Political Junkie himself who runs the Sweeney Politics blog, Riley Sweeney.
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1 comments; last on Jan 20, 2015
Sun, Jan 18, 2015, 10:14 pm // Guest writerEllen Murphy gives us a poem for this Martin Luther King day of remembrance.
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Sun, Jan 18, 2015, 9:15 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein the ridiculous is ridiculed
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Thu, Jan 08, 2015, 2:54 pm // Guest writerTani Sutley guest writes about the vacation rentals situation and presents goals for the county council to consider for improving our rural neighborhoods.
1 comments; last on Jan 10, 2015
Wed, Dec 31, 2014, 1:16 am // Guest writerDuuhhh! Try doing without it. Marian Beddill provides an overview of our rural Whatcom County water situation and the efforts to find fair solutions.
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Wed, Dec 24, 2014, 1:23 pm // Riley SweeneyThe Herald gave us their top 10 stories, Riley gives you his top 5
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2 comments; last on Dec 22, 2014
Thu, Dec 18, 2014, 12:26 pm // John ServaisBellingham Public Works shows how tone deaf they can be to business concerns. They insisted on street work that takes away up to 80 parking spaces in Fairhaven…
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5 comments; last on May 02, 2015
Thu, Dec 11, 2014, 5:05 am // Dick ConoboyThe Bellingham City Council has added an inspection component to the registration-only rental ordinance proposal of Councilmember Murphy
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Wed, Dec 10, 2014, 6:37 am // Dick ConoboyThe ban on consumer fireworks that took effect last summer is valid all year, even New Year's Eve
1 comments; last on Dec 11, 2014
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3 comments; last on Dec 10, 2014
Tue, Dec 09, 2014, 2:25 am // Guest writerTani Sutley writes of how unregulated vacation rentals are invading the Lake Whatcom watershed. She urges action before the Planning Commission meeting on 11 December.
4 comments; last on Jan 03, 2015
Wed, Dec 03, 2014, 2:20 pm // Richard LewisPoet Richard Lewis reflects on Elizabeth Warren
3 comments; last on Dec 07, 2014
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Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 9:15 am // Dick ConoboyCampus Crest Communities, Inc. has officially offered for sale the Lincoln St. property that was to be a student apartment development.
2 comments; last on Nov 23, 2014
Wed, Nov 12, 2014, 1:51 pm // John ServaisUpdated Nov 12. Howard Harris, the founder of the Bellingham silent peace vigil at the Federal Building in Bellingham, has died. He and Rosemary were leaders in our…
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Thu, Nov 06, 2014, 6:53 am // Dick ConoboyThe Campus Crest apartment complex may be the "victim" of a corporate restructuring plan.
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Tue, Nov 04, 2014, 12:28 pm // John ServaisWhile smearing Seth Fleetwood over a common tax arrangement, we discover Doug Ericksen also has a benign tax lien - one he denied.
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Mon, Nov 03, 2014, 8:14 pm // Richard LewisPoet Richard Lewis weighs in on the Tea Party values
Sat, Nov 01, 2014, 12:29 pm // Tip JohnsonOr why to vote for Nyima, the dog, for County Prosecutor
4 comments; last on Nov 03, 2014
Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 2:18 am // John ServaisA link to Riley's Political Junkie for excellent recommendations - and a few thoughts of my own.
1 comments; last on Oct 30, 2014
Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 11:01 am // Tip JohnsonIt's just how things roll in Whatcom County
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Wed, Oct 22, 2014, 2:44 pm // John LesowUpdate Oct 22: John Lesow has posted a comment with considerable more information on this issue.
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Tue, Oct 14, 2014, 6:36 am // Riley SweeneyRiley does a local political comedy show
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Wed, Oct 08, 2014, 6:24 pm // John ServaisThree final candidates for Bellingham Planning Director spoke today at a cozy 'meet and greet' of government employees and developers.
6 comments; last on Oct 11, 2014
Sat, Oct 04, 2014, 12:23 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein we see that sometimes government can do what business can't.
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Fri, Oct 03, 2014, 10:26 am // Dick ConoboyAn experienced real estate inspector provides a window to the dangeroous conditions found in rentals in Bellingham
3 comments; last on Oct 05, 2014
Thu, Oct 02, 2014, 2:33 pm // Riley SweeneyRiley files a full report of the Tea Party debate for State Leg candidates
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Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 8:00 am // Guest writerWherein a Fulbright scholar, professional engineer and successful business owner files for public office
4 comments; last on Oct 02, 2014
Mon, Sep 22, 2014, 5:07 am // Dick ConoboyLast Thursday, the Planning Commission voted to recommend the docketing of the spot rezone of 801 Samish from Residential Single to Commerical Planned (non-retail)
6 comments; last on Oct 03, 2014
Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 10:26 am // John ServaisWe post a disturbing report of a personal encounter along Samish Way, with the permission of John Stark, who experienced it.
2 comments; last on Sep 17, 2014
Tue, Sep 09, 2014, 8:21 am // Riley SweeneyRiley and John share the short list of who might replace Cathy Lehman on the Bellingham city council on January 5.
8 comments; last on Sep 10, 2014
Mon, Aug 25, 2014, 11:48 am // Terry WechslerWhile the state spends hundreds of thousands of dollars defining risks of crude by rail, Skagit County finds no significant adverse impacts of a crude-by-rail proposal.
1 comments; last on Aug 28, 2014
Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 2:06 pm // Guest writerPatrick McKee of the Sunnyland Neighborhood guest-writes about the August 11 City Council slap-dash zoning changes.
2 comments; last on Aug 23, 2014
Wed, Aug 20, 2014, 4:54 pm // Terry WechslerNot content with causing massive inconvenience, BNSF is now literally dumping on county residents.
10 comments; last on Aug 26, 2014
Sat, Aug 16, 2014, 3:48 pm // Guest writerJudith Green of the Sunnyland Neighborhood guest writes this brief summary of what went wrong with the planning last week.
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