The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Another Nail in Legacy Media Coffin

The New Orleans Times-Picayune just went from being a daily to a thrice-weekly. The NYT has the story:

In May, the parent company of The Times-Picayune, Newhouse Media, announced large-scale cutbacks as well as plans to reduce publication to three times a week in favor of an expanded Web site. Saturday’s edition represents the official end of the old publishing schedule, and made New Orleans the largest metropolitan area in the country without its own daily newspaper. Citizens are waiting to see whether or not a streamlined and primarily digital Times-Picayune, together with a collection of blogs, television and radio, can serve the purpose the paper once did.

This isn’t a full-fledged funeral, since Newhouse Media will continue to publish a print edition. It’s more like the patient has taken a turn for the worse—and not unexpectedly at that. The trend is clear: the economics of print are terrible and young people continue to turn away from old fashioned newspapers. It’s only a matter of time before print is phased out completely, especially in smaller markets.

And as you read these kinds of stories, remember that one reason so much of the legacy press is filled with doom and gloom about America’s shift towards an information-age economy is because this shift is killing the jobs of mainstream print journalists. It’s as if we had blacksmiths covering the rise of the automobile industry: there would be lots of stories about car crashes, pollution, traffic jams — and not a lot of news about how people were getting where they wanted to go more quickly and efficiently.

Published on October 1, 2012 12:30 pm