A recent column in our local newspaper announced that they were going to be cutting back the days that they publish from five days to three.
This is a real bummer, but something I saw coming.
A friend who works at The Bulletin in Bend, Oregon, wrote to me months ago that they were having to take mandatory time off. Soon afterward, my best friend was laid off from her executive position at the Orange County Register. She was later re-hired by the parent company, only to find out just recently that she has to take mandatory furlough every quarter, resulting in a 10-12% pay cut. Another good friend is the Advertising Director for a newspaper in Southern California. He’s admitted that revenue is down, and that they’re getting “creative” with their sales promotions.
I love newspapers. The ritual of opening a paper while sitting down to relax, choosing what articles to read, catching up on local advertising… it feels good. It’s relevant.
Yet, I also (obviously) love the internet. I get most of my news from online sources, and have my favorite sites bookmarked so that I can read the most up-to-date headlines as they happen.
So here’s my take on this. I can understand why newspapers in large metropolitan areas are having such a decline in advertising revenue. Those areas are full of people who rely on the Internet for their news, and so circulation of newspapers has gone down and thus, advertising revenue.
But small towns such as the one I live in rely on local newspapers for area information. Yahoo, Google, CNN, MSNBC, etc. aren’t going to have the details regarding our annual Miner’s Jubilee on their front page. They aren’t going to tell us of new businesses opening, or of activities that are important to us.
The other reason I am bummed about this is that Western Communications (who is also the parent company of our local newspaper) was a great employer when I worked for them. They treated everyone who worked there fairly; gave us great benefits such as profit-sharing & health insurance. To have a large-scale employer have to cut back will severely hurt those small towns that they are deeply invested in. Baker City, Crescent City, Brookings, La Grande, and Sonora are all relatively small towns, and to find a new job in a related field will be difficult, as those related fields will be suffering as well.
A bummer all around.