Last week, I came across this startling headline: "'Several Cities' Could Have No Daily Paper As Soon As 2010, Credit Rater Says."
Just a few days ago, the Tribune Company, owner of several newspapers and television stations, announced it would "voluntarily restructure its debt under Chapter 11."
And this morning, we heard that Newsweek, which is owned by The Washington Post Company, plans to restructure. (The Wall Street Journal calls it a "makeover.")
In some corners of the news business, the future looks pretty grim. That said, some business models are working. And others have potential.
I was particularly impressed by The Local Report, a project launched by students and faculty at the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. They made six web-only news sites for Bay-area communities: Mission Loc@l, The(510)Report, Oakland North, East Bay West Online, In Emeryville, and El Cerrito Focus. They are handsomely-designed, frequently-updated, and -- perhaps most importantly -- well-read.
The founders of the Berkeley project clearly believe that there is still a market in good, local journalism. That wire services and major newspapers can fill one void (stories about foreign affairs and national issues), but people will still hunger for news about the communities in which they live.
Do you agree? In 2010, 2015, or 2020, how do you think you'll get your news?