Study: Internet Threatens Local Newspapers
FARAI CHIDEYA, host:
This is NEWS & NOTES. I'm Farai Chideya.
Coming up, we've got our weekly Blogger's Roundtable. But first, a look at what's happening online.
Here with me is NEWS & NOTES Web producer Geoffrey Bennett. Hey, Geoff.
GEOFFREY BENNETT: Hey, Farai.
CHIDEYA: So a new study shows the Internet is posing a major threat to local newspapers. Tell me about that.
BENNETT: Right. It's a study out from Harvard University that finds that people are favoring the Internet over television and newspapers as their primary source of news. And it's a trend that could eventually lead to the demise of local newspapers. Our researcher studied traffic to 160 news Web sites over a yearlong period and found that because more people are getting their news from the Web, especially news blogs and search engines and major sites like the New York Times, it reduces the influence of where they live, and by extension, makes neighborhood newspapers less necessary.
CHIDEYA: You know, I was at - recently at the National Association of Black Journalist Conference and a woman was saying that basically - she was only half joking - gallows humor - that Craigslist used to eat their lunch, now it's eating their dinner and their breakfast too. So it's also the ad revenues. But I imagine that this trend could hurt small black newspapers. What do you think?
BENNETT: Exactly. I mean, any trend that that spells trouble for mainstream media spells, disaster for black - small black news organizations. So it will mean that the nation's black papers have to adapt their business models and find innovative ways to several audiences, especially because these papers can't just replace newspaper readers with online readers because at this point, as the study points out, the sale of a newspaper is still more profitable than drawing that same reader to a Web site.
CHIDEYA: So what are folks talking about on our blog?
BENNETT: They're talking about Michael Vick, they're talking about illegal immigration, and they're also talking about last week's Blogger Roundtable. You remember that there was an intense personal exchange between two of the guests about black women who date outside the race.
CHIDEYA: Oh, yes. I do remember.
(Soundbite of laughter)
BENNETT: And so that sparked a dialogue online, to say the least. And our folks can go to our blog to revisit that segment and read the comments about it.
CHIDEYA: So we use the blogs sometimes to reach out and try to get people to tell us stories about their own lives. And what are we working on now?
BENNETT: Well, we're trying to put a face on the war on the Iraq. So we're looking for servicemen and women who have recently returned from the war as well as their family members - of soldiers who are currently deployed. And so we're looking for those people, and we're also looking for folks who have homes in foreclosure and those who have trouble paying their mortgages because of changes in their adjustable rate. And people can contact us at our blog.
CHIDEYA: Well, definitely, very important that you share your stories with us because those are the stories we want to tell. And, Geoff, thanks again.
BENNETT: Thank you.
CHIDEYA: Geoff Bennett is the Web producer for NEWS & NOTES.
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