By Patrick Appel
PEW reports on the state of the newspaper industry. Nothing too surprising:
It has fewer pages than three years ago, the paper stock is thinner, and the stories are shorter. There is less foreign and national news, less space devoted to science, the arts, features and a range of specialized subjects. Business coverage is either packaged in an increasingly thin stand-alone section or collapsed into another part of the paper. The crossword puzzle has shrunk, the TV listings and stock tables may have disappeared, but coverage of some local issues has strengthened and investigative reporting remains highly valued.
Drum is alarmed. I have a hard time getting riled up myself. Though I hate to see journalists laid off, this nugget in the report is worth noting: "Despite an image of decline, more people today in more places read the content produced in the newsrooms of American daily newspapers than at any time in years." News consumption isn't in danger. There might be less news on foreign affairs but, through the internet, I now have access to the foreign press itself. For science, I read any number of magazines and expert bloggers. Ditto for the arts. As long as there is demand for news, their will be a news industry and newspapers will exist in some form. If you want an in-depth look at the newspaper business, I recommend Mark Bowden's article on Murdoch and the WSJ.