Why Regional Print Newspapers are in a Death Spiral – Deteriorating Content

From the SF Chronicle itself: The SF Chronicle is ready to shut down if unions don’t accept pay cuts. The Bay Area public knows the Chronicle has been a second rate rag for a while now. Read the comments to this article to understand why nobody wants to read the Chronicle – lackluster, trivial content. Cutting staff that provides the content will just accelerate the death spiral. And they just bought new printing presses for June delivery? Cancel that order… prediction: Chronicle folds by year end.

Any hope? Sad for the newspaper guilds, but if content can be improved by recruiting citizen journalists / bloggers around the Bay Area (and many are good writers), it may cut expenses enough to provide some sort of business model.

The NY Post just fired their famous gossip columnist Liz Smith, who was making $125,000 annually for three columns per week. What does that mean? Simplistically, Liz’s $800 per column didn’t contribute the extra $800 ad revenue to keep her on… Any entertainment blogger would jump at the chance to replace her.

UPDATE: 2/26/09: Denver’s Rocky Mountain News shuts down tomorrow. They are even selling the website!

About Pat Kitano

Patrick Kitano works with brands in developing hyperlocal engagement solutions and is administrator of the Breaking News Network, a national hyperlocal network devoted to community service. He is the author of The Local Network on Street Fight, and is reachable via Twitter @pkitano and email pkitano@gmail.com.

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