Accountability journalism<br /> Newspapers are responsible for mostlocal journalism, particularly “accountability journalism.”<br /> Clay Shirky of NYU: “Accountability journalism” is the sort of serious investigative journalism that prevents corruption and keeps the powerful in check. <br />Example: Reporting by the Boston Globe to expose abuse by Catholic priests under the leadership of Cardinal Law.<br />Can you name other examples?<br />
Everybody gets news from newspapers<br />Even if they don’t read them!<br />The work of print journalists is used by everyone from politicians to district attorneys to bloggers to TV and radio stations. (“Rip and read.”)<br />TV, radio and the Associated Press all use local newspaper reports as "tip sheets" for covering their communities.<br />
What happened to newspapers?<br />Financially, they are in big trouble because ad revenues have dropped<br />Traditional advertisers -- Macy's, for example – are struggling<br />Classified ads -- once the most profitable – have gone to the Internet<br />
Newspaper classifieds revenue from 1980 to 2008<br />The revenues peaked in 1999, recovered slightly in 2004, and then plummeted after 2005.<br />
Use of online classifieds sites doubled between 2005 and 2009.<br />Sites like Craiglist, eBay and Amazon went from having a little use – only 22% had ever used them – to mainstream – 49% of people have used them. Some 9% of Americans use them every single day.<br />
The business changed dramatically<br />Newspapers were, essentially, monopolies. They could charge a lot for a little classified ad. Now those ads are free and all that money went away.<br />But, wait, aren’t there online ads? Yes, but they earn dimes compared to dollars in the old day. Rates are very low. <br />
People stopped buying newspapers<br />Newspaper readership has been slowly dropping for decades. The decline started with TV news.<br />Now, as a percentage of the population, newspapers have about half as many subscribers as they did four decades ago.<br />
Where do they get their news?<br />Local TV stations and their websites: 68%<br />Local newspapers in print or online: 48% <br />Local radio: 34% <br />‘Internet’ in general: 31%<br />Source: Pew Trust study: March, 2009<br />
People will miss newspapers, right?<br />Not so much.<br />Fewer than half of Americans (43%) say that losing their local newspaper would hurt civic life in their community "a lot." <br />Even fewer (33%) say they would personally miss reading the local newspaper a lot.<br />
Where does this lead?<br />One view, from NYU’s Clay Shirky: <br />Sometime soon, there will be big American cities with no local newspaper. <br />Without watchdogs, government will sink into petty corruption.<br />Even those cities with newspapers will see a dramatic reduction in coverage.<br />
Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism.<br />
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