It goes without saying that the future of newspapers concerns News & Review staffers. What might surprise people is that we’re not just concerned about weeklies; we’re also concerned about dailies. Alt-weeklies cover stories not told elsewhere, but we have 313 fewer opportunities each year. Daily journalism is important.
Ten years ago in the Sacramento News & Review, then a few months later here, N&R owner Jeff vonKaenel made some dire predictions about 21st-century newspapers. Sadly, much of his forecast has come true.
Dailies may not be dead, but they are afflicted with heart disease, listed in serious condition, headed for the ICU. Media conglomerates manifest all the symptoms of corporate hypertension, and by trying to squeeze the lifeblood of journalism through clogged arteries, they have put newspapers under undue pressure.
With regret, not pleasure, Jeff offers his prognosis and suggests a treatment plan. The editors overseeing his three papers decided to run the story the same week because we believe this is a vital issue—for all citizens, not just those with ink in their veins.
Check out the companion piece from Susan Brockus, a third-generation journalist on the faculty of Chico State (Hope for the little guy, CN&R, Dec. 14). For a contrasting view, look at Time magazine’s “Extra, Newspapers Aren’t Dead” (in the magazine’s Dec. 11 issue, or on www.time.com). Then draw your own conclusions.
When it comes to sources of information, do what we do: Be informed.
“Answerman” extras: DVDs have deleted scenes; why don’t columns? That’s just the sort of question fielded last week by Answerman. I got a peek at his “PowerPad” and found a couple goodies that didn’t make the cut.
• When can I book my Chico-to-LA flight? Not for a while, at least, because neither of the two airlines the city approached—Skywest and Horizon—has the planes needed for Chico-LA (or Chico-Portland) service. Assistant City Manager Dave Burkland said Chico is focusing on the LA route and is looking at three other carriers: America West, Delta and American Eagle.
• Does Regent’s station sale spell ch-ch-ch-ch-changes for Chico radio? Probably not. Market Manager Jordan Perry says he plans no format or deejay switches for KALF (95.7), KZAP (96.7), KFM (93.9) and “The Point” (107.9)—a concern after KLRS (92.7) became a deejay-free “Bob” station. “I’ve had about all I can stand with named stations,” said Perry, who moved down from Redding after Mapleton Communications bought 10 North State stations from his previous employer, Regent Broadcasting. “Mapleton is focused on doing local radio.”
Investing themselves: Ever since Rory Rottschalk shared the “community alliance” concept in his Aug. 17 Guest Comment, I’ve been particularly interested in nonpartisan civic involvement.