In just a few short years my local metro daily has become tiny – the width is down, the sections collapsed or consolidated, ads have drifted to the front page or section page and it’s all blurbing and ‘read more about this on the web.’
Yet, with some frequency they still insist on devoting space on sharing insights on major Hollywood motion pictures, new TV shows and the latest adventure of Lady Gaga. They are boxed in by an old way of thinking, imagining that they still keep the fires of pop culture just as they insist on being the conduit of conventional political wisdom. The game remains very much one of delivering an assortment of wire stories deemed essential and interesting.
There continues to be good investigative work being done by good reporters and editors who will do so until the bitter end or they break down and take the buyout. But they have got to be thinking that rather than the standard bearers, they are now the odd birds in this mix – especially as each of them rotates through an obligatory cops shift or fills in to cover a beat that no long has no one assigned to it.
And it’s those smaller beats in the smaller towns that are falling away only to suddenly be covered again when something controversial, quirky or man-bites-dog comes along. Covering the day to day grind of local government and writing the diary of the life of a community has no place in the bottom line anymore. This is where I worry more about the loss of daylight.