The troubles at the MediaNews newspapers might seem far away if you're not employed by one. But author and former Long Beach Press-Telegram reporter Dennis McDougal makes the point that bad news floats upstream:
Company founder, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive William Dean Singleton has left no doubt about what's important to him in what remains of U.S. daily journalism -- profit margins. In relentlessly cutting "news" from newspapers to maintain profits, he and many of his peers have helped transform an industry. Journalists like Leppard are bought out or laid off, limiting -- or even eliminating -- the newsroom opportunities for mentoring that transforms youthful ambition into thoughtful journalism. The fact that the mistakes of reporters make it into print more frequently these days, and that newspapers increasingly shy away from investigative stories, can be traced to the slash-and-shrink policies of chief executives who vanquish veterans and intimidate greenhorns, all the while adding more "failing" newspapers to their portfolios.
Pair that with the pessimistic assessment of newspaper analyst John Morton, when asked whether newspapers can recover from their current economic woes.
“The industry is meeting these challenges by cutting, by reducing the news hole and the people who fill it,” he said.
“Newspapers have lived through recessions before and come back strong,” he added. “My worry is that when things do turn around, they will be coming back in an environment that is more competitive than ever because of the Internet, and that after all these cuts, they will have less stature, less product quality and less talent — all of the things that they need to compete."