The Dying News Business

Jul 28, 2008 by

Today we received news that the impending cuts at The Dallas Morning News, property of Belo, are much deeper than expected.  They're talking about 500 jobs or $50 million in cuts company-wide.

TDMN isn't the only paper in the nation in trouble.  Nearly all of them are since most of us get the news online these days.  Truth is, I haven't bought the paper copy of the paper since the day they made all the new cosmetic changes.  And I don't feel like I've missed anything either.  Yes, my boss comes in from time-to-time and shows me an announcement that I didn't see online, but for the most part, I've broadened my source for news. 

Where is all this taking us though as a nation?  And that to me is the real question.

News agencys have been the Fourth Estate, the checks and balance system for our national government since its inception.  Today, it's nearly all entertainment.  Focus groups lead TV coverage.  News rooms are laying off staff left and right and soon the veteran reporters who went to the good journalism schools will be obsolete.  They're being replaced day in and day out by young kids who barely know what a lead paragraph is, who look cute or pretty, who can read a teleprompter at 20 paces, and that's largely it. 

Papers here in Texas have stopped reimbursing for mileage.  So what's to encourage a reporter to leave the building?  How many news stories have you ever read that originated in the news room?  The answer today is more and more and more.

An important industry in America is being killed off by the Internet.  Is that good?  Some would say it is a sign of the times.  Others, such as me, see it as a danger to our country's future. 

News agencies must find a model that helps keep the lights on and staff paid.  I understand that.  But at the same time, we're killing off a solid profession.  Now I know a lot of people don't like reporters, but they have played an important role in our nation's history. 

The news today out of Belo is not good.  Not good for the families who are about to face the axe, voluntarily or not, of this booming economy, (yeah right Phil Gramm) and certainly not good for this nation, that has relied so much on freedom of the press and the recording of our history, it was even included in the Constitution.

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