Monday, April 13, 2020

4575 Newskiller Virus

Editor Brigit O’Grady of the Daily News-Times-Telegraph-Evening Standard and Tribune of Pachelbel, Nevada at her Wessays interview on the set of Gunfight at the OK Corral. 

Some thoughts from someone who started in AM radio but worked in national print and TV, too:

Calm down.  What’s happening to newspapers is what happened to AM radio over the last decade.  It didn’t die. Neither will papers. But they’re both relegated to minor roles.

Think about what passes for radio news these days. The all-news stations are the only ones getting many listeners. And the sports guys are on life support.  The all-newsers are stuffed with aural packing peanuts, “Man-on-the-Street” hogwash and uninteresting features.

RADIO REPORTER: “Ms. Baker, how do you feel about the Coronavirus?”
Ms. BAKER, age 86 after taking her daily walk down the middle of the pedestrian mall formerly known as West 42nd Street: “How the hell do you think I feel?  This is awful. Have you found anyone out here who likes it? Have you even found anyone else out here?”

RADIO IN-STUDIO ANCHOR: “Thanks Radio Reporter. And we’ll tell you the story of how kids from PS 150 in Queens are learning to communicate by telephone right after four or five promos and public service announcements and Traffic and Weather Together.”

The rest of the AM talk radio stations are running syndicated right wing hate fests.  Except for NPR which has some fascinating tales of life in Uganda’s rainforest, complete with pre-recorded sound effects and people jabbering in Swahili. 

This situation may ease a bit when this trumpvirus goes away. But it’s a template for the future.

Now to newspapers:  They won’t die. They’ll just do the same thing that AM newstalk stations are doing. 

Brigit O’Grady is editor of the Daily News-Times-Telegraph-Evening Standard and Tribune of Pachelbel, Nevada. Ms. O’Grady is a 2017 graduate of the Matchbook Cover Community College of North Pachelbel, once a thriving mining and gaming community.

EDITOR: Well, we used to have five daily papers here, the Times, News, Telegraph, Standard and Tribune. We all had a joint printing and advertising arrangement.  Now, we share a newsroom too.  It’s right here on Main Street in that building over there, the one that looks like the set of “Gunfight at the OK Corral.”

WESSAYS: But you have a full staff, right? 
EDITOR: We have two reporters, I have an assistant, and, of course, we get the UPI Wire.  We’re hoping they can hang on until we all recover.
WESSAYS: And your page count?
EDITOR: Forty-nine…
WESSAYS: That’s pretty…
EDITOR: ...a week! That’s seven pages a day.
WESSAYS: How do you manage to print an odd number of pages per day?
EDITOR: We leave the last page blank. Our readers know that that’s where the sports stuff would go… except there isn’t any.
WESSAYS: Circulation?
EDITOR: We can’t afford the Audit fees. But we print 500 a day. More on Sundays for the comics.
WESSAYS: But the Population of Pachelbel is only 350…
EDITOR: We cover the suburbs, too.
WESSAYS: Your website help?
EDITOR: Not really. We had to switch from to Google Docs when Go Daddy raised its rates.  The site is free to use but we pass a virtual hat.

Yes, the Washington Post, Boston Globe, LA Times, Newsday and other papers owned by zillionaires will continue to publish.  And the Times and Wall Street Journal.  And as long as there are motels in America, USA Today will survive.

The New York Times is making a profit on subscriptions and the Website, but they’re also taking in laundry in the form of printing other papers.

Good luck to the rest of them, and the AM radio stations once great but now small.

(SACRAMENTO) -- Multi-publisher McClatchy, in a hole so deep they can see China from their basement window, announces a 4.4% staff cut including four executives.

(CLEVELAND) -- The Cleveland Plain Dealer says it had 340 reporters 20 years ago and is “now down to four journalists.” (contributed by R. Thomas Berner of Centre County PA.)

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any questions?
© WJR 2020

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