Accuracy in Media

As the economic downturn combines with a rapidly changing landscape on how consumers get their news several cities may see their major newspaper disappear entirely.

From the NY Times

The history of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer stretches back more than two decades before Washington became a state, but after 146 years of publishing, the paper is expected to print its last issue next week, perhaps surviving only in a much smaller online version.

And it is not alone. The Rocky Mountain News shut down two weeks ago, and The Tucson Citizen is expected to fold next week.

At least Denver, Seattle and Tucson still have daily papers. But now, some economists and newspaper executives say it is only a matter of time — and probably not much time at that — before some major American city is left with no prominent local newspaper at all.

“In 2009 and 2010, all the two-newspaper markets will become one-newspaper markets, and you will start to see one-newspaper markets become no-newspaper markets,” said Mike Simonton, a senior director at Fitch Ratings, who analyzes the industry.

My bet would be on Detroit as being the next in line to succumb to this trend as they have already reduced publication to three days a week.  If the papers do disappear don’t expect that the news will automatically migrate online.  That still costs money and so far with the exception of the Wall Street Journal there hasn’t been a successful online pay model that has worked for the industry.


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