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Why Newspapers Are Dying


It’s a common observation that Associated Press coverage basically stinks–my father quit reading his local paper due in no small part to the prominence of junky AP reports–but when the news service actually tries to do something smart by expanding its foreign coverage, American newspaper editors howl in outage. Why? Because some of them will see a rate increase.

Angry editors sent a letter to the AP reading, in part:

“The failure of Associated Press to cut its rates is especially mystifying given that AP itself seems to be expanding, most recently adding to its already robust, admirably strong foreign coverage, even as its newspaper members undergo rigorous and continuous belt-tightening,” the letter (see below) states, in part. “Editors would have welcomed consultation, in the traditional spirit of partnership between AP and member newspapers, on whether foreign coverage was more important to them than a rate cut.”

Nobody is quicker to lecture the public about “diversity” than an American newspaper bureaucrat, but when it comes to actually covering the news among all those strange-looking funny-language-speaking people overseas–you know, the rest of the world–it’s “Forget the news, we want a rate cut.”

Editor & Publisher has the full story.

This is a familiar theme in newspapers. I once had a publisher who didn’t want to pay for content for special sections. “Here,” she told me, pushing a pile of papers across the desk, “use this stuff.” The stories–every one of them–were from (and I am not making this up) the “Fleischmann’s Yeast Newsroom,” and each story extolled the virtues of preparing baked goods with the aforementioned fungi. So if you’re wondering why your local paper is full of recipes for Fleischmann’s “One-Dish Taco Bake” instead of the news of the world, now you know.


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