Topic of the week: Newspapers

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Our friends in the newspaper industry are increasingly working through virtual channels. Along the way, many reporters find themselves over-extended, being asked by management to cover their beats and write their news stories, but also keep up blogs, respond to reader comments, and even deliver multi-media content. And it all comes at a time when the vanishing newspaper is the talk of the trade.

Most managers in the (newspaper) industry have reacted to the collapse of their business model with a spiral of budget cuts, bureau closings, buyouts, layoffs, and reductions in page size and column inches. Since 1990, a quarter of all American newspaper jobs have disappeared. The columnist Molly Ivins complained, shortly before her death, that the newspaper companies’ solution to their problem was to make “our product smaller and less helpful and less interesting.” That may help explain why the dwindling number of Americans who buy and read a daily paper are spending less time with it; the average is down to less than fifteen hours a month. Only nineteen per cent of Americans between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four claim even to look at a daily newspaper. The average age of the American newspaper reader is fifty-five and rising.

So let's talk about North Carolina's newspapers this week. Tell us about the newspapers that serve your community. How are they doing? What value do they provide? How could they be improved?


Raleigh News and Observer

I do read the N&O daily with focus on the front page, editorial section, and comics (gotta have my comics). Per your blog entry, I'm a touch younger than the average newspaper reader at 46. I am having a hard time thinking of anybody I know under the age of 35 that subscribes to the N&O.

Overall, I think the N&O does a good job. They have a decent mix of in depth local stories and fluff for entertainment. They have recently stated that they may not go in depth for some national stories, instead focusing their resources on local and state. I have no complaints about that - I can get the desired national stories online easier than I could get the equivalent local stories.

I'm under 35 and I subscribe

I love reading stuff in newsprint. I get the N&O and the Chapel Hill News at home. But I read the Chapel Hill Herald and the Carrboro Citizen online. My wife wants me to give up the N&O subscription for environmental and financial reasons, but I just keep reminding her that we don't have cable so it's my personal luxury.

I actually like the N&O quite a bit. I read the sports first, then City and State, then the front page, then the opinion page. I don't read most of the national/international news because I've already heard it on the radio. So, I do appreciate that they focus their front page on state/local stories. I don't have a problem with Rob Christensen. I love Craig Lindsey's movie reviews. And I read Opus before handing off the comics to my daughter.

Plus I use the leftover papers to start my charcoal grill...

No dead-tree subscriptions.

I get the Chapel Hill Freebie (although only my wife and son read it) and pick up the Indy and Carrboro Citizen at the Southern Village park & ride. My son is fast becoming a sports addict, so I might have to buy him an SI subscription.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

No subscriptions here.

Who has time to read a newspaper? The closest I get is picking up the Indy or the Citizen at the Cup a Joe on Saturdays.

Though they make good compost. I also hear you can lay them over grass and cover them with mulch to get the pesky weed to go away.

I take magazines, but get my daily news online

I do like holding papers and magazines in my hand to read them.

Atlantic, New Yorker, The Economist, Progressive, Campaigns and Elections, Mother Jones, Washington Monthly and there are others I pick up at the news stand every couple of months.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I pick up a newspaper occasionally

Meaning one I have to pay for. Newspapers today are following the business of dictate of "more pleasing to advertisers, ignore readers."

Actually I read "Yes" almost every week, and the N&R maybe once a month.

I do subscribe to a few national magazines, and to "The Guardian" (UK), but only to have something to read in places without WiFi.

Since online provides actual sources, they have more credibility than dead tree publications.

My other major source of news, especially tech and political is via podcasts. It is nice to be able to listen to what I am interested in, wherever I go, without having to worry about getting a station.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

I read our local paper

The Southern Pines Pilot, religiously. I thought online would be enough, but it's not. I have to have the ink coming off on my fingers to feel like I am actually reading the news. And I'm not going to feel guilty about "dead tree subscriptions" because I also recycle them religiously. My great-grandmother was a newspaper editor and publisher in Snow Hill, (The Standard Laconic), so I prefer small town papers rather than the monster big city or state papers.

I read the NYT sometimes online, the N&O sometimes online, and the News/Record online sometimes, too. I get most of my national news from newsfeeds from MSNBC. Sad, I guess.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors


I have to have my paper. It's part of a morning ritual that my dog and I begin by going out to the box at the end of the driveway, pulling out the paper, pausing for him to have a morning pee, and trudging back inside.

Having the crossword puzzle and falling asleep before getting to the "down" part is also a key component of my morning. All sections are faithfully recycled when I wake from this morning 'nap,' drink my coffee and step outside again.

I have to have the paper.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

ex N&O subscriber

Early in the JREdwards campaign I got tired of reading the reports they had on Clinton, Obama and Edwards. cancelled. I occasionally look online. I read the CH papers, herald and Chnews, and Independent.

It is best to read the papers and the blogs and note the differences. Where is the coverage of the Mukasey comment about the warning about 9-11? Finding out when things are missing from the newspapers is one of the most informative aspects of blog reading.


Kinston Free Press

The Kinston Free Press is the voice of Kinston and Lenoir County. I read it everyday as do many of our residents. A few people get the News & Observer but they are educated rich people. My preacher used to get the New York Times but he died last year. The new preacher is some type of hippie and reads USA Today. We don’t get a lot of big stories down here. The Free Press did a good job on the “fake Van Braxton” site a couple of years ago.The site is still up I believe. (Little Stevie is running again against the incumbent Democrat, Van Braxton. Willie Ray decided not to run.) And the Free Press did a story on the beekeeper convention out at Lenoir Community College. That was pretty interesting. And we get a story about the Transpark once in a while. But most of those stories are pretty sad due to the fact we ain’t got no airplanes out there. The jets over at Seymour-Johnson AFB make touch and go landings out there but they never land. I would like for one of them to land because we have not seen a plane since the East Carolina football team flew back after winning the bowl game. Anyway, we do like our newspaper. They provide us with an internet message board which is really a nice touch since we don’t have cablevision yet. Y’all come.

Hmmmm Newspapers

A little busy putting one together right now to write something extended, but I can say that reports of the demise of newspapers are rather, uh , sexed up as the Brits might say.
The focus has been almost exclusively on the metro dailies. Yup, the metro dailies are in trouble, mostly because they are large supertanker-sized organizations and not very adaptive to change.
And the Web sure didn't fit into their business model, which for almost 50 years has been about maintaining high profit margins through cost cutting, mergers and consolidation.
Then the NYT tore down its firewall and that was the beginning of the end for most metro daily A sections. More and more people are getting their news online and most dailies still still relying on a system that uses partial versions of wire stories to flesh out the State/National/International coverage. Something's got to give. Why would anyone with access to the innertubes read a third of a story in the local daily when they can read the whole thing, with live links, online?
Large newspapers are stuck because management has spent so long justifying the logic of cutting newsroom resources that they actually believe that when it comes to the editorial side less is more. (It's not, by the way).
I'd write more, but duty calls.
Thanks for reading The Citizen. We're three issues into our second year and have a lot of local support and advertising. We're adding pages and increasing circulation as are a lot of locally focused community papers.
Don't think for a minute that the word newspaper only means 'struggling metro daily.' It's a five century old industry that's survived five centuries of technological earthquakes.


Carrboro Citizen has a great front-page feature

If you are interested in the native foliage of North Carolina, you can't go wrong with this weekly pictorial/editorial describing what you will be seeing and where (in our area). I can't seem to find a good archive of those columns.

Last Saturday, I saw a roadside spectacle as beautiful as any deliberately designed garden landscape. Nature’s inter-planting of yellow sassafras and pink redbud resulted in what may be best described as “roadside impressionism.” Fortunately, the recent cold spells have extended the flowering of these early bloomers.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.


We're working with Ken Moore on a book of his Flora columns.
Try this link for a collection of them. As an FYI, Ken retired a few years back as assistant director of the NC Botanical Garden. He really knows his stuff and we're lucky to have him.

Tell Ken I take full-credit for his knowledge

As we drove down the highway and I was pointing out red-buds.

: )

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.


I read the N&R and the NYT at the breakfast table. On school days I'm joined by my teenagers, who also read the N&R -- comics and sports, news that grabs their attention -- and we talk about it. I think an underrated aspect of the print paper is its social aspect -- you trade sections, you say "read this," etc., in an environment that allows for real human interaction. I do the same with my wife with the NYT.

Also, I'm in my hometown, so local news and obits mean something special to me.

Then I read the Wall Street Journal site and browse the sites of Washington Post, McClatchy, LA Times, N&O, and Charlotte O, and follow links and searches throughout the day to any number of other papers across the country and around the world.

Also read the local weeklies here in GSO.

That doesn't count magazines and blogs...

Such a shame that newspaper owners milked the cash cow instead of investing in the future. A lot of papers are going to get worse as the net unbundles their business model and they cut costs -- and quality -- in a vain attempt to preserve a bygone era.


We get the N&O, which Sally reads cover to cover in the early am. For the past six or seven years my routine is to mostly scan the print versions of papers and read online for detail. But the paper as an object occupying prime real estate on the kitchen table still commands attention and spurs conversation. Newspapers at their best are a public square as well as a diary and history of a place and time. They should inspire as well as inform.

What they're not doing is adequately covering Patrick McHenry

Here's a list of 10th district newspapers. Even the Hickory paper (that will actually cover his opponent somewhat) quotes Pat's blatant lies regularly. So, they all need to hear about what McHenry is doing lately and what the outside world thinks. And to be spanked for ignoring his obvious flaws. And for not reporting the news.

10th district LTE newspaper links:

Multiple Counties: Charlotte Observer

Burke County: Morganton News Herald

Caldwell County: Lenoir News Topic

Catawba County: Hickory Daily Record Newton Observer News Enterprise

Cleveland County: Shelby Star

Gaston County: The Gaston Gazette

Iredell County: Statesville Record & Landmark Mooresville Tribune

Lincoln County: Lincoln Times News

Mitchell County Mitchell News Journal

Rutherford County: The Daily Courier

Lake Norman: Lake Norman Times

Raleigh Raleigh News and Observer

See Pat Go Bye Bye. Support Daniel Johnson.

Sent my dollar2ninety8 opinion

or question, rather (why hasn't McHenry's "two-bit" gaff gotten any coverage ... seeing as how voters on both sides of the aisle have good candidate options this year) to The Daily Courier.

I used to read that paper ...... long long ago ... in a galaxy far far away ....

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry Truman

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Small Town Newspapers

I read some local papers in Eastern NC. No competition and many ads. I have always heard that small town newspapers did not print news, they printed money. But I do believe that the local newspapers down east are still somewhat of a "life line." The N&O is still the king down east. And I read several online but there is nothing like the smell of a newspaper to swell my sinus passageways and get my fingers all dirty.