I recently received a free copy of one of my city’s two major fishwrappers; except for the front page and inside front cover, the ‘news’ pages were dominated by ads. On several pages, three/fourths of the page was taken up by advertising with a single puny two-paragraph news item, mostly headline, stuck up in the corner, and it was usually some important story like “Mom Doesn’t Regret Octuplet Births”. On top of which, it was mostly edited wire service stuff with very little locally-generated news.
It’s similar to my local public transit company — their brilliant answer to declining ridership is to raise fares and cut service. This was also their brilliant answer to the previous drop in public transportation use, and the one before that. Maybe one of these days they’ll catch on that raising fares and cutting service might be CAUSING fewer people to ride the trains and buses, but these plans come from ‘urban transportation experts,’ so I won’t hold my breath. In the case of the local papers, their brilliant solution to declining circulation was to raise the per-issue and subscription price, provide less news and more ads, then cry about losing readers. No wonder they’re dying off — total imbeciles are running these businesses.
I have a feeling if someone offered a real newspaper with good original writing, investigative reporting, and plenty of news content, they’d do well.