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Journal Journal: Thoughts on dead tree media 10

I work as a lead sales agent in the newspaper industry. I keep hearing people claim print is dead, and have to argue against that on a daily basis. People tell me they get their "news" off "the internet", but are usually hard pressed to explain further. I have found that in fact when they say "news" they usually mean "quick blurbs on my yahoo/msn/whatever page about stuff that isn't happening around me, but is flashy and cool." Basically the internet equivalent of TV talking heads regurgitating national and international news coupled with some sports and entertainment. But when pressed on where they get LOCAL news and LOCAL information most will tell me they turn to the local newspaper's website, or pick up single copy.

Now this isn't to say traditional print media doesn't have it's problems. I know that for a fact; they are hidebound, full of dinosaurs, and keep pushing to an aging customer base (middle aged and older, plus married couples with children are my best customers) and are struggling to figure out their place in the world. That is more due to corporate stupidity than irrelevance of the medium itself. The Lawrence World has proven that newspapers can be fresh, relevant and current in the 21st century, while maintaining a print and digital identity.

The market now isn't in passing out AP wire stories about Obama's latest speech, or the oil spill in the Gulf. It's about providing in depth coverage of LOCAL news, LOCAL issues, and LOCAL events. The Internet is providing the best medium for major stories that appeal to a large audience. National news bureaus, and those who produce stories to journalistic standards of facts and sources can quickly push major stories. But local newspapers are still your best source for covering the issues that matter little outside of a given community. The trick is getting both the industry and the public to recognize this fact. In the meantime, it's quite a painful transition for everyone.

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"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman