In a previous post, I pointed out that the Idaho Falls newspaper appears to be losing it’s grip. It failed for several days to report important local news about convicted former county and city prosecutor, Kimball Mason. And it placed the story about the Minneapolis bridge collapse on page 5 the morning after it occurred.
In response to complaints about their coverage, the newspaper’s acting executive editor, Monte LaOrange, states that:
While the Post Register strives to have a complete, daily balance of nation, world, regional and local news, we will almost always run local stories and stories of local interest in the most prominent positions.
Yes, remember that the above-the-fold story on August 2nd, the day after the bridge collapse, concerned an Idaho Falls High School graduate working to overcome bacterial antibiotic resistance. This is a story that, while well-written, had probably been completed and in the hopper for several days, if not weeks. Not really “new” news.
Yet today we find on the front page articles entitled “NASA conducts tests to assess shuttle gouge” and “Rove was good, bad and did it smugly”, both fresh national stories. (Granted, neither was “above the fold”.)
Come on, newspaper. You can’t have it both ways.
Why don’t you just admit that you hate to mess up the front page when you have it “put to bed” after deadline?
And admit that when there isn’t much local news, you grab some national headlines and stuff them on the front page. The make-up of your front page is driven to a large extent by what is already written, and what fits the available space.
Perhaps there’s a little laziness revealed here.
And your readers will admit that you are becoming much less relevant – and much more like the weekly “feature” newspaper that has very little to do with daily life in southeastern Idaho.
Local television stations are doing a much better job of keeping up on local news, though they are unable to deliver the depth that a newspaper can.
It’s tough for a newspaper to be shoved aside by more immediate news sources. At least you have company, as newspapers across the nation shrink in advertising revenue and readership.
But, then again, you could always offer another “75% off” sale on subscriptions to some of your readers, while the rest pay full price.
That’s sure to keep ‘em happy.
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