Saturday, March 10, 2007

Newspapers are doing well in Queens....

There was an article today in the New York Times about small, local newspapers in Queens, NY.

Apparently these newspapers are so small, the reporters go to even the tiniest community meetings and 'stay until they are adjourned.'

Though some might find that pretty boring, apparently the people in Queens enjoy it. The Times Newsweekly has been on sale for 99 years and has a circulation of 35,000.

There are other community papers as well. By the New York Press Association count, there are 55 community weeklys, not including the 29 papers geared toward specific immigrant groups. And every paper is hyper local to their neighborhood...right down to the block.

In a slumping time for newspapers these little guys are gaining ad revenue and readership.

So, of course, Rupert Murdoch wanted in. His News Corporation, which owns the New York Post, bought 16 of the small community newspapers in Brooklyn and Queens. He inevitably will make changes and try to make even more money, and eventually these papers won't be as local and relevant to the neighborhoods as they are now.

Why did he do this? "Among the holdings of the News Corporation are the Fox Broadcasting Company, HarperCollins Publishers and MySpace. In December, the company had assets of $59 billion and annual revenues of $27 billion."

Did Murdoch need these newspapers? No, it was all about money, which is precisely the problem in broadcast news as well. As our guest speaker mentioned last week, whenever the news corporations decided they needed to make money on the news, the "news" was forever changed.

Whether or not you believe the community meetings stories in those small papers are news doesn't matter. It was relevant and news to the people that lived there. The whole "know your audience" adage that we all know so well.

I hope Murdoch doesn't change those small papers, I hope he leaves them to produce the journalism that has worked in Queens for 99 years, but I have a feeling he won't.



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