Steve Yelvington writes a well constructed piece on the evolution of local newspapers: why they never really were that local in the first place, and why they need to rethink that.
“While these traditional daily newspapers may have been restricted geographically in their distribution, they were not restricted geographically in their content focus. They developed content-distribution networks (Associated Press and other wires and syndicates). They became powerful tools for people to learn about a broad but distant world. Today’s dominant newspaper content model quickly emerged.
Were such newspapers actually “local?”
Or were they just stand-ins for USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times in an era before we could satfax page images to remote printing plants around the world?
Now the world has changed, and such newspapers are aggressively cutting back on the geographic reach of their circulation systems.
Newspapers like the Dallas Morning News, the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Minneapolis Star Tribune are hurting not because they’re local, but because they’re not local enough. And as they try to figure out how to be local, they’re discovering they lack the proper tools. They have the wrong staff, the wrong processes, even the wrong presses.”