The Gateway Journalism Review has an interesting article on the plummeting fortunes of the Columbia Daily Tribune once GateHouse Media bought it and squeezed its assets, calling it “Tibune’s ‘Tragedy'”.
It is not just Tribune’s tragedy: it is journalism’s tragedy.
The entire industry fell apart, and yet we still have people in that dead profession who don’t see the big picture. The scene Columbia, Mo. is not different than in Los Angeles or Chicago. Newspapers fell the hardest, but they are crumbling globally.
So to point the finger at the new buyers misses the point: that newspaper would not have been sold had it been profitable.
Many newspaper companies have, for years, bought properties, squeezed out the assets, and then sold those papers. It was an over-heated market in the late 1990s and early 2000s, even though circulation was actively eroding.
The bottom line has been shrinking. People stopped feeling connected to their local media outlets and then the apathy hit that bottom line.
But it all stems from the actual product: the news story. That was always the draw: the actual news.
Journalism never kept up with the times, and now they are paying the price.
You have scavenger companies now, trying to suck out the last of the grains, but they don’t show up on the scene until it is too late.
Journalists never saw it coming. They always saw the next owner as the knight in shining armour — and they still do.
The article provides no insights into the real problems, and it’s the reason they cannot expect a turnaround: they can’t alter their thinking, and so, the toxic habits are still shackling them on the ship to oblivion.