The Final Blow to Community Journalism?
by Richard Reif
Aug 15, 2018 | 8306 views | 0 0 comments | 597 597 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The recent massacre at the Daily News casts a shadow on local journalism's future. How can a skeleton staff cover vital news for a city of over 8 million people?

For all intents and purposes, New York City now has only three daily newspapers: The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Post. The first two are national publications that have abandoned local coverage.

And the Post doesn't adequately cover the outer boroughs, nor does Newsday, which

focuses primarily on Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Local weeklies help fill the gap, but not entirely, and broadcast and cable news channels largely ignore the outer boroughs, except for NY1.

Digital outlets do a dismal job. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook provide affirmation, not information, by reinforcing users' biases & beliefs, shoving their audiences into information bubbles.

I'll keep reading the Daily News and the Post, hoping that they can constructively compete.

But as a retired McGraw-Hill staff writer, I fear for journalism's future. The Daily News disaster is part of a disturbing national trend.

The Pew Research Center reports that journalism jobs in all media declined by 23 percent from 2008 to 2017. Newspapers bore the biggest loss with a 45 percent decline caused by the growth of digital media.

But corporate mismanagement and greed are also to blame. Tronc, the Daily

News' parent company, gave outgoing chairman Michael Ferro a $15 million severance package while axing nearly 100 New York City newspaper staffers.

He got a platinum parachute while former Daily News employees got an umbrella with a hole in it.

New York was print journalism paradise when I grew up in the 1950s. Along with the Times, Post and Daily News, we had the Herald Tribune, Daily Mirror, Journal American, World Telegram and Sun, and all of them covered the entire city.

Queens had two dailies in The Long Island Press and Long Island Star Journal, while residents in the neighboring borough read the Brooklyn Eagle.

Now only three newspapers remain. I hope they can rise to the challenge. An informed public is our city's best hope.

Richard Reif is a resident of Kew Gardens Hills.
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