A Boston Globe article from today’s paper reports continuing newspaper cuts are hurting the papers’ quality. The Project for Excellence in Journalism conducted a study and found, among other results, that newspapers are focusing more on local coverage, less on national news and stories are shorter overall.
“America’s newspapers are narrowing their reach and their ambitions and becoming niche reads,” the study said.
The good news: More than half of the editors surveyed thought their news product was better than it was three years ago because it was more focused.
I was shocked when I came across this article. I wanted to scream out, DUH! Of course newspapers aren’t as good with less staff. The fewer people there are to write stories forces less people to write more. Firing reporters doesn’t mean the paper stops covering x,y and z. It just means reporter A is doing x,y and z instead of just x or y.
Do newspaper executives not realize how much work goes into a story? It’s astounding a study had to be done in order for this seemingly obvious news to get out. Wow, newspapers aren’t as good when no one is there to create good content. Shocking. How can a reporter write seven well researched, balanced, accurate stories when s/he only has time to write four?
We are currently facing this problem at the company I work for. At this point, if any of the reporters quit, their paper will be left without a paper. The company-wide hiring freeze means no one will be hired to replace those reporters. Papers will go downhill, and quickly, in this climate.
I don’t know if there is a solution to this problem until newspapers figure out how to make online ad revenue start counting. Until then, we face a serious risk of having papers’ content diminish in quality until no one relies on them for news.