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Looking at the numbers, I don't think the situation is that newspapers can't move online and generate readership. The problem is, as in the case of Azcentral, the experience of many of these sites just suck. During the past year Azcentral had a disastrous overhaul to their forums and clearly this has driven traffic away.

PS. Many bloggers may generate a lot of text but, except for the very few of high quality, much of it is regurgitated thoughts from paid columnist. Also, much of it is response to mainstream media reports. Without those I wonder how much content they could generate.

My wife is one of the sickos who just renewed with the Trib. They called me and offered doorstep 7 day a week papers for 6 months for $30. I enabling their demise.

It's very rare that bloggers generate their own news. Most of them are simple-minded reactionaries frothing out their opinions on news that others paid to gather.
Included with the lack of original reporting, you add in poor writing, no editing, and little imagination and you get the pitfalls of pure democracy – just because everyone can wear a bikini doesn't mean everyone should.

Michael, speaking about 'poor writing, no editing' we won't comment on our buddy Greg's spelling either - see 'trafic' above.

To his defense, Greg's writing is on average above what I see on most blogs.

The azcentral blogs are atrocious. They let ANYONE (A-N-Y-O-N-E) create a blog and pontificate on whatever rambling, idiotic thoughts come into their mind that day. When it first started and people like Ruelas, Talton and others had blogs (and I realize that most of the readership here wouldn't agree with their writings...) that at least contained a modicum of research and journalism, agree with them or not. Now, literaly any Tom, Dick or Harriett can just blab away on anything. Plus they don't change the screens for WEEKS at a time. If you go to one of the community links, the EXACT SAME blogs will be on the front page for days and days and yes, even weeks. So after awhile, why bother to go there? The content is mostly bad and doesn't change hardly ever.

Michel,

You are probably painting bloggers with too broad of a brush. It would seem to me that the problems you cite with bloggers plague many newspapers as well. Let's face it, the Republic and many other major metros have ceased to become originators of original reporting - choosing instead to rely heavily upon the reporting of wire services. Why? Because it's cheaper. Well, you can that on any news website for free. As for blogs, especially in the political realm, many actually do break original stories. Why? Because most papers, with the exception of the DC press and major papers like the LAT, NYT, and Chi Trib, have largely abandoned thorough political coverage. Instead, they focus their efforts on dumbed down news coverage. You can get that anywhere. Finally, far too many papers have lost sight of one of the true effects of the internet on news coverage - the democratization of news. 20 years ago, if someone didn't like the news coverage of their local paper, they had few other options to get their news. Now they do, and you are seeing the effect of that in the decline of circulation. There will always be newspapers in some fashion, but the days of a local paper being the primary source of news and thus able to maintain or grow a circulation base are a thing of the past.

First, lay off the spelling gripes. Jeez. Is there any blogger out there who hasn't missed a typo in a frenzied effort to get a point out there on the web?

Greg's Jihad against the dead tree media carries a strong element of truth, though he sometimes strays off the mark.

If E&P (as it's called in the biz) reported a drop in AZcentral traffic of that magnitude, it does point to something important.

Good post Greg.

I'll agree with your comments about Portillo and Robb - to a point. Neither one are compelling writers. Robb is intelligent, and to me he serves the purpose of telling me what the R-leaning Establishment is thinking. His stuff does get a bit dense at times. Portillo is kind of a nice guy, but his columns never generated much heat or light.

However: Greg is wrong when he predicts the demise of compelling columnists. There was something in Alantic about a year ago that made sense to me. Columnists who used to be syndicated can now ply their wares on the web, and sell ads.

I'd say Greg could make a living - or at least pay off his law schoool tuition - if he was little aggressive in selling ads (hint: hire a sales person, Greg).

I also think Tedski is missing a bet. I've told him that, and he ignores me - as do most smart people.

Don't agree, Tom. Some bloggers break news. But most pontificate on the day's events, the online equivalent of talking politics over a beer at the bar. Unfortunately, you have to dig through all the riff-raff to find gems like espressopundit.

Click the unsubscribe button on Azcentral.

See if it is easy to eliminate the flood
of E-mail ads!

Everytime you write one of these things, this is all I hear:

http://gawker.com/341807/the-simpsons-announces-the-death-of-print

The line that is missing from the clip is Skinner's retort:

"There's being right and there's being nice."

As I commented a few weeks ago, the newspaper business needs to ask what business they are in? Are they in the 'putting ink on newprint' business or something else? When they figure that out, they will be able to write a survivable business plan.

It's all about local news. The Republic, and to a lesser degree the Trib, still don't get that.

So much superfluous fluff, so much blatant ideological manipulation, so little hard local news. They still seem to have some sort of egomaniacal need to sit in their cubicles and think up new and more pretentious ways of telling their readers how to think.

The blogs are the worst. If somebody is good enough to keep a decent blog going, let them do it someplace else. They just get in the way. Is the concept that these blog writers might be posting some kind of useful info, because they rarely do. I'd like to see them try a new rule with the blogs: Nobody cares about your opinions. Post only news stories about observed events. Now that might be interesting. If I want opinions, I'll go get Greg's.

All I need from the local news orgs (and would still be willing to pay for, by the way) is information about what's going on with my local city hall, my local school board, my local neighborhood. That's the one service they can provide that no one else currently can. Yes they still do it in a cursory way, a handful of questionably chosen stories containing a handful of paragraphs with a handful of facts. But it's not good or interesting reporting.

I don't have no degree from no Cronkite School, so I guess I'm just not capable of understanding the nuances. It's easy to rant about it; I'm sure it's not so easy to do it. But really, what's so complicated? Get your guys out on the local streets and write some news stories, already. Drop the wire services. How much are they paying for that, and what else could they be doing locally with that money?

They decided that they wanted to be online community centers. That was their mistake. They still have time to do a radical shift which would save their organizations, albeit in very different forms, but they're not going to be willing to do it. Because at root what they're going to have to do is diminish and become small fish in the big pond, and I don't think their egos can take it.

Steve, that was perfect.

The downfall has already begun. Guys like Steve are taking their analysis lessons from television cartoons instead of serious thought. And others, like Faith. think this is "perfect."
We're not going to last as a superpower.

Jason,

I think the collapse of the newsprint industry is a reflection of the collapse not the cause of it.

Can you think of anything more like a police state than cameras to catch speeders on every road and subpeonas of local organizations for their internet readers.

Is it any wonder that Joe endorsed Janet for governor?

From the right or the left, oppression feels the same to the oppressed.

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