It’s hardly a secret that newspapers aren’t doing very well these days. Over the decades, they’ve been gradually replaced as the nation’s universal mass medium by television.
Newspaper’s biggest economic blow came, however, with the flight of advertising revenue to the Internet. This, combined with an ever-more busy public bombarded by more and more media choices, has badly wounded what was once a thriving industry. And, left us in danger of being dangerously uninformed as well. Ann Arbor, for example, no longer has a daily newspaper at all.
The problem is perhaps most acute in Detroit, where, twenty-five years ago, the Detroit News and Free Press sold a combined total of one point three million newspapers every day.
That number has declined ever since. Audited figures show that as of last September, they were down to a combined circulation of less than four hundred thousand, a number that has dropped further since then.
To save money two years ago, Detroit’s newspapers embarked on an experiment in which they would deliver the papers only three days a week, and asked consumers to read them online or go to the store and buy it the rest of the week. This really hasn’t worked.