Our local newspaper is laying off more workers. I’m not overly concerned by this. I have never had a newspaper subscription and only read the newspaper once a month, at most. I skim the articles looking for something interesting, but usually find myself reading the funnies instead. It seems like they are the most insightful and well-researched part of the paper anyway. With the wide variety of information available online, I see very little need for local newspapers. Many of the articles are copied directly from the Associated Press. The local articles are frequently poorly researched and written.
Newspapers need to compete with online media, like Google News and blogs. Very few journalists can compete with the deep knowledge of expert bloggers. If I want information on science issues, Phil Plait is a much more reliable source than my usual newspaper. Same goes for politics. In local interests, the one area where our newspaper could concievably compete with online sources, our newspaper still fails to do the job. The newspaper didn’t run anything on the potential fee for kayaks until the bill had already passed the house!
I wouldn’t say it’s good that local newspapers are dying – after all, the Statesman still provides jobs for over 300 people. But as far as information supply goes, it isn’t a bad thing either.