A Death and a Life
From the "every cloud has a silver lining" files, I submit the following dismal news and return with a possibly uplifting note. It was reported today that several cities could be without a daily paper as soon as 2010.
This is, of course, horrific news for anyone in the publishing field. Publications are living, breathing organisms. They have hearts that pump words, a liver called a finance department, and a circulation system transferring the words though the business arteries. They might even have brains, sometimes called publishers, but that is still an ongoing metaphysical question without a finite answer. The point is that newspapers are a living and breathing union of parts. So we all understand and shudder, as we should, when we hear or read about the imminent death of fellow publishing souls.
If the article is correct and there is impending doom for some cities' papers, where oh where is the uplifting part you ask? Here is my hypothesis. Nature hates a vacuum, and the death of any newspaper creates an information vacuum on the local level. Who better to fill that local void than a local magazine? On the whole, of all the sectors of the magazine business, the city and regional sector are among the most successful. They are doing well.
Is there a connection between the demise of newspapers and that ascendency of local magazines? I would say, yes, there has to be. And why not? They provide a service not easily duplicated by anyone else but the locals. It doesn’t matter if you are a citizen of the town or a tourist, what you want is the local flavor, attractions, events and restaurants. A local magazine with a well designed Web site fills the void of the missing newspaper. The magazine provides everything but the daily news, and the news is found on the national Web sites.
It seems an inevitable course -- the death of one creature, the thinning of the forest, that makes room for the next dominate player.