Locals profess hope for future of newspapers despite national decline


With newspapers across the United States starting to close or become online-only publications, the future of what will happen to the physical “newspaper” remains in question.

An article posted by 24/7 Wall Street listed 10 major newspapers across the U.S. that will soon either shut down their print operations or go digital.

The list included such newspapers as the Miami Herald, the Boston Globe, New York Daily Times and the Chicago Sun-Times. Most are looking to continue online, but analysts think many will still have trouble making ends meet.

Edward Seaton, editor-in-chief and publisher of the Manhattan Mercury, said in an e-mail that while it is true the newspaper industry is in crisis, it also continues to be profitable, just not as profitable as it has been.

Seaton recently gave a speech in Paraguay on how small newspapers are faring in the U.S. as part of a panel discussion at a meeting of the Inter American Press Association.

“Smaller newspapers, like my own group of seven dailies, are not unaffected,” Seaton said in his speech. “While we had a record year in 2007, our profits were down somewhat in 2008 and the current year continues that trend.”

Seaton said that while smaller newspapers do have problems stemming from the economic crisis, their staffs have had little to complain about so far.

Stacy Neumann, instructor of journalism and mass communications, said to truly serve the community, both print and digital options must be available. Still, going digital won’t necessarily increase the odds of survival in a poor economy, she said.

“Professional, responsible newspaper content isn’t free,” Neumann said. “We have to work for it and there’s eventually got to be some way to make the consumer pay for it.”

Publications at K-State will also have to face changes like other newspapers.

Linda Puntney, assistant professor and director of Student Publications Inc., said she doesn’t know yet how budget cuts will affect the Collegian, but thinks cuts will eventually be made. As a whole, she said the Collegian will have to have smaller papers, create more of an online presence and not renew its subscription to the Associated Press Wire Service.

Though cutbacks will almost certainly happen, Puntney said the future of print publication is bright.

“I think it’s exciting because what we’re doing now is paving the way for the next generation of student journalists and those involved are in a really cool place,” Puntney said. “Not only are you figuring it out for yourselves, but you’re figuring it out for a lot of people to follow you.”

Neumann and Puntney both said the newspaper industry is in a time of transition. Puntney said she thought the whole print industry as well as the journalism industry is cyclical.

“There are these periods of time when people think the newspaper industry is going to go away, but [newspapers are] still here,” Puntney said. “There’s still going to be room for some kind of a print product – I just think we’re going to have to constantly change it and supplement it with a lot of other things.”

While Neumann said it is sad to see newspapers struggling, she said she also believed this is an exciting time for the industry.

“It’s a time to reinvent ourselves and figure out how to deliver the news so we can perhaps reach a larger audience than we ever have before,” she said.


10 major newspapers that are likely to close or become online-only in 2009, according to 24/7 Wall Street
1. The Philadelphia Daily News
2. The Minneapolis Star Tribune
3. The Miami Herald
4. The Detroit News
5. The Boston Globe
6. The San Francisco Chronicle
7. The Chicago Sun-Times
8. The New York Daily News
9. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
10. The Cleveland Plain Dealer