Fellow writer and friend Linda Dubois (external link) recently made the news. Not as a reporter, her usual role, but as someone being reported on. Daryl Fisher of the West Sacramento News-Ledger (external link) quoted Linda at length in a piece discussing the decline of local newspapers. A link to the article is here (internal link). Linda has been in the journalism trade for 30 years but says it is getting harder and harder to make a living in the field; she may be losing her career. Daryl contends that newspaper and magazines have shed 20% of their staff since the year 2000, and that this number is only going up.
One reason for this cutting back is that so much news is available for free on the net. People no longer subscribe to newspapers like they used to. With that decline in revenue comes a decline in advertising and a decline in staff. What, then, is the future for local reporting? Especially for investigative pieces that take weeks or months to develop? Who will be left to report? The News-Ledger is proposing something novel: fashioning the newspaper into a non-profit organization that will organize a grass-roots reporting network that will employ the internet, radio, and the printed word. Stay tuned, and please read this thought-proving article. (internal link)
Update (January 31, 2016. The longtime editor of the News-Ledger, Steve Marschke, died in April of 2015. Daryl Fisher resigned from the paper in September, 2015. The newspaper is now under new ownership.)