Bad News

BAD NEWS….Via Eric Alterman, Pew reports on the changing face of the American newspaper:

It has fewer pages than three years ago, the paper stock is thinner, and the stories are shorter. There is less foreign and national news, less space devoted to science, the arts, features and a range of specialized subjects. Business coverage is either packaged in an increasingly thin stand-alone section or collapsed into another part of the paper. The crossword puzzle has shrunk, the TV listings and stock tables may have disappeared, but coverage of some local issues has strengthened and investigative reporting remains highly valued.

The crossword puzzle has shrunk? Seriously? That saves ’em — what? Two or three square inches?

Anyway, the whole thing is here. Bottom line: coverage of foreign news, national news, business news, and science news is plummeting. Education, crime, sports, and obituaries (!) are up. “In effect, America’s newspapers are narrowing their reach and their ambitions and becoming niche reads.” I continue to think that this is a more dire development than most of my fellow blog denizens do — though Eric himself is, if anything, even more alarmed at what’s happening than me. He also notes acidly that in the current frenzy of cost cutting at America’s newspapers, “Virtually the only expense still intact is executive pay. On the Recovering Journalist blog, Mark Potts notes that the average compensation among the thirteen public-company newspaper CEOs was just under $6 million a year in 2007, according to corporate proxy filings with the SEC. These figures, one can only conclude, are entirely unrelated to performance.” You got a problem with that?