Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The New York Times - A Dying Medium

This is Michael Hirschorn writing in The Atlantic about the death of newspapers in America. He says The New York Times will have to close in May this year if they don't do something fast. Much as I love the New York Times (someone said sometime "It's good to know all the news is in it, though one may not read it," or something such), I can't help but wonder if newspapers aren't doing themselves a disservice by glamourising the swish set and ignoring the common man.

I mean open any newspaper and you will find politicians, rock stars, movie stars, socialites, social climbers, wannabe stars, sports stars, in fact, so many stars as to make one go blind in the eye (blink!). But then what about the common man, his aspirations, his dreams, what he is facing, what he is going through. Zero, zilch, none, shoonyam! And what about aspiring writers, poets, artists, naturalists, etc. Again zero, zilch, nada!

I have long believed that newspapers should never compromise editorial sanctity. But, as a person who has also worn an advertising mask (remember I headed ASCI, not long ago), I have often thought of a newspaper's struggle to surivive against odds.

Here's what Hirschorn has to say, "But what if the old media dies much more quickly? What if a hurricane comes along and obliterates the dunes entirely? Specifically, what if The New York Times goes out of business—like, this May?

"It’s certainly plausible. Earnings reports released by the New York Times Company in October indicate that drastic measures will have to be taken over the next five months or the paper will default on some $400 million in debt. With more than $1 billion in debt already on the books, only $46 million in cash reserves as of October, and no clear way to tap into the capital markets (the company’s debt was recently reduced to junk status), the paper’s future doesn’t look good."

Wonder what the fate of Indian newspapers would be!

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