April 4, 2013

For years my business was based in Southern Oregon and I was a regular reader of the Medford Mail Tribune. Through a series of ownership changes, which reflected the continuing revenue decline facing all newspapers, the Tribune has changed owners about as often as I change shoes. Now their current owner, News Corp (owner of the Wall St. Journal) wants to sell all their community newspapers. Big mistake.

Local papers are the only newspapers that really have a chance of making money and surviving the online tide. Sure, papers are moving to more digital delivery since the current generation has lost their connection to “paper and ink” (the City of Medford recently gave city council members iPads to eliminate paper reports). And paywalls, paying for content, will be the norm (if papers can ever figure how to do this without upsetting the occasional reader).

But just because local newspapers will be delivered differently, they still deliver local news that is very relevant to your life. For now, local newspapers are still the “media of record” keeping us connected to our community. I think anyone that is betting against local newspapers (and TV stations) are betting on the wrong horse.


  1. Mark, I agree with you- as much as I use digital media, I need the Trib. to help me stay in touch w/ our community. —-It will be great loss to the Rogue Valley if the Trib. dissolves, but I know it is probably an economy- driven decision.


  2. Hi Mark,

    I would read the Trib and possibly even pay to do so if they had better writing. I am an avid reader of the NY Times ( I always get my 10 articles per month, actually more like 30 counting the 3 different computers I read them on) and the New Yorker- which provides lots of free content daily, mainly because they concentrate on the quality of writing they publish. I realize the Trib cannot afford the kinds of salaries the Times and New Yorker can, but thoughtful in- depth writing has never been a goal of the Trib, as far as I can tell. For example, why in this land of superior live performances, do they not have a regular thoughtful and thought provoking theatre/music critic? And I am not convinced there aren’t good writers in our neck of the woods, the Trib just doesn’t appear to seek them out.

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