The San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer are all among newspapers teetering on the brink of collapse. They are also papers in a twon with competing dailies. Today, another newspaper from a two-paper town announced it will close - tomorrow. Denver's Rocky Mountain News is shutting its doors.
This comes on the heels of this shiny new downtown office building the Denver Newspaper Agency (the entity that publishes both the Denver Post and the News in a joint operating agreement) built just a couple of years ago.
Does this portend the demise of dailies in one-paper towns? I sure hope not, I don't think we, as a democratic society, can afford for that to happen. Remember, the free market does not provide an efficient level of public goods and, to me, the media's watchdog role is a public good.
While I am talking about newspapers, is it now a common thing for newspapers to employ their own working reporters as columnists? I was surprised to see Anna Griffin's byline recently as I thought she had moved to being a full time columnist for The Oregonian. I prefer her as a reporter as I find her columns to be strange and incoherent - as if she is trying to rant like a columnist, but it does not come naturally. Anyway, I think it is dangerous for the reputation of a newspaper to have the same person reporting and opinionating on the news.