Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Is News Now A Charity?

Can't say I was entirely surprised, but two recent stories about the health of major newspapers really hit home. The Tribune Company, owner of the Chicago Tribune, LA Times and several other major papers has filed for bankruptcy after piling on debt last year to go private. The NY Times is mortgaging it's new headquarters to head off a cash crunch and Several other major papers have suspended debt payments.

One force at work is clearly the credit crisis, but the other is the continuing slide in industry fundamentals. We seee less and less cultural coverage in most papers. Bloggers can fill a lot of this as new informal networks emerge but we all must admit that a lot of us rely on links to news articles.

What new networks and media empires are emerging? Several great networks of blogs like The Implode-ometer have done the hard grunt work in covering the financial crisis. ArtCal, The James Kalm Report and Culture Pundits might be the be the new trend in arts coverage. I'm also very excited by the new Streetsblog Network aimed at linking bloggers who write about urban design and transit issues.

One big problem is that these networks rely much more on an ever changing pool of grass roots writers, most of whom are not well known. The old formal model of issuing media passes and sending press releases to a small group of approved elite is breaking down. The Carnegie was nice enough to offer all our contributors media passes this year but what about the potential new bloggers and those not on the radar and those in other cities and countries?

Anyway, I will end this with a pitch for more people to contribute content to this blog and help expand arts coverage in Pittsburgh.

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