The Amish Cook column’s main home for most of it’s 20-plus years has been in the daily newspaper and it still is. But a toxic combination of recession, the internet, and changing consumer news needs have clobbered the once venerable broadsheets. And in most cases it becomes a cyclical negative feedback loop that goes like this: newspapers understandably pull back and cut content in response to the economic pinch, but then consumers also pull back when they don’t find their favorite comics or columnists in the paper, which then causes further economic duress for the newspapers, which causes them to cut more and, yea, down it goes. Newspapers that were once state-wide newspapers like the Des Moines Register in Iowa have pulled back geographic distribution dramaticaly.
One of the newspapers that The Amish Cook column appears in is The Hutchinson News in Kansas. They used to do daily delivery 4 hours away in the towns along the Colorado-Kansas border, towns like Ulysses and Liberal. It was one of the most amazing geographic reaches of any newspaper. They covered all of western Kansas and they still do, but it’s not quite the same. A comparable paper was the Bangor Daily News which still admirably covers huge geographic swatches of Down East Maine, but not to the extent they once did.
For years I watched first-hand as the Cincinnati Post (Cincinnati’s second daily) died. They used to fill news racks with Posts 100 miles from Cincinnati, then 50, then at the end you could barely find the Post in Cincinnati itself.
Newspapers are on my mind because of an article I read this morning predicting that things really won’t be getting much better in 2012 or maybe ever for that matter. Click here to read. But all is not lost….The Amish Cook column, for instance, has more readers than ever…it’s just that more and more of those readers are online and the struggle still continues for everyone about how to make the economics of it all work. So, do you read a daily newspaper and if so, which one? The Media Life article cites a study that says most newspapers will be gone in 5 years, do you agree?