Baltimore-Washington area journalists discuss the newspaper situation

This post was written earlier this summer, so some of the material may seem out-of-date.  Due to the vast changes at this blog, I have re-posted some of my older articles.

 

A once proud and plentiful paper, the Baltimore Sun, now finds itself releasing a newspaper consisting of a mere two, maybe three sections for its daily print edition.

For more than a decade the print edition of newspapers worldwide has gradually been suffering.  This decline has been evident in some papers more so than others.

JohnEisenberg

Former Baltimore Sun columnist John Eisenberg (photo: goodreads.com)

“What happened at the Sun was awful, especially the way it was handled,” said John Eisenberg, a former Sun sports staff writer.

What Eisenberg was referring to was the manner in which Sun reporters were let go from their jobs.  The Sun laid off 61 staff members on April 30, which included three from the sports department whom were let go while covering a Baltimore Orioles game.

In the past year the Sun staff of reporters has been reduced from over 400 to less than 150.

According to Papercuts newspaper layoff tracker, over 20,000 journalists since the beginning of 2008 across the nation, including at the Sun, have been let go due to the economic deficiency that has been hindering the newspaper industry.

Much of the newspaper’s content has moved online, following the current trend of readers gathering their news from electronic media outlets as opposed to in the newspaper itself.

With all newspapers, not just the Sun, suffering from a lack of advertising revenue; papers have been forced to cut their costs.

All of this has meant not only a reduction the size of newspaper staffs, but the physical size of the daily print edition of newspapers.

TimLemke

Washington Times reporter and blogger Tim Lemke (photo: Washingtontimes.com)

For those accustomed to their daily paper, the question is how far will all this go?  Would a newspaper as large as the Baltimore Sun ever cease to exist?

“I never thought that any major newspaper would ever go out of business,” said Tim Lemke, the sports business reporter for the Washington Times.  “But we can no longer assume any paper will be around forever.”

There are those within the industry who still remain optimistic about the future.

“There probably will be some market for a paper product for a long time to come,” said Peter Schmuck, national sports blogger and columnist for the Baltimore Sun.

Even with the optimism, the decline of newspapers cannot go unnoticed and there is still a sense of fear and uncertainty about the future.

PeterSchmuck

Baltimore Sun columnist and blogger Peter Schmuck (photo: Baltimoresun.com)

Recently the Sun has increased its newsstand price to a dollar for a product that is noticeably smaller than in year past.

“The future is very cloudy for them,” said Lemke.

“[I] just don’t know what it’s [the Sun] going to look like,” said Schmuck.  “I fear that’s going to backfire in a big way.”

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