The Media World Without Newspapers?

March 23, 2009

Three prominent Austin  media personalities worried out loud late last week about the acceleratng  demise of the daily newspaper. Paul Burka, political edtor of Texas Monthly; Ross Ramsey, publisher of Texas Weekly and Harvey Kronberg of the Quorum Report, all offered their views during a political panel discussion led by George Scott Christian at the Texas Legislative Conference in New Braunfels.

“We all need newspapers”, said Burka, noting that TM has 12 editions a year needing  good political stories. It was pointed out that “we now have a huge ‘echo chamber’. Newspapers run articles and a lot of people comment on them”  But what if there is no original material to comment on?  It is no secret that rip and read voices on radio and television swipe  local news from the morning Statesman.

And as Texas newspapers  are forced to continue staff cuts in the face of crumbling revenues, the skilled reporter who spends the time and shoe leather to develop the stories is becoming an endangered specie. That has become especially troubling for the future of investigative journalism.

The ultimate consequence of the shrinking newsroom? “There’ll be fewer watchdogs” predicted Ramsey. “And we may have to rely on opposition research writers for our information,” said Kronberg, adding a colorful imaginary example of such prose laced with trash talk.

As a climax to the panel,  the three were asked by Christian who will win the upcoming heavyweight bout between Governor Rick Perry and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Two of the the three picked Hutchison; the other handicapped Perry. For who picked whom, you’ll have to ask the players or another witness.                                       

                                                                                                                                  -Julian Read

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One Response to “The Media World Without Newspapers?”

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