06/22/08 142 W - + 11 - 14 News & Observer Cuts

Here's another Indy piece on the News & Observer job cuts. Today's paper also provides information on the coming changes. Readers can expect less local coverage, less business news, less late stuff (sports, breaking news), and a page less of opinion each week. All told, it says, 14 fewer pages each week. What role has the Internet and social media had here? Speaking, er, writing ancedotally, it's been some years since the paper was one's sole source for news of incidents or developments related to fire departments. There are now niche news sites, such as FireNews. There are niche bloggers, such as Yours Truly, who provide a sort of journalistic service. Official press releases are increasingly common, and easy to find online. Same with public documents, which can be browsed or search for noteworthy news. Etcetera, etcetera. Whole new world.

Living in Charlotte, and seeing what the conglomeration of the people who own the Charlotte Observer and the N&O has done here I am close to canceling my subscription because the only reason I got the paper was for the local news. That has all but disappeared, and what is in there is usually so incompetently covered or written that it is frustrating to read. Now the only reason to get the paper is to read the comics. Seems to me they are taking away the stuff most people read the paper for, is it any wonder the paper is a dying format? How about less AP news stories and more actual reporting versus hyping.
coop2 - 06/22/08 - 17:36

One of the more successful newspapers in the area is The Dunn Daily Record. It covers a lot of local news and very little beyond. The Smithfield Herald USED to be a good read, but the format has changed and the content is less. Now it is not worth the bother. I think that the de-emphasis on local news by the N&O is a big mistake. Oh well, the print media is in decline. Before you know it there will only be online media to read.
DJ - 06/22/08 - 20:15

DJ is right about the Dunn Daily Record – I think we can attribute the decline of the Smithfield Herald to the fact that they are now owned by the N&O and are now printed in Raleigh. I’m sick and tired of the N&O poor mouthing and bashing our troopers. They’re as bad as WRAL. There are some interesting comments that were added to WRAL today about their choice of news coverage and covering a cow calling contest over the trooper’s funeral. Local news and sports is the only reason I look at the N&O now… if they get any worse, I too will stop reading. When I first started in EMS our local newspaper reporters were always carrying their scanners and coming to the scene of even minor accidents. We had EXCELLENT coverage of local public safety news from newspaper back in the day and they always gave us excellent photos of our scenes. The local newspaper reporter is a dying thing in this area it seems.
Jason (Email) - 06/22/08 - 21:23

News coverage in general is getting crappy. Think about it- WRAL shows news from 5:00 pm until 6:60 pm and they regurgitate the same stuff over and over. There is a lot happening here in the Triangle. There is enough happening in Raleigh and Wake County alone to keep WRAL busy. And there are lots of so called ‘national’ and ‘international’ news outlets. Aside from CNN, MSNBC, and FNC, there are the network programs. But it is a sad commentary (on who I can’t say- the public or the news media) when national news coverage centers more and more on ‘celebrity worship’ and who was bumped from “American Idol”.

Oh well, I guess we get what we ask for/ deserve.
DJ - 06/22/08 - 21:52

Jason raises the question of balanced coverage, in his comments regard SHP stories. Do some agencies or classes of responders get fairer shakes than others? What does bad (unbalanced) coverage look like? Or, if you prefer, what would good (balanced) coverage resemble?
Legeros - 06/22/08 - 21:57

One thing I’ve noticed; if a Trooper is allegedly doing something wrong, it’ll be a top story on wral.com for 5 days. But, when one gets killed in the line of duty, it’s a story for 1/2 a day, then Miss Teen NC is the lead story. I say we all boycott wral and watch NBC!!!!
Silver - 06/22/08 - 22:28

you want to talk about a crappy paper, take a look at the Eastern Wake News…better known as the “Eastern Wake Enquirer” for its tabloid-esque nature.
JBoggs - 06/23/08 - 08:52

It seems a lot of the local papers have that tabloid approach. One that I have always thought was a class act in the past was The Tideland News from Swansboro, as compared to the National Enquirer approach by The Carteret County News-Times in Morehead City. Like I said above, I used to enjoy The Smithfield Herald, which was based soley on local news. Bottom line is that the news media is ever changing to another entertainment venue. Like everything else, I guess it has to make money. Maybe the fact that communities are changing and that society is changing plays a big role in “what is news”. Maybe some of the crap that passes for news does so for its “entertainment value”.

I remember watching “Today” when I was growing up and the emphasis was on “news”. Of course, there were a lot of news events going on then- Viet Nam, the Civil Rights struggle, and more. Now the lead stories involve “Survivor”, “American Idol”, “Dancing With The Stars”, or what/who has Brittney Spears or Lindsey Lohan or Nicole Richie done lately. And who cares how many kids Brad and Angelina adopt/ have? And look at the format of shows such as “Fox and Friends”. And then you have to remember that many more people get their “news” from entertainers like Rush Limbaugh, Shaun Hannidy, etc., and that even more people truly get their news from “Entertainment Tonight” or “Insider”, or “Inside Edition”.

An NC trooper getting killed on the job is a brief spot, but yes, troopers having sex in the car goes on and on. Firefighters making a genuine rescue got how much media coverage? But I bet the fire chief in Harnett County accused (only accused at this point) has drawn more attention. Anyone seen anything about Chief Crocker from Pine Level on WRAL, WNCN, or WTVD?

Who gets the better (or fairer) ‘shakes’? Hmmm, I don’t know if I want to jump on that one or not…
DJ (Email) - 06/23/08 - 10:18

Responder saves someone, versus responder steals from someone. Which gets more news coverage? Well, that’s a no brainer. By why does that happen? Why is, say, a law officer scandal covered twice or more as much as a law officer duty death? Part of the reason, I suspect, is that difference in the situations, and with respect to expectations of readers/viewers. They are, by in large, not members of the responder community. Thus, their expectation of a responder is someone, well, who may die in the line of duty. That story is “dog bites man.” Not unusual, if you will. It is within the framework of their expectation. But a scandal, a responder who commits bad behavior? That goes against their grain of expectation. Yeah, the responder is just as human as anyone, but that society-applied higher standard turns the story toward “man bites dog.” Unusual. Thus, perhaps one of the reasons for the disproportionate coverage.
Legeros - 06/23/08 - 21:54

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