NPR clears its doorstep

NPR has decided to cancel all of its newspaper subscriptions, except for the Wall Street Journal. Romenesko posted an internal NPR memo that says staffers have until today to appeal this decision: "This is a cost saving measure company wide."

Hartford Courant columnist Rick Green picked up on the story and wrote this:

Memo to self: cancel pledges to WFCR and WNPR.

Newsbusters goes for the jugular on a few NPR salaries:

"Have you considered that paying salaries of $300,000 or more might be a bigger problem than paying a few quarters for the morning papers?"

I'll point out some things. One, newspapers have been cutting subscriptions to each other for some time now. Two, at Marketplace, we just reviewed our subscriptions to make sure we're being as prudent as possible. Everybody's looking for places to trim their budgets. NPR and our company, American Public Media, have cut jobs.

Public radio listeners are certainly considering their own personal budgets in deciding how much to pledge. But our non-profit model still relies heavily on listener support. That money allows NPR and APM to do their own coverage of the news, not just read someone else's.

My first job in journalism was at a newspaper. I get it. But I also know we're going through a sea-change in the way people get their news.

I'd really like to know what you think about this.

And to my point about sea-change, Sky News has appointed a Twitter correspondent. They're not just covering Twitter, they'll be watching the website for breaking news.

I like the way the Guardian characterizes this:

Half of me thinks this the inevitable, ludicrous conclusion of the frenzied Twitter coverage we've seen in the past few weeks, and it will last about as long as the Reuters' Second Life correspondent. The other half thinks it rather misses the point, which is that Twitter should be a tool that any forward-thinking journalist tries out, learns and then incorporates into their news gathering.

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Part of the newspapers problem was they became too reliant on the AP so when you would read a story you had already been exposed to the info in more detail from some other source. They also begin to dumb down detail. The news community as a whole has just become an echo chamber of the latest controversy. If more newspapers would take a lesson from Tara Servatius in Creative Loafing on real reporting more newspapers would still be healthy. She would add real information about a problem where the big local paper would just print a lot of words that amounted to a lot of quotes from several big wigs. The Public Radio community have found their success by doing long interviews of people in the trenches instead of only talking to those at the top for a sound bite quote.

Mark, I'm glad you gave a shout out to Tara Servatius. I used to do some work with her in Charlotte, and she was in the best sense, tenacious Servatius.

I'm surprised that no one has commented on the salary issue as it applies to cost cutting in tight times. These journalists can obviously afford their own newspaper subscriptions, at least until the Obama tax plan takes full effect.

Newspapers are still my preferred method of news gathering. Yeah, I know it's "old school", but when I have a newspaper <b>I</b> get to choose which stories get read, not some director that is looking for a ratings boost. I can ignore the stuff that doesn't hold any interest for me and skip the ads. I get what I <i>want</i> and nothing more. On TV, radio or the internet, the viewer is fairly assaulted with ads.

I used to have a daily subscription, but cut it out entirely for a while... just to see. I picked it up again after several months, but only on the weekends (Fri, Sat, Sun). This is as much news as I feel I need. If anything truly newsworthy happens in the interim, I'm sure I'll hear about it at work or on my drive to/from work.

Every news outlet, whether it's print, online or on the airwaves has an editorial slant; we're all human, after all. With a newspaper, I can take the time to read past the slant and get the real story. The other mediums tend to rapid-fire the info at you and you barely have time to digest the story, much less <i>think</i> about it before they are moving on to the next tittilation that will keep you there to be marketed to.

I'll keep my newspaper, thanks!

By dropping a newspaper are you dropping the content or the medium? The content is virtually everywhere so I would have to say that NPR isn't loosing that. Instead, you are loosing the luxury of the medium (newsprint). A medium that arrives at your doorstep outdated and makes your fingers turn black. I think I will skip that one and just get the content online.... apparently I am not alone. Sadly the newspaper industry has not yet figured out the revenue model for the online commodity of content.

Yes, Thom, the medium, not the content for the reasons you point out. Maybe it's moves like this that will get the newspapers to figure out a workable online revenue model.

There is the concept that taking your time to review what is happening is not obsolete. The fact the paper arrives in the morning does not mean it is outdated.

The advantage of the paper means that the information can be studied. Yes some of us have more ability to attend to more than a 30 second sound byte.

The only reason I still subscribe to my Sunday paper is for the TV magazine, grocery coupons, and classifieds. I know I can get those online, but it's nice not to have to fire up a computer to see what's being blown up on the Discovery Channel.

NPR will be monitoring the websites of other newspapers, right? I am a little concerned about the bias of the WSJ. I prefer my news to be a little more balanced. . .

Yes, Austin, I'm sure they will. NPR just won't be subscribing to the physical newspapers anymore. The content on most newspaper websites is still free. And the number of web news sources, of course, continues to grow.


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