Saturday, February 26, 2011

Newspaper's Big CEOs Make Money, Not News

TV entertainment as news fouls the airwaves

Will Rogers’ comment that “All I know is what I see in the newspapers” needs to be updated: “All I know is what I see on the internet newspapers.” And a great deal harder to seek out the truth on the World Wide Web than opening up a daily newspaper and hold it, fold, read in any room. It’s so nice, that special smell of ink on newsprint. Enjoy while you can.

The only thing you smell on the Internet and television is the gun powder stench; lots of screeching tires; bedroom scenes galore and exaggerated over-abundance of cleavage (of the prettier gender) by entertainment hosts.

Anything you want to buy they have long legs and smiling girls pushing it on you. Even advertize condoms and all kinds of enhancers for the wandering male or female. And why is that “nekked” couple sitting in bathtubs outside in the first place? Why does a family of bears need to be promoting toilet paper? More is spent on commercials than news programming.

It is an unfortunate fraud by cable and networks to promote “entertainment” as news and put it on their newscasts. They have expanded and excelled the “yellow journalism” of old time newspapers. It is a smart con the “users of the public airways” puts over on us. They report a starlet’s bra size or who is in re-hab rather than what is actually going on in Washington government chambers and Wall Street board rooms. No money for foreign correspondents anymore.

Recently on C-SPAN, Andre Schiffrin, founder of The New Press, argued that the conglomeration’s take-over of publishing houses, magazines and newspapers (from people who had printer’s ink in their veins) publishing of all kinds began to go downhill. Each book was expected to make a sizable profit or they would not print it.

The demise of many newspapers came about, not because they lost a little money, or broke even, but they did not make enough to suit the suits who took over. That is why foreign correspondents are disappearing and many informative books not published. Greed.

Half a century ago, daily newspapers were primarily published as afternoon newspapers. Remember when the Fort Worth Star-Telegram published both morning and afternoon editions? Those were the days of the Houston Post, Dallas Time-Herald and the San Antonio Light. Along with thousands of others these great papers have been shelved deep in some library archives.

In 1950, there were 1,772 daily newspapers published in America. That has dropped to 1,437. The latest count I could find was in 2006. Probably many more have been closed the last five years.
Research tells me that the average weekday readership of daily newspapers in the top 50 markets has declined from 77.6 percent in 1970 to 48.4 percent in 2007. During the same period, Sunday readership has gone from 72.3 percent to 55.4 percent.

The sad part of this era comes down to those who hurt the most, like sports editor Frank DiLeo, who wrote: “For the second time in two years, I am being laid off from my job as sports editor of the New Jersey Daily Record.” He even won the first New Jersey Press Association award for innovation a few years back.

Men like Frank are victims of corporate greed, just like millions of folks out there going through the same thing in publishing, waiters, secretaries and laborers along with farmers and us average folk. It’s all about profit margins.

Britt Towery, free-lance writer, who once had a writing office in the Southern Building, Center Ave., Brownwood Texas, just across from the Lyric Theater where he made 35 cents an hour. E-mail:

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