How corporations killed newspapers

In case you were wondering it wasn’t the internet and free content that killed newspapers it was corporations. Well that’s what Michael Moore has been telling people in Toronto as he promotes his film, ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’.

He spent some time talking about the US newspaper business and the thousands of reporters who have been cut by their corporate bosses, which has left many beats uncovered and stories unwritten. He said he looked at including the decline of newspapers in his new film, but the subject was a documentary in itself.

He argues that American newspapers have ignored their markets and stopped writing about what people want to read. So fewer reporters covering labour and poverty issues, which if you live in Detroit (his home town) or Baltimore (home of ‘The Wire’s’ creator David Simon) might be important.

The decline of US newspapers is, of course, a subject close to David Simon’s heart and Moore says he spent time speaking with him about the subject. The final season of the ‘The Wire’ picks up the story of The Baltimore Sun as it goes through a new round of cuts by its parent corporation in Chicago.

The Baltimore Sun like a lot of US newspapers is in decline. In ‘The Wire’ we got to see its foreign bureaus shut down and reporters made redundant resulting in corners being cut and standards slipping.

Moore says it’s the cost cutting bean counters and corporations in America who have bought these newspapers like Sam Zell whose Tribune owns the Baltimore Sun and private equity firm Platinum Equity, which bought and swiftly slashed The San Diego Union-Tribune.

“These newspapers have slit their own throats,” Moore said. “Good riddance.”

Worse in Moore’s mind is these corporations backed the Republicans who have reduced investment in education, which means America has a growing illiteracy and comprehension problem that ultimately means there are less people capable of picking up and reading a newspaper.



  • Kevin Gordon

    Agree. Ever since the arrival of the page 3 girl attention has moved away from jounalism into sensationalism. Page 3 in the UK forced the other tabloids down a road to ruin over circulation wars based on lowering of standards and demise of journalism. At the same time, photojounalism had massive impact in bringing stories to life, and that’s exactly what online is doing now. It’s a revolution in time. However, the danger is that everyone ends up knowing a bit about everything, and a lot aboiut nothing in its entirety. This can be seen in Journalism today. very few newspapers deliver a balanced story, but tend to provide an opinionated view of a given situation in favoiur of sensationalism.

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