My Parents Dropped The Newspaper

One of the biggest reasons I became a journalist was because of my early exposure to the world of news and information via the daily newspaper.

As a child, I grew up in a house where we received by the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch (the morning newspaper) and The Richmond News Leader (the afternoon newspaper).

Tonight my father broke the BIG news to me– he had decided to discontinue receiving the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

He asked if I would show him how to efficiently get his news on the Internet.

What made him make that decision?

The subscription cost just continued to rise even though the paper itself was shrinking.

Why should a customer pay MORE for less news?

I think the whole idea of printed newspaper going away wasn’t real to me — until this MAJOR shift in news consumption took place.

When I return home to Virginia later this year, there won’t be a copy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch on my front porch.

My dad plans to get the community weekly, which specializes in covering Richmond’s black community.

I worked briefly as a stringer for The Richmond Free Press. But, this weekly has always been free.

Dad says even the Free Press is smaller than it used to be.

I’m having a hard time processing this latest news about newspapers.

Right now I’m in Alabama and I still get 3 or 4 papers each day.

But I can’t say that’s the case with many of my neighbors.

Since my dad won’t immediately be reading the content of the Times-Dispatch online, the reality is the staff there has lost a longtime reader.

That’s what is most troubling.

Is the cost of newsprint that much higher that newspapers have to charged subscribers more for a smaller newspaper that has less news?

That’s a question I would like to put the management at the Times-Dispatch and its parent company, Media General.

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Author: George Daniels

George L. Daniels is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Alabama. After spending eight years in the local television newsroom working as a producer at stations in Richmond, Virginia; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Atlanta, Georgia, Daniels moved from the newsroom to the classroom. He’s conducted research on diversity issues in the media workplace and change in the television newsroom as well as media convergence. Before going to work in television news, Daniels worked briefly as a freelance writer for The Richmond Free Press in his hometown of Richmond, Va.

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