A Death in the Family
The holocaust of print journalism has hit close to home, as the paper I used to write for — which also happens to be the paper I grew up reading and the last daily competitor for a monolithic corporate publisher — will layoff 40 percent of its staff, pull coverage from two cities and scale back to four-day publication.
The Tribune is going the way of the Phoenix Gazette, and proving that there is no room in the coagulating media business for two (or really any) independent sources of news in even a large city like Phoenix, Arizona.
That’s 142 hard-working journalists who will be sacked, departing along with the executive editor who hired me, who will retire after 37 years in the newspaper business.
It’s the paper my mother read every morning since I was a kid, and made me reassemble back into its original form if I were to read it before her.
I had the pleasure to work for the paper a few years back, and the reporters there took joy in swiping stories from the dominant corporate paper in town, the Republic. And mostly, we just did what we could to give ass-kicking coverage of local events where Gannett didn’t see profitable.
As much as the LA Times fiasco is the canary in the coal mine, the death of local, scrappy city newspapers is a blaring signal that the Fourth Estate is in big trouble in this country. Free speech and watchdog journalism are still around and will never die, make no mistake. It’s just too bad it won’t be delivered to your doorstep anymore. At least not seven days a week, and only about 60 percent strong, if you’re lucky.