The top editor at the New York Times is predicting the death of local newspapers in five years, lamenting it as “the greatest crisis in American journalism.”
In remarks to the International News Media Association’s “World Congress of News Media” last week, Times executive editor Dean Baquet speculated “their economic model is gone.”
“The greatest crisis in American journalism is the death of local news,” he said, adding: “I don’t know what the answer is. Their economic model is gone. I think most local newspapers in America are going to die in the next five years, except for the ones that have been bought by a local billionaire.”
According to Baquet, it’s crucial that “everybody who cares about news — myself included, and all of you — should take this on as an issue.”
“Because we’re going to wake up one day and there are going to be entire states with no journalism or with little tiny pockets of journalism,” he predicted.
“I’m not worried about Los Angeles and New York,” he added. “I don’t know what the model is for covering the school boards in Newark, New Jersey. That makes me nervous.”
According to INMA, Baquet also asserted the Times’ “power as a news organization rests in the fact that people know we try to get it right and that we’re not advocating.”
“The story we did about Donald Trump’s taxes, the two stories we’ve done, my honest belief is that, even if you don’t like us, you believe those stories,” he said.
“I think if those stories had appeared in The Nation, which is an openly left publication that I happen to admire, it would not have had the same impact. One of my jobs is to protect the view that, if you like us or not, we try to be fair and we try to get it right and we’re not influenced by political perspective.”
An Associated Press analysis in March showed that over the 15 years, 1,400 towns and cities across America have lost a local news outlet. Additionally, the Pew Research Center reported last year that newspaper circulation has steadily dropped for the past 30 years and ad revenues generated by outlets tanked dramatically in 2006 and continue to decline.
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