Thursday, February 19, 2009

And so it goes

Next round of bad news in the regional newspaper business comes to you today from Catskill and Hudson, where the dailies serving those communities are cutting back to a five-day week.

The Catskill Daily Mail and the Hudson Register-Star, both owned by the Johnson Newspaper Corp. of Watertown, will publish Tuesday through Saturday, meaning their markets won't have a home town paper on Sunday and Monday.

This move follows other recent negative developments: the closing of the bi-weekly Independent in Columbia County, seven weeklies in Dutchess County and one in Putnam County, all owned by the Freeman's parent company, as well as the demise of the Ulster County Press weekly and the closing of one and the merging of two weeklies in the Ulster Publishing group.

You know the reasons by now: bad economy, decreased readership, less advertising revenue. It's a recipe for disaster, and it's spreading from one corner of the nation to the other. In the state of Washington, for example, newspaper publishers are asking for a break on taxes to stay in business.

I can't speak for the entire industry, but I dare say newspapers don't want a bailout from government. That would create a cozy relationship worth avoiding. We do want people to recognize the value of what it is we do.

The more people who buy a newspaper - and the more who advertise in it - the longer that newspaper will last. And as noted here and elsewhere, the loss of a local newspaper will impact you in ways about which you haven't given much thought.People in Catskill and Hudson are going to find that out the first Sunday or Monday they go to the newsstand or home delivery tube and discover their paper isn't there.
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