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Mainstream Media, Bloggers and Losing Local Newspapers

I live in Miami, Florida USA where the main daily newspaper is the Miami Herald. There are several other newspapers, most of them weeklies, but I do remember reading The Miami News, until it ceased publication on December 31, 1988.

Needless to say, the Herald has rolled out employee layoffs with possibly more on the horizon. There is an ever-increasing crescendo of voices concerned about the Miami Herald closing shop…folding…ceasing to exist.

Unfortunately, The Herald and many mainstream newspapers find themselves in a position similar to that of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors. They didn't change with the times either.

Rather than strategizing on how to weave the internet and bloggers into its business operations, it seems as though the paper's management chose to ignore the trend of the impact of the internet on the media. Even more non-productive has been an animosity towards bloggers.

Bloggers didn't destroy newspapers. On the contrary, when partnerships are formed with bloggers, key stories are circulated and linked back to the media outlet. Bloggers have helped expose many stories to the mainstream media who in turn, investigate and report on these important issues.

A newspaper is a business but I can't imagine Miami without The Miami Herald. That day may come but if it does, our community would be left to obtain news through weekly newspapers, radio, television and the internet. That would likely mean an end to hard-hitting, informative, investigative reports that only a newspaper can produce.

Interestingly, not much is reported about the impact of the economic downturn on the newspapers that target Miami's black community: The Westside Gazette, The Miami Times and The South Florida Times. There are other black newspapers here but these are some of the main offerings.

I'm sure the economy has likely taken its toll on their bottom-line but I would venture to guess that the readers don't hear much about it because there was so little advertisement income directed their way in the first place.

Much like the auto industry, I believe the media industry will right-size itself. The playing field on reporting has already shifted with the inclusion of black media at the President's press conferences. That's something I'd never particularly thought about but when it was brought to my attention, I admit that I was disappointed that legitimate, well-known publications had been denied access of the same level as mainstream media.

While the auto industry is being revamped, let's do the same with the media. Prayerfully, the country will be able to sustain a daily newspaper in metropolitan areas and all media will be afforded access to report on governmental issues. Also let's hope a happy medium is realized that will allow mainstream media to work collaboratively with bloggers in keeping readers informed throughout the world.