Earlier this month, the world of print journalism was rocked by the news that the New York Times Company is selling the Boston Globe for $70 million.
Sounds like a lot – until you realize the Times paid $1.1 billion for the Globe 20 years ago.
Then, the second punch landed last week when the Washington Post announced it was selling its flagship newspaper for just $250 million.
In real estate terms, this is prime beachfront property selling for mere pennies on the dollar. And the news was no better at the Gannett Company, which announced a layoff of 200 more employees nationwide, including up to a dozen more at the Courier-Journal.
All this adds up to one huge question:
In the Internet age, do people really need a newspaper anymore? Or do they only need what a newspaper does?
I ask this, even though WDRB's parent company – Block Communications – is the publisher of two newspapers, the Toledo Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. They, too, have felt the sting of declining circulation in recent years, but fortunately, they also happen to be among the world leaders in making the transition from traditional broadsheet journalism to e-delivery of the news.
As a TV executive, newspapers are part of my competition. But I still like getting a paper in the morning to pick up and read at my leisure. It just feels good to me. And I'd hate to see it go.
But these latest moves, coupled with the fact that more and more dailies are cutting back to just three times a week, lead me to wonder: Are we actually witnessing the final act of the newspaper era?
I hope not. But call and tell us what you think. And for more on this, you should really check out Eric Crawford's column on the same topic at WDRB.com.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my...Point of View.