As The Buggles famously sang in 1979, video, in fact, killed the radio star. As The Fort Worth Star-Telegram continues to share content with Dallas' Only Daily and slice positions and send talented writers out into the cold in 2011, it's apparent that the Internet is choking out newspapers.
My first job out of UT-Arlington in 1986 was at the FWST and I worked there 18 years before jumping to the Dallas Observer. Still have a lot of friends over there. Always a sad day when your colleagues are put out of a job, especially when they are as talented as Jan Hubbard and Gary West.
Those two, according to industry sources, are on the chopping block as part of an imminent 22 layoffs looming in Fort Worth.
Says publisher Gary Wortel, "Although we've seen improvements in revenue, we're still facing recessionary challenges. With an economic recovery that is slower than expected, we need to take additional steps to reduce costs."
The Star-Telegram laid off 15 employees last July and, if you get a vibe from parent company McClatchy, this isn't the end. Citing ad revenue that fell 10 percent from January 2010, McClatchy-owned papers in Sacramento, Kansas City and Charlotte also made cuts -- a combined 70 throughout the chain -- last week.
It's going to get worse before it gets better. Or, for newspapers, will it ever get better?
With the iPad and papers like the Morning News scrambling behind pay walls and good writers like Jim Reeves and Todd Archer jumping to dot.com, the outlook is grim. It's a better sports world when you can read Hubbard's take on the NBA and West's award-winning coverage of horse racing.
But more and more I find myself as consumed with blogging and tweeting as constructing columns for the gool ol' newsprint. The future, er present, is online instant communication and social networking. I just hope newspapers find a way to stay relevant.
It's at this time I'd like to officially cringe, while being thankful that my two gigs offer content for free. Enjoy. Please. I beg you.
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