Saturday, April 11, 2009

Newspapers can struggle on their own

Steven Greenhut writes:

Growing up, I recall my uncle losing his job as a linotypist after that form of hot-metal typesetting – a trend-setting innovation in the 1880s – gave way to phototypesetting methods. If you take a tour of the Orange County Register building, you’ll find a Linotype machine sitting in a hallway as a glorified doorstop. It looks like something from another planet, yet it wasn’t that long ago that it remained the industry standard.

When I started at the Register 11 years ago, we were fighting tooth and nail with the Los Angeles Times for control of the Orange County market. These days – like every other paper – the Times is contracting editions and reducing pages. I am not gloating. My editor just asked me when I plan on taking that unpaid one-week furlough – the latest cost-saving device at a newspaper that has already endured its share of layoffs.

But we’ve got it good. The Rocky Mountain News, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Baltimore Examiner have shut down their operations (the P.I. went Web-only), and good money has it that the San Francisco Chronicle will follow suit.

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