A sad day indeed. Ian Donnis and Scott MacKay report on the new staffing cuts at the Providence Journal and offer up a brief history of the ProJo’s sad decline from one of the finest privately-owned papers in the country to now. (WRNI 9.7.12)
The Journal had considerable swagger in the ’90s, with the kind of deep staffing suited to a state rich with colorful, sometimes eye-popping source material.
However, the new corporate owners (the ProJo was purchased in 1997 by the Belo Corporation) had motivations other than journalistic excellence, and declining circulation and ad revenues have further conspired to erode the bottom line. So here we are now on the brink. But newspapers are not buggy whip factories to be briefly mourned as quaint relics of the past. We desperately need that “deep staffing” to keep an eye on things — the democracy depends on it.
(The Pew Research Center’s ‘Project for Excellence in Journalism’ provides perspective from around the country, “Building Digital Revenues Proves Painfully Slow.”)