The newspaper shrinks — but let’s leave psychiatrists out of it, okay Bill?


Just the other day the topic of journalism versus newspapers was raised. I’m thinking Bill Hanson didn’t read it.

Tell me more: “Bail Out Journalists. Let Newspaper Chains Die.”

… The advertising business that has sustained the local newspapers — the car dealers, retailers and movie theaters that for generations filled their pages with ads — has gone from slow decline to free fall.

So the leaders trying to get the local news industry through this economic shock need to confront reality. The revenue from print advertising and aging print subscribers was already going away. When this crisis is over, it is unlikely to come back …

It is unsurprising, then, that the local chain newspaper finds itself at this juncture.

Effective next week, the News and Tribune will begin a five-day-a-week publishing schedule by discontinuing the Monday newspaper. We will continue publication and delivery to subscribers and newsstands Tuesday through Saturday.

Earlier today Hanson prefaced a rant by denying a rant was about to occur. I feel badly for the staff writers and other personnel who do actual work. I feel nothing whatever for Hanson.

HANSON COLUMN: The right and the wrong of it

In my younger days, I would have slung my sports coat across the room, sat down at my computer and started pounding out a rant on my keyboard.

Why not? It still works for me.

I have been refreshed by the kind comments from subscribers of the News and Tribune to our day-reduction announcement. They have buoyed the spirits of an understandably deflated staff. Unfortunately, the snarky, ill-prepared and just plain mean-spirited comments outnumber the good ones. Those comments are neither fair nor productive to healthy relationships between a newspaper and its readers.

When social media warriors state that there is nothing in the newspaper, they are wrong. During the week of April 13-18 alone, the News and Tribune carried 118 general news stories about the men, women and children of Clark and Floyd counties. Nearly all of that content was generated by reporters of the News and Tribune. That count doesn’t include any obituaries — just stories. Clearly there’s content in the newspaper.

Did you catch that? Healthy relationships aren’t possible unless you agree with Hanson. And “social media warriors” is the stuff of an ill-tempered rant, is it not?

I reckon this is an opinion but I’d say you’re wrong if you believe the News and Tribune content isn’t worth its cost. If you value a Big Gulp more than being informed about your community, I may be wrong. If you’d rather stock up on cigarettes than information, I stand corrected. If cable TV shows are more informational to you than your hometown newspaper, I can’t get through to you. All three of these items are more expensive than a copy of your News and Tribune and none of them informs you about your friends and neighbors.

While you’re at it, Bill, can you tell us the annual value in advertising dollars of those City of New Albany ads with the mayor’s name splashed all over them — you know, the de facto campaign ads disguised as tourism touts, which you lap up like mother’s milk?

See, the city won’t tell us, and neither will you — but isn’t it the newspaper’s job to tell us what the city won’t?

Or am I being too rational for you? Still won’t share this info with us? I’d buy a damn subscription if you chose to do so.

You won’t so I’m falling asleep …