Vail Daily Editor Don Rogers: News of newspapering’s death has been greatly exaggerated
Vail, CO, Colorado
Newspapers have been dying throughout their 500-plus years of existence.
Alas, someone already has written the “End of the World.” That was obit for a New York paper that folded during the supposed heyday of newspapering in the early 1900s.
The Rocky Mountain News has been on death’s door before, though this may be it for them after all.
Newspapers have been born throughout the millennia of their existence, too.
USA Today didn’t exist before 1984. The Vail Daily began just a few years before then. Our newest competitor started about six months ago.
Papers die. Papers are born. The community’s hunger for local news remains constant even with the adv ent of broadcast and Internet delivery of the news.
And businesses have to get word out to sell their wares and services beyond word of mouth and a shingle outside if they are to be as successful as they could be.
So for all the cyclical hyperventilation, people still need relevant information they can trust about what’s happening in their community. Someone will figure out a way to bring it to them.
Here, that’s overwhelmingly in the form of the daily newspaper. Business has soured, but the Vail Daily still has nine of every 10 people here reading the paper. That’s a powerful medium for advertisers wise enough to sort through the noise.
Here’s something to think about: The Vail Valley finally has hit the worst recession since before newspapers existed here, and there are not one, but two daily papers serving the community.
The Daily also lives online, with some extras to offer for the growing share of people who read us online. We’re a free paper, so it doesn’t matter so much to us whether you pick up the print product or fire up the computer, or both. The overwhelming majority of our readers still go with print because it’s easy.
I can think of quite a few businesses that have a lot more to worry about than the newspapers do.
If a real estate office dies, does that mean real estate is dead? If a restaurant closes, does that spell the end for all restaurants?
Online, trends to buy furniture, clothing and all manner of other goods this way might be a bigger threat to other businesses than newspapers, which generally are making the shift.
In this valley, we know nearly everyone with a pulse reads the news, and the ads, just as they did before. Just as they will tomorrow.
It’s a mite early for that obit on community newspapers, especially here.
Don Rogers is the editor and associate publisher of the Vail Daily. He can be reached at 970-748-2920 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He welcomes your comments.