By paulgillin | August 10, 2007 - 5:44 am - Posted in Journalism, Layoffs, NewMedia, Newspapers

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune is the latest casualty of the overall decline of newspaper advertising. The paper, which is one of several in south Florida owned by The New York Times Co., will consolidate several offices and lay off an unspecified number of people.

While shutting down one of its regional print editions, “[T]he Herald-Tribune will start new interactive Web sites geared toward allowing the public to share their news, photos and videos.” Hmmm. Photo- and video-sharing might have been interesting two years ago, but it’s very me-too today. And what’s this about “share their news?” Is this a citizen journalism experiment?

Mark Hamilton notes the difficulty newspapers have reporting this kind of bad news about themselves. It is indeed a fine line to walk. While the reporters and editors no doubt have strong opinions about this story and its importance, they also have a responsibility to their readers to keep it in context and to report it straight. The WSJ’s coverage of the Murdoch takeover is particularly challenging in that respect.

It’s interesting to see the paper deciding to scale back on local coverage in favor of big features. In my opinion, local newspapers will be the big growth area in the business in coming years. Who needs another food section? But perhaps the economics just didn’t work here.

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