By paulgillin | January 12, 2010 - 12:46 pm - Posted in Layoffs, Solutions
Adam Chadwick and Bill Loerch are two filmmakers who are trying to chronicle the decline of the US newspaper industry for a documentary film called Fit to Print. Chadwick is a laid-off New York Times copy editor and Loerch has spent most of his adult life making films. We spent several hours with them on Saturday and came away very impressed with their knowledge and ambition. What they mainly need now is money. Here’s a video interview that tells a little bit about their venture. Below is the description in their own words.

Fit to Print” is a documentary film that takes the viewer on a behind-the-scenes journey through the current upheaval of the newspaper industry. As subscriptions dwindle and ad revenues decline, newspapers are scrambling to establish their relevance. The newspaper business lost $7.5 billion in ad revenues in 2008, and has reduced spending on journalism by $1.6 billion per year over the past several years. But what does this mean for the individuals whose lives have been turned upside down by the crisis? If the newspaper business is changing, how are journalism school graduates adapting? What happens to career reporters after being laid off? How are newspaper publishers surviving? What is being lost as new media replaces old?

Fit to Print” will ask these questions and tell America’s newspaper story. It will take the audience through the upheaval in the newspaper business through three very distinct perspectives: A newspaper publisher, a career reporter and a journalism school graduate. Anybody who cares about journalism has been exposed to a spate of stories and figures about the decline of the traditional newspaper business. This has spurred much debate about what comes next and how to adapt journalism to a world in which the digital word is quickly replacing the printed word.

But such stories are mostly abstractions. Newspapers are a business, they are crucial to the functioning of a democratic society, but they are often more than that. They are a way of life for those who are a part of them – ordinary individuals contending with turbulent times. “Fit to Print” will tell their story, which is rarely seen in any broadcast news brief.

The numbers so far this year have been startling. Over 100 newspapers have been shuttered. Over 10,000 newspaper jobs have been lost. Print ad sales fell by nearly a third in the first quarter alone. Of the top 25 newspapers, 23 reported circulation declines between 7% and 20%. “Fit to Print” will show the viewer the human side of these numbers. It will ask the question: what is being lost, and what comes next?

If you want to reach either of these filmmakers, contact Adam Chadwick or Bill Loerch.

Update 5/23/19: The most recent trailer is available here. There appears to be no embed option.




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  1. January 13, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

    Newspapers are part of “the past”.

    So are magazines, radio and television.

    What they had in common is that you could find all of these being supported by advertising.

    Their content helped focus their audience/readership but that was largely irrelevant to what the advertisers wanted.

    What the advertisers wanted was not to have to waste all of their money yelling over each other.

    Those days of inefficient 1:N town crying are passing.

    The internet is an N:M communication medium, capable of everything the old media were but it is also capable of returning us all to a more conversational 1:1 mode of communication.

    For business this N:M medium is also capable of communicating bi-directionally all of the things that customers and potential customers need.

    Business isn’t going back to being the Global Village Idiot, paying ever increasing money to rent time to shout through megaphones owned by a small media oligopoly.

    Ad support is dead.

    The consumer is also keenly aware of the difference in costs between the old media and the new medium and is not going to keep on paying the prices charged under the old structure.

    Adan Smith and his unseen hand of the market place is slowly sweeping the deadwood off of the table.

    It will take some time for a new equilibrium to be reached.

    Just try to survive in the meantime.

    Posted by msbpodcast
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