Kidnap Coverage Is Cleveland Paper's Swan Song

Justin Peters mourns the decline of community reporting
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2013 2:33 PM CDT
Kidnap Coverage Is Cleveland Paper's Swan Song
Cleveland police stand outside a home where missing women Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight were found.   (AP Photo/Plain Dealer, Scott Shaw)

The Plain Dealer's coverage of the Cleveland kidnapping case has been nothing short of riveting, but it will be the paper's "last hurrah," writes Justin Peters on Slate. This summer, at least 53 members of its staff are being laid off, and the paper will deliver only three days a week—a move that has been disastrous for a Syracuse paper (whose non-delivery editions are short and lacking in original content) as well as the New Orleans Times-Picayune (which lost staff, readers, and market share after making the change). National and digital outlets just can't compete with regional ones when it comes to local stories, but now it seems these smaller papers are on the way out.

The Times-Picayune's news department, for example, has been "decimated," writes Peters. "New Orleans, crime-ridden and corrupt, needs a journalistic watchdog more than most cities," but the paper can no longer fill that role. Expect the same in Cleveland, where the issues that need the most coverage will receive less and less, and historically marginalized groups like the poor, the elderly, and minorities will be even further marginalized. "Their communities will get covered less, and—with the limited availability of the print product—they’ll be less likely to be able to read the coverage." Click for Peters' full column. (More newspaper industry stories.)

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