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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, August 08, 2008

What Will Replace Newspapers? Don't Count on Blogs

Today's Morning Call contains an op-ed from two PSU-types about the future of newspapers, blogs and other media. Newspapers are clearly dying, but can blogs or anything else on the Internet come close to replacing what we've taken for granted?

For democracy to function properly, we still need strong, reliable, community-focused news media, even if newspapers don't survive, or if they morph into some form we can't even imagine. We also think that writers for new media, talented and energetic as they are, have to be more outward-looking and more focused on the larger community. They need the savvy and training and broad education and rootedness in a community that writers and editors at traditional newspapers have. To keep our democracy strong and our governmental institutions on their toes, we need a robust medium that combines the introspection and sensitivities of the bloggers with the hard-headedness, skepticism, and journalistic training of the print media (think Lou Grant).
Believe it or not, Morning Call Opinion pages Editor Glenn Kranzley would like to know what you think. He's asked me to thank you for your "good feedback" on the paper's Blogger Tuesday concept. If it's not blogs or newspapers, where will people be getting their news in the next twenty years? I offered to give him a 35,000 word essay by 10 AM, but he passed. He's more interested in your views.

Sometime this weekend, I'll post my solutions anyway. Then I'll drive to his house and read them to him. He told me he lives in Frackville, so I better gas up.


RossRN said...


Thanks for pointing this piece out, I'll have to take a look at it in full.

I think it is interesting that whenever this topic comes up, the 'traditional' media (ie print newspapers)point to professionalism, standards, experience, training, etc., to differentiate themselves from us mere bloggers.

Yet take a look back at early newspapers (the Nazareth Item archived on the library web site is a good example) and you'll find they really aren't much different than what is being done online now.

How this evolves will be interesting indeed, look forward to reading the article as well as your solution.

Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...


The now routine injection of opinion into news stories has turned many former readers and viewers away from both the print media and network news. Stop blaming the media’s problems entirely on “changing times”. While it is true the market for newspapers is shrinking it is also true that most newspapers and newsrooms have taken a decidedly leftward shift in their reporting. Driving away half of one’s market is not a sound business strategy. For too long now newsrooms and editorial boards have allowed their shared political philosophy to trump objectivity. The sound business practice of appealing to the widest possible audience is no longer a concern to them.
Why should we feel sorry for them? In time this transition will sort itself out and perhaps something better will arise from the ashes of so many liberal organs.

Scott Armstrong

Bernie O'Hare said...

Why should we feel sorry for them? In time this transition will sort itself out and perhaps something better will arise from the ashes of so many liberal organs.

WE shouldn't. We should feel sorry for ourselves. I get the bias complaint, but don't perceive a liberal or conservative bias at the MC. I see an incumbent bias, especially on the local level.

The question is not whether there will be ashes, but what will rise from them?

Anonymous said...

Dear Scott:

You are one of the few people who will courageously identify themself on blogs. I deeply respect that willingness and wish others would do so.

I do not agree with your very easy statement that the media is undertaking a "leftward shift." Indeed, I would say it has taken a "sensationalized shift," which has minimized professional reporting and editorializing that consider both sides of an issue.

Is your claim based on your feelings that stories or editorials do not take your point of view with sufficient frequency? Heck, the paper often does not take my point of view, and I have been labeled as one of those "liberal democrats" who have messed up city hall.

Nevertheless, I think that both conservatives and liberals (categories that exist in both parties) need to take a stand for professionalism.

I consider myself a pragmatic democrat. I respect the power of markets, but abhor excessive greed. I honor the role of government, but get disgusted with inefficient and silly politics. I want social activism, but will not tolerate extremism.

So, perhaps you and I can encourage people to use their real names, follow a rational approach to arguments, let people have their feelings as long as they do not become shrill, childlike, and hateful.

Is that possible? What do you think, even though we may disagree on many issues?

Best regards,

Michael Donovan

Bill Villa said...

It would be nice if Mr. Kranzley would engage in a "Give & Take" exchange here ... instead of all Take.

For example, I've asked Mr. Kranzley to address two legitimate questions-- one, regarding the reasons for the exclusionary aspect of the MC's new "Sounding Board" forum; and a second Q on the do-ability of requiring registration at TMC Forum (as is required at Sounding Board) as a way to possibly eliminate or reduce hate speech at TMC Forum.

So far, both respectfully posed questions have been comprehensively ignored by Mr. Kranzley.

Glenn, come on down from the Ivory Tower ;) and let's have a Real-Time, Give & Take exchange, whad'ya say?

Do it for your Breakfast Buddy Bernie.

His BlogNet Ratings are down lately almost as much as your ad revenue :)

michael molovinsky said...

it is my understanding that The Morning Call remains profitable, just not to the expectations of a national corporation with a hugh cash flow problem. although i tend to agree with scott about the paper's bias, it is also my understanding that the problem is advertising revenue, not circulation per se. i suspect if the paper was still locally owned, management would be content with the current bottom line, even if it's less than years past. In the worst case, if it comes to past the Morning Call folds, perhaps it will create an opportunity for new entrepreneurs like the MIller family, which had owned and grown the paper years ago.

Anonymous said...

As a communication student at Penn State, I had a class about the Cultural Foundations of Communications. During the class we discussed the evolution of communication to the masses.

The problem throughout the years was that newspapers were resitant to change. Part of that was due to ownership rules and part was due to a social reliance on the newspaper (it was a cheap way for the masses to get their news), but mostly because newspaper owners were robber barons and resisted change.

Technology has changed our reliance on the newspaper and rule changes have allowed a convergence of media forms through common ownership. Now that the newspaper industry is no longer protected, continued increases in technology (iPod (pod casting), wireless technoloigies, the Internet, cable TV) have changed the way our news is disseminated.

Eventually, as the whole society adapts to these new technologies, the newspaper will go the way of the telegraph and one of the emerging technologies will take its place as a distributor of information.

Angie Villa said...

I agree with my husband Bill Villa. Where is the dialogue with Mr. Kranzley? Where is the give and take? If Mr. Kranzley is so interested in what we bloggers think then why hasn't he publicly(or privately) responded to the questions and concerns that were presented last week and again here today?

And if old-fashioned books and magazines can survive new technology, I think good newspapers will too.

Anonymous said...

I must say that I bet Mr. Kranzley never even saw Bill V's emails. He probably has a staff to weed through them as he probably gets hundreds of emails a day. Just imagine how long it would take you to read hundreds of emails knowing that delete button is right at your fingertips. I will be sad to see newspapers go because they are the least opinionated of all the other media out there. Just listen to Keith Olberman or Rush Limbaugh. And blogs are even worse when it comes to onesided views and opinions to support only the blogger. Thank You Henry

Blah Society said...

I must say that I agree with Mrs. Dottie. Even a private one-on-one reply by Glen Kranzley would be acceptable instead of attempts of rounding us up here for what appears to be his avoiding of the actual issues that were already presented last week on more than one blog.

Additionally, the contacts page at The Morning Call still hasn't been restored, hence I STILL can't privately send my concerns/questions to him via e-mail. Does TMC really care what we think?

I'm beginning to think more and more than Mr. Kranzley is more interested in appearing like the good guy instead of actually being one. Prove me wrong.

Anonymous said...

If your counting on newspapers for anything; I feel sorry for you!

Anonymous said...

You better get out of school; half truth should never be a function of education!

MDR said...

Bernie O'Hare said...

A few points.

1) I have long advocated a regular dialogue between writer and reader, and have suggested to Bill White that the paper should set aside a few hours every week for an online exchange of views. Such an exchange would be good for us both.

2) When Glenn K reaches out to this blog, as he has twice, how can anyone condemn him? He is reaching out. He may not be doing exactly what I or Villa, Dottie and AJ want, but is doing something.

3) I'm not sure that "old fashioned books and magazines" are doing all that well either. They are surviving, barely, as our society continues to dumb down.

4) I am disappointed Bill Villa chooses to get personal, which marginalizes him.

Bill Villa said...

Bernie .. what's " getting personal" about asking Glenn Kranzley for a dialogue? Or answers to legitimate questions when he's "visiting for feedback."

And please take yourself out of the "Bill Villa, Mrs. Dottie, and AJ" camp and stay over there in the A-Quiver camp where you belong.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The personal stuff was the attack on me. You choose to marginalize yourself. I won't stop you.

Bill Villa said...

Now look who has no sense of humor.

Ribbing you about your declining BlogNet Ratings :)

... was a personal attack?

Since when did you get so humorless and over-sensitive?

A-Quiver, we knew about .. but now over-sensitive and humorless, too?

Yep. Some big changes at (and around) The Morning Call lately ...

Anonymous said...


I disagree with your “easy” denial that the media has shifted to the left. I guess that makes us even, but it doesn’t change the fact that many, many conservatives share my opinion and have acted on it.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

I'm with the PSU student. Newspapers will naturally go the way of the buggy whip and town crier, and the world will carry on without them. News will not stop being disseminated as there exists a natural urge to hear and be heard - as evidenced by the popularity of the blogosphere and online forums.

The folly of so many recent New York Times embarrassments, from Jason Blair to the Duke rape ruse, indicates the cartoonish nature of their quality - as influenced by a blinding bias. And this is "all the news that's fit to print?" Please.

I'm not sold on the argument that newspapers offer superior quality. The NYT's Lou Grant never looked for Jason Blair's expense reports and sources, or past his own biases in the Duke rape case. I stopped believing what they print a long time ago.

Poor quality and brazen biases are fueling the rise of alternative communications, and hastening the demise of newspapers. I'll miss newspapers, but only for the Jumble and crossword puzzles.

Bernie can't replace newspapers and has always said so. That's not the point (and if it is to any blogger, he or she should get a humility check). But many Bernies, many forums, many online publications, including electronic versions of newspapers, will replace them in our increasingly fast moving, short attention span, cynical of everything you read world.

My two cents. And I love that I may leave it here. Thanks.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Scott, Let's look at the claim of political bias, just as it relates to the MC. A little over a year ago, Bernie Kieklak was screaming that the newspaper has a bias in favor of Republicans. Two LV legislators, who happened to be Rs, led the house in PSA money. The story was being reported in P-burg but not here. Here's how Kieklak reponded.

Pete Fucking Lefler (State Editor) thinks it's more important to cover Bill DeWeese, Joe Scarnati, and "The Big Boys," instead of paying any attention to our local LV delegation. Yeah, that's what local readers really care about...

PLUS, Petie Left-Nut has an obvious BIAS against reporting anything negative about any Republican state legislator.

That's why local readers will NEVER see a single word in print about Reichley and Harhart spending half A MILLION DOLLARS running PSAs 24/7/365 for the last 2 years.

Now, IF it had been Lisa Boscola or Steve Samuelson running those ads, OH MY GOD!

It would've been on the FRONT PAGE (ABOVE THE FOLD) FOR 4 WEEKS!! There would've been editorials calling for them to resign by now (if not sooner)!


Thank God for a free press outside the Lehigh Valley!

And thank God for BLOGS!!!!!

I don't think Kieklak thanks God for blogs anymore.

Now, when the MC writes about Pawlowski, and they do puff him, it is a "liberal" bias. I hear that rant from all the Rs.

I think the paper is very pro-establishment and pro-incumbent. That's where they get most of their stories so that's only natural. Incumbents control access. That's why there will be forty stories about jenn mann and one about her opponent, Mike Welsh.

Bill Villa said...

A-Quiver. Adj. A state of extreme anticipation experienced by local blogger(s) with or without Pontiff complex who are hoping to be selected ("honored") for inclusion at a Mainstream Media communications outlet formerly railed against by the same local blogger(s) for its rampant racism, misogyny, and hate (apparently it's not so bad all of a sudden). Generally accompanied by extreme and inexplicable compliance and breakfast with formerly "adversarial" MSM wrong-doers. The state of being A-Quiver is caused by a local blogger with less than 500 unique daily visitors to his or her blog contemplating the possibility of seeing his or her obsessive/compulsive writings reaching an audience of 600,000 unique monthly MSM visitors and propelling him or her to minor local celebrity status the level of say Bill ("Eating My Way Through Musikfest") White, for example. Bloggers who are A-Quiver tend to abandon all reason and former allies; blindly and annoyingly defend the obvious MSM bad guys; and throw over-board anyone who dissents. Sadly, A-Quiver bloggers tend to marginalize themselves through their transparency and are easily exposed as opportunistic phonies.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Nice Shot Bill Villa! I'm forming the "A-Quiver" Bloggers group next week! We are going to meet at a favorite dining spot in Nazareth! Ohare doesn't jump ship, he abandons it after blowing holes in it below the waterline!
His blognet ranking must be slipping, not only did he repeat his same old same old on Pawlowski, now he is quoting his old reliable, the incident that made him famous, "THe Bernie K"
It's been over a year, but when in doubt, trot it out!" LOL!
That can only mean one thing, a slam of Sam Bennett is next! I bet within 3 days! Who else gets good blognet ratings for him? Joe Long? Lamont McClure? He's been crapping on them too. ratings must really be slipping, he's really scraping the bottom of the barrel!

Bernie has a new buddy now, Scott (I bet I hate Pawlowski More than You!) Armstrong. O'hare talks about Villa being off topic, but Armstrong? he's Berno's new buddy, him and Guzzardi. stroke that ego, stroke tha ego! looks like Berno is doing a pretty good of marginalizing himself!

Blah Society said...

...said the anonymous attacker at 5:03.

Blah Society said...


You're right. I may be expecting more out of Kranzley and the entire Morning Call than you, but the concerns I posted should be addressed.

All Kranzley is doing is asking you to pass along messages to us. That, to me, is avoiding dialogue and the issues that were discussed last week via the blogosphere and backchannel.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous persoanl attacks are the refuge of cowards.

Bill Villa said...

"When Glenn K reaches out to this blog, as he has twice, how can anyone condemn him?"

Bernie .. what's "condemning" about asking Glenn Kranzley for a dialogue? Or answers to legitimate questions when he's "visiting for feedback."

And how many totally unwarranted Free Passes are you gonna give him?

Anonymous said...

Annon an annon attack on another annon for an annon personal atack is, well....CRAZY

Bill Villa said...

"I have long advocated a regular dialogue between writer and reader ..."

Bernie, why didn't you advocate for a dialogue here today with Mr. Kranzley?

Anonymous said...

Another thread hijacked by Mr. Villa. Guy we feel your pain but please enough with the MC and DA Martin.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Wow! I've been gone since late this afternoon. I had to cut Glenn Kranzley's grass and do Bill White's laundry. As a result, I was unable to respond to the Villa and Anonymous 5:03(Villa) attacks until now.

It's true I did have breakfast with Glenn Kranzley once - about a year ago. He likes scrapple. I didn't know that made me a MC sycophant.

Any additional OT Villa rants will be deleted. The topic of this blog is what will replace the newspapers.

Bill Villa said...

5:03 wasn't me and you know that, Bernie.

9:51 (and 4:19) are you.

None of my comments were rants and none were OT.

Sadly, you have marginalized yourself with your A-Quiver Transparency.

Anonymous said...

I'm not Bernie and I'm tired of Bill V. I support his cause and feel his pain, as I've lived through a similar tragedy, but enough already.

Bill Villa said...

Enough of what, already?

Please explain.

Enough of trying to hold people in local power positions accountable for their arrogance, hubris, and abuses of power?

I've got news for you, I have no plans to stop doing this ...

Anonymous said...

What was the subject, again?

Bernie O'Hare said...

The subject is what will replace the dying newspaper industry? Yesterday afternoon and last night, I was at my grandson's house from late afternoon and we went to see the IronPigs. I got some free tickets. We saw our favorite, Brandon Watson, hit his second home run. During that time, the blog was hijacked. I had warned Villa I would delete additional OT remarks, but it's probably too late now for it to make a difference.

Bill Villa said...

Bernie, MC apologist bloggers who engage in anonymous/real name comment dialogues with themselves are known as A-Quiver Schizophrenics.

Anonymous said...

Soooo... to get back on subject, what will replace newspapers? How about newspapers. Take a look at the local section of the MC and what you have is Bill White talking about food, or xMas lights, and rarely about anything that has to do with what newspapers should really care about. Paul Carpenter will spend most of his time complaining about wearing a helmet when he rides his motorcycle. It is a shame because these two have the column space to make a difference in the Valley and they choose to discuss basically nothing.

Then you look at what passes as "news" and half of it is rewriting the local police blotters. The MC does report on what is going on in Bethlehem, Easton, and Allentown, but not so much in the townships, let alone a boro.

Bet you didn't know that Hanover Township (NC) "lowered" taxes last year by making homeowners pay for garbage and recycling seperately (thus causing taxpayer increases of 30 -75%). And yes, the spin from the Township was that they lowered taxes!!!

If you read about this, it wasn't in the MC or Express-Times. And White and Carpenter couldn't be bothered with such issues. If you read about this you did so in the local weekly newspaper that costs $20/ yr. That is where I get my local news from these days, and that is likely the place we all will be getting the bulk of our real local news in the future.

Blogs are nice, but they are too scattered to really keep a lid on corrupt government/ government officials. Your good old LOCAL newspaper will continue on.

Blah Society said...

I always enjoyed The Express-Times because they connected on a more local level. Additionally, they tend to reply more to their readers. But I'll admit, I haven't been reading much of either lately so I'm not sure of the comparison.

Also, I remember that the ET would write more about local interest than random thought as compared to TMC.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 8:14 or anyone else,

Can you name this Hanover Tp weekly? That seems like an important story.

I remember Bill White columns having a lot to do w/ local government abuses, but don't recall seeing that many recently. I don't know whether he is drifting more into news lite and "pop culture" or whatever you want to call it, or whether it's just my imagination. Frankly, with all the news cutbacks, it's disappointing to a news junkie like me to open up section B and see Bill standing there with his arms folded (they all do that for some reason), writing pieces about Musikfest food.

I don't really read Carpenter. I don't think he's honest. I've spoken to some of the people he covers and he is disingenuous when he writes about them. I don't care about different opinions, but think even columnists (bloggers, too) should strive for honesty. White gets that. Carpenter does not.

Anonymous said...


Speaking simply from a strategic point of view.

Around the country, some weeklies are doing very well as they cover local stories. There is less pressure on daily reporting and more on getting deeper into local issues and topics. Advertisers like the lower rates, and better geographical targeting to their markets.

An entrepreneur with some capital and knowledge of both the web and the newspaper industry might have a field day. One strategy that has worked is to have an unbrella masthead, with regional issues. For example,

The Valley Inquirer -- West, serving...
The Valley Inquirer -- East, serving...


Common stories to the Valley allow spreading of costs, while focus areas segment the market and increase overall readership.

Unfortunately, I have neither the capital nor the industry background, but I suspect many do.

Would it work here? The owner would have to know what he or she is doing to sell advertising and control costs while producing a notable product.

I do understand attempts at regional editions and even weeklies have been made, even by the MC. However, dailies are so expensive to run and I suspect overwhelm the culture so much that executing a weekly/regional strategy can be lost in the shuffle. It doesn't get the resources that are necessary.

Conflicting strategies often bring organizations down.

Best regards,

Michael Donovan

Anonymous said...

Michael Donovan, it's already working here - I've mentioned the great job the "Presses" are doing covering local issues. Their gap is they don't cover Allentown, Bethlehem or Easton. But they do cover Emmaus, Parkland, Salisbury, Coplay, Whitehall, Northampton, and Catty.

I'd think the question is whether they try to tackle the cities...

The Banker

Bernie O'Hare said...

An anonymous and false personal attack against Bill White, posted 2:40 PM, has been deleted.

Anonymous said...

Dear Banker:

You are right. I have seen other weeklies tackle smaller cities (70,000 or so).

Many thanks!


Anonymous said...

Michael, I re-read my comment, I apologize if I came across too harshly. It was intended to inform, not criticize but I think I wrote it took quickly and it didn't read the way I intended.

The Banker

Anonymous said...

Dear Banker!

I did not interpret your comment badly at all. You were right about the suburban weeklies existing in the Valley, and I had forgotten to mention them explicitly.

Never need to apologize to me. Your note was an important and useful addition.

Best regards,

Michael Donovan