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David Poland

By David Poland

Birmingham News

In the big cities and in the media in general, we have a hard time avoiding media myopia. I write about studios that spend scores of millions every couple of weeks to release new films, media titans like the TribCo, NYT, and USA Today, and worry about how big that big should be.
A year or so ago, I vividly remember looking at the Detroit papers during an airport wait and feeling like I had walked into a P.O.W. camp, they were so thin, pained, and hopeless.
A look at this morning’s Birmingham News had a less shocking – how time and experience numbs – but equally scary reminder of the future. Section A… 8 pages… 4 locally reported stories on the front page. Not a single additional inch of reporting that wasn’t off a wire service… the only additional local work in the section was the row of local editorials, about one- sixth of the 2 page, syndication-loaded op-ed section.
I know… hardly unusual out there. Birmingham ain’t Detroit or LA or even many well loved smaller cities on America. But not only is the local news diet thin, but the narrowing of news sources is scary and the inevitability of a print paper, in a city with a clear division of web-accessing monied and print-at-best poor, going away BECAUSE there is so little non-wire reporting, is sad.

5 Responses to “Birmingham News”

  1. have you read the St. Louis Post Dispatch? it’s one of the worst newspapers, filled with right-wing racist garbage and local news, with barely a glance at international news.
    yes, I live in St. Louis, god save me.

  2. Pelham123 says:

    Is this (newspaper lay offs, cut-backs, etc.) a U.S. only phenom or is it happening overseas as well?

  3. Ray_Pride says:

    Things are especially bad in France and some shaky situations in the UK. India and China seem to be the countries where an emerging upwardly-mobile class is devouring publications.

  4. LYT says:

    Wouldn’t it be awesome if India had to outsource its print film criticism to unemployed Americans who’ll work cheaper.

  5. eoguy says:

    I work for a wire service and the reporting is mostly done from inside the office. If this is the future of journalism be scared…be very scared.

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