Jul21

Local Newspapers vs. the World Wide Web

Categories // Rants, Raves and Kudos

Where are the 2013 Summer Swimming Results?

I just went through every page in the Sports section of today's Denver Post to see who won the Boulder Valley Summer Swim League Championship Races yesterday. Nowhere in the entire Sunday Sports section does this information appear. While I don't have a swimmer in the league any more, many of children who swim in this championship meet are children of friends and I would like to know how they did, who broke records, who was swimmer of the year, who got High Point, etc. 

I checked the BVSSL web site, nothing posted yet about yesterday. Then I went to the web site of one of my least favorite newspapers, the Boulder Daily Camera. I found two articles about some high school swimmers, but not the meet results. When published, those meet results, tennis scores and baseball statistics are printed in the smallest possible print and that's what parents are reading. Hmmmmm. 

Every time I read or hear about the "decline of the newspaper," I think of these times when I want to read something local, something timely and it is not printed. Lots of national and international news which is widely available on the Internet, but the local stuff, bread and butter, to the small local paper is no longer considered newsworthy by the staff. So I don't buy the local newspaper. I have some higher expectations of the Denver Post.

The next time you hear an editor or publisher moaning about the decline in readership, ask what he or she is doing to attract local readers? My least favorite issue is not printing the local death and funeral notices, charging an exorbitant amount for obituaries and then retiring the legacy memory book comments from mourners. In that same sense of community, is the lack of timely sports coverage for local young athletes. In Boulder there are kids' leagues for everything, probably even fencing, so there is no dearth of material. In some cases in Boulder, there are two competing leagues. No wonder web sites, twitter, facebook and YouTube are flourishing, the print news is certainly letting down the local readers.

Maybe the results weren't tabulated before the newspapers went to print. I doubt that as my memory is the results were ready sometime around 5:15 or 5:30 p.m. on Saturday night after the last relay. Perhaps with the advent of computer touch pads and scoring, it takes longer than it did when the results were tabulated by hand, but I really doubt that.

When an article appears in Editor and Publisher discussing the merits of local news vs. the same national and regional content from 80 other newspapers in the chain, I will believe the industry wants its customers to return. In the meantime, I will be checking the BVSSL web site for updates and results not my local newspaper.

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