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-30-: The Collapse of the Great American Newspaper Hardcover – September 7, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1566637428 ISBN-10: 1566637422 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee; Reprint edition (September 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566637422
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566637428
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.5 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,715,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. If you have ever loved a newspaper, this book will provide a gut-churning mix of joy and nostalgia, amazement and disgust, and no small sense of fatalism. Award-winning Chicago Tribune reporter Madigan collects a powerful array of commentary from journalists and observers, who enumerate the varied forces driving the decline of newspaper readership: the internet, the consolidation of department stores (and their advertising), metro sprawl, decades of job-cutting and the demise of family ownership; the idea that chain papers have "slowly carved out the soul of local papers" is repeated throughout. Highlights include a look at the changing face of the New York Times and painful stories of once-great papers like the Philadelphia Enquirer and the LA Times gutted by suits who see themselves "in conflict with sanctimonious and unrealistic idealists." The editor of Idaho Falls' Post Register contributes a singular, but too brief, ray of hope in his consideration of small-town dailies (around 1,420 of them) where, under the ownership of smaller companies, honest journalism thrives and profit margins can run in excess of 20 percent. The most daunting questions come from David T.Z. Mindich's examination of the uninformed citizenry: "making sure young people see themselves as citizens should be the priority of every news executive in the country." Though it may be too late to reverse the trends examined here, this anthology will inspire a healthy measure of resistance.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In case anyone's still wondering whether American newspapers as we know them are on the road to extinction, the answer, implicit in the title of this wistful and rather dolorous new collection of essays edited by recently retired Chicago Tribune newsman Madigan, is yes. The question remains why. Madigan and his contributors grapple gamely with the problem, but the root causes they identify are mostly the usual suspects: the flight of readers (especially the young) to television and the Internet, falling ad revenue and circulation, and the misplaced belief of the blogosphere that it can replace the mainstream media it spends so much time simultaneously ridiculing and stealing from. In a few cases, the culprits are more novel. In his elegantly curmudgeonly essay Trapped in Transition, for example, Joseph Epstein blames newspapers' fall on their being too philistine as chroniclers of the arts (a charge they clearly deserve), too liberal (a canard best left to talk radio), and too adversarial (huh?). Nance, Kevin

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Wesley Cosand on June 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was a disappointment. It suffers from the failings of a collection of short articles written for different purposes by different authors. There is a good deal of repetition and many of the analyses are superficial. The LA Times / Chicago Tribune fiasco is treated in detail but I didn't learn a lot I hadn't seen in press coverage of the acquisition and its sequelae.

The notable exception is the superb essay from 1995 by Elizabeth M. Neiva. She discusses how the introduction of photocomposition reduced the production costs for newspapers and resulted in significantly increased profits. Then the IRS began appraising family owned newspapers on what a potential buyer might pay for the paper rather than book value. The heirs of many publishers found they could not pay the inheritance taxes and sold the papers to publicly held firms. This essay is currently available on the web.

In an industry with declining revenues the only response to Wall Street's pressure for "growth" for a publicly held firm has been to cut costs year after year.

The treatment of possible solutions to our current problems was not convincing. I would like to have read about nonprofit journalism models such as the Poynter Institute's St. Petersburg Times and the new ProPublica project.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The age of the urban newspaper is over - and reflects a vast change in news communications delivery, charted here in 30, which tells of the urban American newspaper's decline. Technological change, management policy, and changing social values have helped erode the print newspaper's meaning and also reflects changing audience and newspaper worker needs. Author Charles Madigan is a former UPS International correspondent and columnist for the Chicago Tribune: his insider's focus considers everything from underlying profit concerns to social changing, making THIRTY a strong pick for both college-level holdings strong in media studies and general-interest libraries alike.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Magnus Wallgren on March 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Everyone working or interested in the change of the newspaper industry should read this. A personal and thoughtful journey through today's media landscape.
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