30: The Collapse of the Great American Newspaper.

Author:Cohen, George
Position:Book review
 
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Work Title: 30: The Collapse of the Great American Newspaper

Work Author(s): Charles M. Madigan, editor

Ivan R. Dee

256 pages, Hardcover $26.00

Culture

ISBN: 9781566637428

Reviewer: George Cohen

30 is newspaper jargon to signify the end of a dispatch or story, and these fifteen essays, says Madigan, an editor and writer for the Chicago Tribune, will help readers understand what is killing the big-city papers. The Chicago Daily News, the New York Herald Tribune, and the Philadelphia Bulletin are among some of the larger papers that have folded in recent years. 30 is critical in understanding the decline and fall of America's major newspapers.

The impact of the Internet is chief among the causes, with its immediacy and what Madigan calls "the zero-dollar cost of entry, making newspapers seem every bit the nineteenth century institution they are." Another reason is unrealistic expectations of profit. According to Time, only commercial banks and pharmaceutical companies rake in more profits than newspapers. Yet the loss of these huge margins has investors rushing to cut costs, and with that, ultimately, quality.

Philip Meyer, the author of The Vanishing Newspapers, argues that the papers aren't really that troubled. He believes that they are just accustomed to making too much money. Writer Neil Hickey seconds that and poses the question: "What happens when the drive for profits...

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