(EDITOR’S NOTE: Updated with impact on local newspapers).
In a move that could have a major impact on employment for various newspaper employees across the country and for local readers in Stark and Tuscarawas counties in Ohio, GateHouse Media, the owners of The (Canton) Repository, The (Massillon)Independent and (Dover-New Philadelphia) Times-Reporter announced this week that they will lay out all newspapers it owns across the country from copy desks in Chicago and New England.
The memo, leaked to a national newspaper blogger, doesn’t specifically indicate if the changes include GateHouse Ohio’s local media cluster of The Repository, Times-Reporter and The Independent, but sources indicate that it would impact various employees at those newspapers.
Throughout the country, copy desks need to have local editors. I’ve worked at copy desks where having a working knowledge of the local community helps catch errors in stories, errors that news editors haven’t caught.
Second, recent downsizing at newspapers leave readers with gaping holes in news coverage. Can newspapers today cover all towns and cities in its coverage area? I know it’s an issue in Stark County.
Instead of downsizing, I propose newspapers restructure staffs to include “backpack journalists.” These can provide updates throughout the day which can be posted online. The additional content from all areas can add a compelling argument for businesses to buy ads and for readers to pay more for extra content.
What do you think, would you pay more for content as a reader and would you be more likely to buy ads if additional hometown news content was available online?
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