Thanks, Becca, for forwarding this link about how the American newspaper has changed in the past three years. Last semester my journalism students did a unit on community journalism, and they wrote long features that were destined for our new summer-orientation and fall welcome-back issues. So I was aware of some of the changes observed by the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s report on the status of today’s newspaper, though I didn’t know science journalism had taken a hit. Plenty other details to think about, too.
It has fewer pages than three years ago, the paper stock is thinner,
and the stories are shorter. There is less foreign and national news,
less space devoted to science, the arts, features and a range of
specialized subjects. Business coverage is either packaged in an
increasingly thin stand-alone section or collapsed into another part of
the paper. The crossword puzzle has shrunk, the TV listings and stock
tables may have disappeared, but coverage of some local issues has
strengthened and investigative reporting remains highly valued.
The newsroom staff producing the paper is also smaller, younger,
more tech-savvy, and more oriented to serving the demands of both print
and the web. The staff also is under greater pressure, has less
institutional memory, less knowledge of the community, of how to gather
news and the history of individual beats. There are fewer editors to