Thursday, October 15, 2009

R.I.P. Mid-Ocean News

It was bound to happen. United States newspapers have been in a drastic state of decline this year, with papers including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Rocky Mountain News, and the veritable Tucson Citizen closing its doors due to poor financing and lack of revenues. It seems like there are more cuts to come too: According to this report from Time, the days are numbered for the San Francisco Chronicle, Philadelphia Daily News, and the Miami Herald as well, which would no doubt be a major blow to those cities. Imagine waking up in a major U.S. metropolis with no local newspaper to read with your morning coffee? For shame! The New York Daily News is on Time’s list of America’s most endangered newspapers too, bad news for my well-read father who’d rather turn the pages of the phone book than the trashy tabloid that is the New York Post. Sure, the New York Times would still be around, but munching on coffee cake over a broadsheet without columns by sportswriter Mike Lupica just isn't the same. It’s no wonder then that Bermuda’s newspapers are suffering too, the latest casualty being the Mid-Ocean News, a weekend paper that was founded in 1911. The newspaper announced yesterday that it would cease publication immediately, a move that its board blamed on “continuing and significant operating losses” in a tough economic climate. Blame it on the Internet, declining ad sales, the economy—a mix of all three, perhaps—but the announcement comes to the chagrin of many Bermudians, certainly those who enjoyed balanced community reporting (and the television guide it published called TV Week, although I hear the popular section will live on elsewhere). It's sad, really. Just the other day I was in the local food market when a kindly old lady asked the cashier for the papers upon checkout. “Give me all three, dear,” she said sweetly. But with just the Royal Gazette and the Bermuda Sun left, I guess next time she’ll be asking for two.

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