Rocky Mountain News
When I graduated five years ago with a degree in print journalism I had a feeling one day my children would laugh at the word "print" and think it was as outdated as a diploma in telegraphy or typography.
I just never thought that day would come before I even had children.
While we have long heard about the death of the newspaper industry I always looked at it the same way I do my mortality. Sure, some day it will all come to an end but I'm not going to think about it until I'm on my deathbed.
Well, the newspaper industry is officially on its deathbed.
On Friday, the Rocky Mountain News, Colorado's oldest newspaper, will put out its final edition after serving the state for 150 years. It's the first major daily newspaper to fold in this current economic climate and it won't be the last. The San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Tucson Citizen in Arizona are likely to shut down in the coming weeks as well. Others will surely follow as companies such as Hearst, Gannett and E.W. Scripps try to sell newspapers during a time when people aren't exactly scrambling to buy up publications in debt and that haven't turned a profit in years.
One by one, newspapers will fall by the wayside and with it will go the sports sections we all used to sift past the front page and business sections to find. Already, many of the writers and columnists I grew up reading and learning from are out of jobs as newspapers are laying off people left and right in order to meet budgets they'll never satisfy until they stop the presses for good.
On one hand, no one should be surprised by the current state of the industry. My class five years ago was the last to graduate with a solely print discipline. Every one since has been trained in broadcast, online and magazine journalism. The days of dreaming of being the next Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, typing away at the Washington Post, was a thing of the past.
On the other hand, we are about to enter an interesting new era in sports journalism where we no longer have 2-5 beat writers from local newspapers competing to break stories about the teams they are covering. There might only be one writer now who probably won't tirelessly try to cultivate sources to find out what's really going on behind the scenes with no competition to keep them in check, especially on teams few follow nationally.
Teams in Los Angeles, which may soon be a one-newspaper town as well, are experiencing this already as neither the Los Angeles Times nor Daily News, which can't seem to lay off staffers fast enough to keep up with their losses, has a full-time writer covering the Clippers, Kings or Ducks.
While we may be seeing the death of print journalism, this is certainly not the death of journalism. There will always be an audience for good stories and there will always be talented writers willing to spend the time to write them. The difference is, now you'll have to scroll down instead of turn the page to read them.