leeshaker.com | Lee Shaker Dot Com – Since 2009

the delinquent blogger awakens…

Over the weekend, the Christian Science Monitor posted the online version of a cover story that they just published about the implications of the demise of newspapers – and the story features some quotes from your truly. By now, it’s old news: newspapers are fading into oblivion around the United States. Big papers like the Seattle PI are gone; big papers likethe New Orleans Times-Picayune are now printing on reduced schedules; even fake big papers like the Daily Planet are feeling the pinch (see above). Even the Christian Science Monitor itself is down to a single weekly edition. Little papers? Also in dire straits. Still, even if we generally know that newspapers are disappearing, we don’t really know what this means for citizens, their communities, and democracy.

I’ve been interested in the effects of the transition in the media system from geographic/proximate media to niche/national media for many years now. This interest was the impetus for my dissertation and it continues to drive much of my research. Jessica Bruder tracked down some of my work, interviewed me, and featured me in her piece for the CSMonitor. The teaser:

The death of newspapers – by cutbacks, outright disappearance, or morphing into lean websites – means a reduction of watchdog reporting and less local information. Some say it has caused a drop in civic participation. Is it a blow to good citizenship?

The piece is well-written, provides some nice anecdotal/human context for the empirical work I do, and gives my work some friendly attention. All in all, pretty nifty.

As a bonus, after the story hit the web yesterday, I was contacted by a community radio station host Arnie Arnesen from 94.7 in Concord, New Hampshire. This morning, I did a 20 minute interview for her program to talk generally about media, newspapers, and communities. The conversation was interesting & lively — I tried not to stray too far from my expertise & only butchered a couple words. (Who knew saying bicyclist could be so hard?) At any rate, Arnie’s a fun host and did a good job making my work & our conversation engaging. I’ve uploaded the 20+ minute segment that I was on here so that it will be preserved for posterity…

PS. I haven’t really posted the research that prompted the CSMonitor article yet; it’s under peer review right now and I guess I’m a bit superstitious. If you Google around, you can find conference versions…

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