Monday, September 1, 2008

KPFK examines P-T struggle

Radio Pacifica's Los Angeles station, 90.7 KPFK, featured a segment on our Solidarity Rally, and the issues facing the Press-Telegram, during last Friday's Midday News program.

The result was a pretty thorough look at the relationship between MediaNews, its employees, and the local communities that have seen coverage and quality stripped out of their daily newspaper in the name of short-term profits.

Timothy Karr, campaign director for media reform advocate Free Press, points out that layoffs and declining coverage are largely unrelated to oft-cited economic woes, but rather a means of maximizing short term profits.

They try to squeeze their costs down, so that they have larger revenues. They have the capacity to better serve their communities - to produce better, more local, more independent journalism - but they don't have the will, because these companies are often run by accountants and bean counters, who are outside of that community.

Karr also cited some industry numbers to support the argument that newspapers are still profitable, despite the claims of newspaper owners like MediaNews.

If you look at the profit margins of newspapers, they're still recording in excess of 15 percent annual profit margins, so there's still money that's being made through the process or business of journalism. The problem is that a lot of these companies are now owned by large conglomerates, who are more concerned about quarterly earnings than they are about their public obligation to serve their communities.

The P-T segment starts at 11:50 in the program. You can listen to the broadcast, or just download it for later.

We highly encourage anyone interested in learning more about the struggle local journalists and communities are facing to tune in and listen. The news might be surprising.

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