Editorial: The changing landscape of local news
The SLO New Times this week did a county-wide review of the state of local print journalism. Its conclusion is hard to miss: the print newspaper industry is shrinking.
Over the last several years, the SLO Tribune has several times reduced its newsroom staffing, shrunk its San Luis Obispo office, shut down the Morro Bay Sun-Bulletin, closed its offices in Cambria and Paso Robles, and will soon stop printing its Saturday edition.
In North County, News Media Corp.’s two print newspapers, the Paso Press and Atascadero News, have seen their offices shrink, and newsroom staff cut by more than half since 2000.
These declines aren’t because of a lack of their commitment to community news. It’s a reflection of falling demand for print advertising and the changes in consumer demand for news. Readers want information on the go, and they want it fast. Today, 90-percent of all media interactions are on screens, not paper.
Overall, our community’s access to news is now better than ever. News sites like our Paso Robles Daily News and A-Town Daily News aggregate even more news to the community than was available 10 years ago.
There is also a rise in citizen journalism. There are new Facebook groups for reporting local news, Nextdoor groups sharing news, and local government agencies are distributing their news directly to the community through social media more than ever.
Online news is where it’s at. So I’m optimistic for community news and grateful that our news sites have seen so much growth in our online readership and online advertising revenue. Here are current rankings of Paso Robles news sites.
We thank you, readers and advertisers, for making this news forum a success.
Postscript: Newspapers have come and gone for over a hundred years in North County. You can browse through nearly twenty different newspaper titles at the Paso Robles Historical Society. For those of you who enjoy a little history, we’ve put together this section of features from old Paso Robles newspapers.