C.W. Gusewelle is afraid he'll lose his job. And with good reason.
Gusewelle, a long-time columnist for the KC Star, recently wrote about the pending sale of the local fish wrap and how it's the fourth time in 50 years and it's bad for the employees, community, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.
As a former cog in the daily newspaper machine, I guess I can sympathize with him. There's a saying that you can make a small fortune in the newspaper business, if you start with a large fortune. And that's why I'm a former cog in the daily newspaper machine. Even eight years ago, I could see the writing was on the wall for the traditional print newspaper.
Don't get me wrong, there's still a place for the printed word. I don't think there will ever be a time (at least in my lifetime) when we won't have printed newspaper.
But there has been a steady decline in newspaper subscriptions for years. The simple sad fact is that newspapers just can't compete with the immediacy of broadcast and the Internet, nor the depth of magazines and books. And while there are still a lot of advertising dollars to be had in newspapers, online and mobile media will continue to erode this revenue base.
All of this doesn't even factor in the growing irrelevance of the content of all traditional media as media consumers become more and more savvy and skeptical of the political and corporate interests at play. And the fact that so-called journalists think themselves important enough to devote 30 column-inches to the plight of the local rag is an example of the pompous audacity that so many of us find off-putting.
So now is a good time for Knight-Ridder to cash in on their investment. As for Gusewelle, I'm sure he'll ride out the storm for a few more years and then retire to a teaching position at a nice liberal arts college.
The rest of Kansas City won't even notice that there's been a change.
tagged: media, newspapers, journalism, Kansas City Star, Knight-Ridder, Internet