Newspapers, no problem

Writing evolves into something better only through the hot-iron test that is a volume of work, as Ira Glass says.

My volume has diminished by a thimbleful here, a bucket there. Forgive me. A week’s worth of digital dead air is an awful thing to suffer.

What isn’t suffering, according to USC prof Judy Miller, is the local paper. These 8,000 or so local papers keep the print faith alive through Miller’s “holy trinity” of high school sports, obits and police blotter activity.

The “haikus of Main Street” aren’t free, even online, and no, people don’t balk at paying for them.

Meanwhile, StarTribune editor Nancy Barnes envisions a near-term future when her paper shifts to digital content during the week and print distribution on Sunday.

“The digital revenue continues to grow and we don’t have those big operational costs… We see a strong Sunday paper for many years to come. It’s our engine.”

Our industry sometimes shuns truth as a plural noun when writing articles. As an industry, however, the concept applies. Locals can continue to thrive with print versions and the almighty triad of hometown news bits. Major city papers might need to move to digital content faster.

The important lesson is to try, fail quickly, and try again. It’s only through a volume of work (and experiments) that we improve.

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