Windmillin'

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Where politics and faith dance in the shadow of the windmill.

What doomed The Press

As the Grand Rapids Press shrinks it’s useful to consider the source of its decline: the internet

Jack Loechner’s Research Brief from Media Post captures the problem rather sharply. When it comes to picking a restaurant, what do you turn to? Overwhelmingly, it is the net; we search and go. The push by media to go online? Not really the way of the future either. Loencher reports

31% rely on newspapers, including
  • 26% rely on printed copies
  • 5% rely on newspaper websites

Even online doesn’t work. From a political standpoint, the danger here is that the source of news — the stuff for civic action — will take new economic models. The damage gets worse. Those turning away from the print edition are the very heart of the potential audience: women.

As distinct populations, they are more likely to live in households earning $75,000 or more, and have college educations. In addition, the 55% of adults who get information about restaurants, bars, and clubs are more likely to be women, young adults, urban, and technology adopters.

What is worse, the news junkies are even more fickle:

Those who are heavy local news junkies are considerably more likely than others to get material about local restaurants. 71% of those who used at least six platforms monthly got news and information about local restaurants, compared with 34% of those who relied on just one or two sources.
The best readers, the most regular readers are shifting away. For the political junkie this is a danger. Our politics depends on the presence of the customers who make the journalism platforms possible.  The continued danger is that our politics will not only go formally more opaque through Super PACs, but will miss the external eyes of those armed with sufficient support to shed some light. In that case, we may well know what the best restaurant is but be blind as to political choice. And that would really cause us to yelp.
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