If you are reading this in the print edition of the Courier News, congratulations! To you, dear reader, and the newspaper. Since I started writing "On Hillsborough" in June 2007, dozens of newspapers nationwide have shut down their presses - 120 just since January 2008.
Ad revenue for America's newspapers was 23% lower in 2008 than in 2007, mostly due to dwindling circulation. And I don't have to tell you who the culprit is. If you are NOT reading this in the newspaper, you already know.
What happens when newspapers fold? Big cities that were once home to two or more competing papers are now down to one. And some one-paper-towns, like San Francisco, may soon have no daily newspaper at all.
Gannett - the parent company of the Courier and the Home News Tribune - and its major competitor McClatchy will likely survive, but it has already been painful. Many local newspaper employees have been terminated or furloughed - while revenues continue to plummet.
So, is the newspaper dead? I don't think so. As people continue to turn to the internet to get their information, there is no reason newspapers can't incorporate what makes the 'net work into their print editions. The Courier News and Home News Tribune have already begun to do that by cross-promoting their special and general interest blogs, and there is so much more that can be done.
I am excited to begin my third year writing "Gillette on Hillsborough". As the traditional second anniversary gift is cotton, I think I may go out tomorrow and pick up some cotton paper, the archival stuff that lasts 200 years, and print out a couple of my blog posts for posterity. Because when it comes right down to it, it's the "ones and zeros" that are most ephemeral. It's the paper that lasts.
Let's hope that goes for newspaper too.