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I think that if more mainstream papers actually try to report on stories that actually connect to people of color, the poor, the working class, those who work in less glamorous jobs, etc., then maybe those papers would actually get people to care enough to purchase an actual newspaper instead of reading it for free on the Internet.

Case in point: I saw this story published on the front page of The Washington Post this morning.

Don't get me wrong, I think what happened to that young woman was horrifying. But The Post goes out of its way to try to paint a sympathetic portrait of the alleged perpetrator of the murder by talking about her upper class background growing up in an average upper middle class American family.

On top of that, the murder happened in an upscale store (Luluemon) that's located in an upscale shopping district (Bethesda) and The Post's story is clearly implying such things as "How can such a horrible murder happen in Bethesda of all places?"

Believe me, if that murder had happened in a Target in Columbia Heights and the alleged murdered had been African-American or Latino, you'd be lucky if you'd see even a paragraph about the murder buried in the back section of The Washington Post's Metro section.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You have identified the problem (2+ / 0-)
    Believe me, if that murder had happened in a Target in Columbia Heights and the alleged murdered had been African-American or Latino, you'd be lucky if you'd see even a paragraph about the murder buried in the back section of The Washington Post's Metro section.

    But, their target audience is those middle- to upper-class folks in the nice suburbs.

    Because that's where the money is.

    And they'll continue to lose readership and money.

    "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

    by MikeTheLiberal on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 01:57:21 PM PDT

    •  selling the audience (0+ / 0-)

      The Washington Post is selling its readership to the advertisers. Of course its going to aim its coverage like a pandering heat-seeking missile at a relatively affluent demographic.

      I wonder which is going to come first, the Post acknowledges the digital divide and realizes that the disconnected poor are the only people left that can be sold news in print form or else the paper sheds nearly its entire readership and becomes a pricey political newsletter circulated exclusively to the wealthy and powerful.

  •  The upper-class (0+ / 0-)

    bias is hardly new.  In fact, it was much worse in the early, pre-Penny Press days.  It perhaps subsided a bit during the turn-of-the-20th-Century era of yellow journalism (augmented by the flourishing of newspapers by and for recent immigrants in the big cities), but resurged in the subsequent backlash and only got more pronounced as the century went on.  Compare the dry, haughty, all-White New York Times from the 50s and 60s to today, and you'll say "wow, they've come a long way toward covering a broader segment of the community!"  

    So it doesn't really work as an explanation for the recent precipitous decline in readership.  As for the explanations that do work, I'd recommend this recent book.

    Really? A trendy expression of befuddled incredulity? Really?

    by cardinal on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:11:46 PM PDT

  •  Interesting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Some Kid In High School

    how media has changed. The Lizzy Borden incident was the talk of the town.

    When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace- Hendrix

    by Maori on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:50:17 PM PDT

  •  Two things: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eyesoars, Jim J

    1. Papers is the subject of your title, and it is plural, so your verb needs to be plural too. (Why Mainstream Papers...ARE Losing Readers)

    2. I refuse to pay for a subscription to my local paper for two reasons. One, the papers kept "getting lost" on their way to me when I had one. Two, it went for McLame in 2008. I'm not giving money to conservative activists.

    "This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it." -- Keith Olbermann

    by allergywoman on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:59:37 PM PDT

  •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

    I think that the biggest problem for newspapers is the internet competition for classified ads and sports information.  The quality of the front page matters a lot less than some people think.

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