Several weeks ago, the New York Times raised its price from $2 to $2.50. Several years ago, the Times received favorable eminent domain, zoning, regulatory and tax relief to assist in covering relocation costs to their new midtown Manhattan offices. The New York State Empire State Development Corporation also granted them a $1.25 million grant to pay for expansion of their College Point printing facility.
As a teenager in the 1960s, I can still remember being able to buy four newspapers for less than a dollar and getting change back. At the end of the day, increasing the newsstand price, shrinking content, reduction in actual newsprint size or favorable government subsidies will not be the determining factor for the survival of the Times, Daily News, New York Post, Newsday or other daily newspapers.
We live in one of the few remaining free societies, with a wealth of information sources available for any citizen to access. However, sadly, most American cities and suburbs are down to one local daily or weekly newspaper. Most papers have to deal with continued increasing costs for news print, delivery and distribution along with reduced advertising revenues and declining readership. They may face competitors in the surrounding suburbs, along with national editions of USA Today, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Epoch Times.
In our Metropolitan New York Region, there are also all news radio stations such as WCBS, 1010 WINS, Bloomberg News and 101.9 FM News, along with other radio stations. ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS have national network news, as do local affiliates along with local independent news broadcasts such as FOX 5, MY 9 and PIX 11, cable news stations such as NY1 (in NYC), CNBC, CNN, FOX, BBC and News Twelve (in Nassau/Suffolk counties). Many get late breaking news from the Internet. This is stale when reaching print the next day. The growing population of new immigrants support their own newspapers, radio and television stations.
These financial challenges on maintaining the bottom line have also resulted in less resources being devoted to investigative reporting and a greater reliance on wire service stories. As a result, original newspaper content continues to shrink. This puts even more pressure on the remaining reporters assigned to various departments. There is intense competition between international, state, business, sports, entertainment and other sections of newspapers. It is becoming more difficult to provide real detailed coverage of local news.
I still remember the original daily Long Island Press and Long Island Star Journal. Prior to the NYC 1962 newspaper strike, which resulted in the closing or consolidation of several papers, there were actually twelve daily newspapers published in the Big Apple. Today, residents can select from the New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Post, Newsday, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Staten Island Advance along with freebies such as AM New York and New York Metro.
There has also been major growth in weekly papers such as the Village Voice, New York Observer, Long Island Press, Dan’s Papers and dozens of others based in neighborhoods all around the five boroughs of New York City and Long Island. Neighborhood weekly newspapers like our very own Queens Courier along with competitors such as the Queens Tribune, Queens Chronicle, Queens Gazette, Queens Examiner, Queens Times and Queens Ledger chain provide real coverage of local community news stories usually overlooked by other media. The Sunday New York Times consolidation of their former “City Section” into a “Metropolitan Section” combining the city with Long Island resulting in even less coverage of news from the five boroughs. Newsday, The Times, Daily News and Post with limited space can only provide a minimal amount of news stories based in various Queens neighborhoods.
There are still many like myself who have a continued thirst for news provided by either daily or weekly newspapers covering Washington, Albany and New York City Hall.
In the marketplace of ideas, let us hope there continues to be room for everyone including the New York Times and our own Queens Courier regardless of the price.