|COMMENT By Bob Weaver|
The Charleston Gazette has done a story on the Hur Herald.
Hur Herald faces hard times by Rusty Marks for the Charleston Gazette.
It is one of many stories that state newspapers have done about the Herald since early on.
The Herald is likely the longest on-going Internet newspaper in West Virginia (excluding print publications who got on-line early), and by most standards, a shoe-string operation that has grown and survived, at times barely.
The Herald suffers from the same dilemma as print newspapers. News and content on-line is free, and the public is accustomed to "free lunch."
Such appears to be the demise of American newspapers, organizations that have real reporters and use real news models to get the news.
The media culture has turned to that which is most entertaining.
With TV, it is the "talking heads" who have virtually nothing to do with reporting or using a news model, the louder the rant, the more entertaining.
Most newspapers have been firing reporters and photographers left and right in order to survive.
It is my prediction in the next decade, few will survive.
What will be left is large corporate media outlets, whose devotion to the Washington establishment is astounding.
Already in the USA, about a half-dozen companies own most of the "mainstream" media.
If you think this is good for America, you should surely take a long nap and reconsider.
In the case of newspapers, what will be left is their Internet versions, and all will have to go to to pay-to-read, and most will struggle to have money to hire real-live reporters to spend countless hours digging and actually using sources to deliver the news.
The Herald, while using a news model and still clinging to the notion of reporting and recording life in the hills of West Virginia, could be a victim too.
The diversions are many.
During the last year or two, a number of people have said, "I get my news on Facebook," reflecting a diminished perception of "news."
The Herald, while having a large readership for such a small endeavor,
never intended to be other than free, but it still costs some bucks to keep it going.
Donations have continued to diminish.
At the Herald, we work for free, meaning that "downsizing" is not an option.
I suppose because of my age and my life-long attachment to newspapers and sourced news, whose goal in trying to get some facts - looking forward is pretty gloomy.
But then, in the brave new world, there may be hope and I just lack vision.