» Some chains, especially those like New Media Investment Group with the cash to buy, will show healthy returns in the next few years — as long as they can acquire “fat” properties and consolidate/absorb operations into their corporate machinery to slash spending. But the failure to produce genuine news-driven strategies will be their eventual undoing. At some point, with fewer properties to acquire, the model breaks down.
» Layoffs in newsrooms continue at an alarming rate. One casualty is the loss of traditional beat reporters. On the local-reporting level, beat reporters — from politics and crime, to education and government — are rapidly being replaced by multimedia journalists whose work is assessed by the number of followers they have on social media rather than quality reporting. In communities around the globe, local news operations simply can’t stay on top of the news as they once did. Essential topics and issues are going uncovered, leaving the door open for community groups, upstarts and weekly publications to tackle and take ownership of reporting beats once “owned” by the dominant local newspaper.
» Family and individually owned media operations, satisfied with reasonable profit margins, will succeed and continue community-driven business and news-coverage models that show print journalism isn’t quite dead. A reasonable balance between digital- and print-strategic modeling maximizes the potential in individual markets. But that cannot work on the large corporate scale. Since more and more communities are now served by a chain-media-owned outlet, depth, consistency and relevance of coverage become secondary to consolidation-driven strategies that drive revenue and cut costs for the entire company.