“I’m glad to hear that Scripps Howard still as a religion writer on its staff. Seriously, I mean it’s a nice thing that, you know, that still exists in the media.”
– Tom Hanks, at a press conference in 2009
For those who have not heard the news elsewhere, out in the Twitter-verse for example, there was a rather stunning announcement made yesterday that the Scripps Howard News Service is shutting down.
That was the first domino.
In my case, the second domino to fall was that the editors at the McClatchy-Tribune wire, which inherited the Scripps costumer list, did not pick up my “On Religion” column for syndication. This should lead to a third domino. If the weekly “On Religion” no longer exists, then it cannot be picked up by the 600 or so small- and medium-sized newspapers in the Newspaper Enterprise Association.
Here’s a clip from the all-to-familiar news obit, care of Bloomberg:
Scripps Howard News Service, which fed syndicated stories to papers across the U.S. since World War I, plans to shut down, becoming the latest symbol of readers’ shift away from print media. …
The Scripps Howard News Service, founded in 1917, supplied newspaper clients with Washington coverage and news from around the world, as well as photos, commentary and editorial cartoons. The operation was a remnant of a once-thriving era of wire services and news agencies, when an insatiable newspaper industry had numerous publications in every city and multiple editions per day. In an age when Internet news is typically free, newspaper consolidation, declining advertising sales and shrinking circulation have crimped demand for wire copy.
Internet news is free, sort of. However, it still costs money to produce real, live news and information.
If you follow the advertising crisis and its side effects, you know that there is great irony in all of this.