RealClearPolitics Media Watch

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Top 10 Media Stories of 2008

Editor & Publisher released its top 10 "Newspaper Industry Stories of the Year." Of course, in keeping with the times, it's no longer simply the "newspaper industry." At least four of the 10 stories deal in some ways with the web and/or the business part of the media industry.

The top story, no surprise, is the rapid job losses in the newspaper business. Coupled with the hard-charging recession, the cuts reached apocalyptic proportions in 2008:

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates some 21,000 newspaper industry jobs disappeared this year. Somehow, newspaper owners continue to think that the way to handle economic downturns is to make their product worse be eliminating its most important asset, people. But with fewer reporters to dig up news as newspapers transition to the Web their content is going to look more and more like everything else online, limited and poorly reported.

That roughly echoed my sentiments when I applauded the Detroit newspapers' decision to reduce printing papers instead of cutting newsroom staff. Whether or not their bold gamble will set a new trend likely will become the top story for 2009.