Does Birmingham suck with no daily newspaper?

(Since this piece will be published on al.com, I make the following disclosure:  I receive no pay from Advance Media or al.com;  al.com does not edit or influence my content in any way–they allow me to write any dumb thing I want)

I’m a big advocate for our Birmingham region, so I’m constantly bombarded by folks bemoaning the death of our daily newspaper. They seem to be genuinely embarrassed.

But with today’s technology the old business model makes no sense:

• Cut down millions of trees

• Process into paper

• Ship to publishers

• Print

• Sort for distribution

• Deliver

Can you image how many millions of gallons of gasoline are burned every day just from the delivery process?

My grown children don’t read the paper newspaper and neither do their friends.

I believe Advance Media Group who publishes our Birmingham News has been unfairly vilified. “They hate old people; they hate poor people. They only care about the money.”

The paper newspaper as we know it is doomed.  It’s just a matter of when.

My wife and I had a conversation a year ago about the impending death of paper books. She said, “I’ll never give up my books. I love the touch and feel of the paper—the smell of the print.” Now you can’t pry her Kindle out of her hands.

People will be getting their news on their tablets or other portable devices. The price of tablets is free falling and the technology is getting better and better. It’s likely that soon Amazon will start giving away Kindles.

Some of you old timers may remember when newspapers were delivered by young boys on their bikes–seems far fetched today—so will the printed newspaper.

The decision to print three days a week may be brilliant or it may be the most imbecilic decision ever made.  Time will tell.

We in Birmingham often complain we are behind the rest of the country.

Actually, this time, we might be one of the first.

Let’s turn Birmingham around.  Click here to sign up for our newsletter.  There’s power in numbers. (Opt out at any time)

David Sher is a partner in Buzz12 Marketing and co-CEO of AmSher Receivables Management. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (ONB), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).

 

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7 Responses to Does Birmingham suck with no daily newspaper?

  1. Joe says:

    No…we were not first to do this. Times Picayune was the first large banner news rag to do so. 

  2. Charles says:

    I”ve become used to reading the local daily news on al.com  I think the News has succeeded beyond it’s wildest expectations.  The “three day a week” papers that now come are full of old news and ads that are meaningless. The editorials have been meaningless for some time.  Perhaps the paper ought to cease the print version entirely–or, Sunday only.  The print version is a waste of paper (and trees) and the advertising section just gets thrown away, and becomes extra crap for the landfill.*

  3. John Falkenberry says:

    *How about this, David? AMG’s excuse for a newspaper SUCKS. So does its web site, al.com. Now that’s embarassing, without criticizing AMG’s motivation.

  4. Henry Neff says:

    David,

    Sorry but I am old school on this one. I like the daily print paper.  I don’t own an iPad, Kindle, Nook or any other electronic reading device – OK I have a laptop but I don’t take it everywhere I go. I use the garage sale portion of the printed paper every week in my business and the electronic version is a mess and time consuming.

    Lack of a printed paper and the ads found in the them will hurt many small and perhaps lerger bsuinesses. I know there are electronic coupons but they have to be printed and taken to the stores.  Forty years ago many predicted the end of the check for banking purposes. Last time I looked we are still using checks.

    While I will miss the printed paper I am certain I will adapt in time.

    Henry

  5. Caroline Wingate says:

    OK, I’m one of those fogies who has to start her day on the sofa with coffee and newspaper.

    So I bought a tablet, and settled in with coffee and tablet and AL.com.

    But guess what? There was wasn’t much there. The problem isn’t the format; it’s the content (you know, what we used to call news).  Too many experienced journalists lost their jobs in the switch. Too much know-how, too much institutional memory, too much “news sense”  — gone.

    Maybe they’re still trying to find their way. I hope so.

    caroline

     

  6. Sam Vogt says:

    There are real issues with having no daily newspaper (besides having a lousy website that is impossible to navigate and a three day per week newspaper that is of such poor content that I have no intention of re-subscribing).  As was pointed out in the weekly city paper Weld, people felt ignorant as they went to the polls for the recent election.  There is something to the daily being delivered- you can count on it giving you news from the past 24 hours (even if you saw some of it on line).  Now, I know that the “paper” was eventually going away, but couldn’t it have been replaced with a much better product then what we have to endure with AL.com?  

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