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Times Cuts Citrus County Edition as Realities of New Media Landscape Hit Home



Sptimesnewlook_3 Those of us who work here at the Times know we're priviledged in an important way.

Working for a newspaper owned by a non-profit entity, the Times has been able to slog through economic challenges that long ago forced other newspapers into significant layoffs and worse. With no stockholders to appease or distant corporate bosses to serve, we could make our decisions about staffing and resources focused on our core mission -- journalistic excellence.

But news that the Times will shut down its 27-year-old Citrus Times news edition April 2 shows that there are some economic realities even independent newspapers must face eventually.

Readers in Citrus County will still be able to buy the newspaper by Newspapercircdeclines1_1subscription, at newsstands or in boxes, and there will be stories on major events in the area handled by reporters working from offices in other areas. But the Citrus Times will go away, and 19 employees from the journalism and business sides must now seek jobs elsewhere in the company or find somewhere else to work. Our corporate attention will turn to higher growth areas with less competition: Hernando and Pasco counties, for instance.

I worked at the Pittsburgh Press when it went through something similar, though it was company-wide -- we were struck by the Teamsters, which forced all union employees to stop working at the building, leaving only the editorial staff to safely cross picketlines. For eight months, we editors and writers walked into the building to work, never sure if the editor would come out of his office and announce that owner Scripps-Howard had decided to cut its losses and we could all head home, jobless. (Instead, Scripps sold the newspaper to a new owner, which promptly laid off 60 percent of the staff, not including me.)

My colleagues in Citrus County now must face a similar ordeal, working to put out a news section whose days have been specifically numbered. That many of them probably don't know where their next move will be, will only makes that task tougher.

Newspaperhawkerimage_1 As money gets tighter in the media business, the industry gets rougher. And certainly, stories like this are hardly unique when newspapers such as the Philadelphia Inquirer are posting double-digit layoff percentages.

But I think many of us at the Times hoped we would be different. Turns out, though you can slow down the wolf's approach to your door, sometimes you can't keep him away entirely.

Me and Paula Zahn On the Same Page

Paula_zahn Under the great minds think alike tip, comes news that CNN's Paula Zahn is exploring the notion of whether hip hop is more damaging than defendable. And for those who thought my story on the issue was harsh, check her title for the report: "Hip Hop - Art or Poison?"

Here's the release:

‘Hip-Hop: Art or Poison’ to Air as Part of CNN's Daylong ‘Uncovering America’ Programming

               Zahn2  CNN’s Paula Zahn Now will devote a full hour to the discussion of hip-hop music and its impact on the African-American society on Wednesday, Feb. 21.  For “Hip-Hop: Art or Poison,” anchor Paula Zahn talks about this issue with hip-hop producer Russell Simmons, rappers Chuck D and Eve and a special panel of guests.  Paula Zahn Now airs weekdays at 8 p.m. (ET).

               For nearly four months, the “Out in the Open” series on Paula ZahnPaulazahnpicture5 Now has explored the realities of the racial divide that Americans often discuss privately but rarely acknowledge publicly. With “Hip Hop: Art or Poison,” the program examines whether the music’s lyrics and videos go too far into sex, crime and hate. The special comes amid an unprecedented full day of “Uncovering America” programming across CNN/U.S. built around the theme of “Out in the Open.”

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:38pm]


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