Readers Write: Newspapers still matter

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On June 26 the New York Daily News will be celebrating 98 years of publishing.   As a teenager in the 1960s, I can still remember being able to buy four newspapers for less than a dollar and getting change back. At the end of the day, increasing the newsstand price, shrinking content, reduction in actual newsprint size or favorable government subsidies will not be the determining factor for the survival of the New York Daily News, New York Post, New York Times, Newsday or other daily newspapers.

We live in one of the few remaining free societies, with a wealth of information sources available for any citizen to access. However, sadly, most American cities and suburbs are down to one local daily or weekly newspaper. Most papers have to deal with continued increasing costs for news print, delivery and distribution along with reduced advertising revenues and declining readership. They may face competitors in the surrounding suburbs, along with national editions of USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Epoch Times.

In our metropolitan New York region, there are also all news radio stations such as WCBS, 1010 WINS, Bloomberg News and 101.9FM News along with other radio stations. ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS have national network news, as do local affiliates along with local independent news broadcasts such as FOX 5, MY 9 and PIX 11, cable news stations such as News One (in NYC), CNBC, CNN, FOX, BBC along with News Twelve and 10/55 (in Nassau/Suffolk counties). Many get late-breaking news from the Internet. This is stale when reaching print the next day. The growing population of new immigrants support their own newspapers, radio and television stations.

These financial challenges on maintaining the bottom line have also resulted in less resources being devoted to investigative reporting and a greater reliance on wire service stories. As a result, original newspaper content continues to shrink. This puts even more pressure on the remaining reporters assigned to various departments. There is intense competition between international, state, business, sports, entertainment and other sections of newspapers. It is becoming more difficult to provide real detailed coverage of local new.

Prior to the New York City 1962 newspaper strike, there were actually twelve daily newspapers published in the Big Apple. The strike resulted in the closing or consolidation of several newspapers including the New York Journal American, New York World Telegram & Sun, New York Mirror and New York Herald Tribune. Later, both the Long Island Star Journal, Long Island Press and Suffolk Sun ended publication.  Today, residents can select from the Times, Daily News, Post, Newsday, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Staten Island Advance along with freebies such as AM New York and Metro New York .

There has also been major growth in weekly papers such as Dan’s Papers and dozens of others based in neighborhoods all around the five boroughs of NYC and Long Island. Neighborhood weekly newspapers like our very own Great Neck News and other Blank Slate Media Publications, along with competitors such as the Great Neck Record, provide real coverage of local community news stories usually overlooked by other media.  

The Sunday New York Times consolidation of their former “City Section” into a “Metropolitan Section” combining the City with Long Island resulted in even less coverage of news from Long Island.  Newsday, The Times, Daily News and Post with limited space can only provide a minimal amount of news stories based in various Nassau County neighborhoods including Great Neck, New Hyde Park, Herricks, Albertson, Searingtown, Garden City, Mineola, Manhasset, Port Washington and Roslyn.  

There are still many like myself and others who have a continued thirst for news provided by either daily or weekly newspapers covering Washington, Albany, New York City, Nassau County and the Town of North Hempstead. 

In the marketplace of ideas, let us hope there continues to be room for everyone including the New York Daily News and our own Great Neck News regardless of the price.

Larry Penner

Great Neck

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