Times Editor on the Future of Newspapers

02/12/09 Robert Lorei
Radioactivity: Live Call-In (Thursday) | Listen to this entire show:

The St. Petersburg Times this year is celebrating its 125th anniversary, at a time when the future of newspapers is uncertain. We’ll talk with Neil Brown, the executive editor at the St. Petersburg Times in a moment.

But first- one listener comment about yesterday’s interview with Michael Scheuer, the veteran CIA officer who’s written a book called MARCHING TOWARD HELL- about the missteps the US has made in its war against Islamic militants.

Newspapers are facing tough times: readership has been declining for many papers; the recession has caused major advertisers to cut back; there is increasing competition from the internet. Craig’s List and other web sites have taken away classified ad revenue. Some readers prefer to skip the routine of reading the morning paper and going directly online. The days of every city having a vibrant, locally-owned newspaper are long gone. Many papers were long ago bought by major chains. By having to return a portion of their revenue to parent companies it’s put tremendous financial pressure on newspapers.

Here to talk about the state of newspapers is Neil Brown, executive editor and vice president of the St. Petersburg Times since August 2004. A native of Chicago, Illinois, Brown joined the Times in 1993 overseeing national and international affairs as World Editor after serving four years in Washington, DC as managing editor of Congressional Quarterly (CQ). Prior to that, Brown spent eight years as a reporter and editor at The Miami Herald covering government and politics in Miami and at bureaus in Key West, Tallahassee and West Palm Beach.

Contact info: nbrown[at]sptimes.com

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what rubbish

I obviously don't really understand how this works because here we are two days after Mr Brown's call in and I am the first to respond. That can't be true. I was driving listening to "good job" brownie and couldn't believe my ears as he said the reduction of journalists from 450 to 300 hadn't affected the quality of the paper. Two things recently have infuriated me about the SPT. First during the election Adam Smith wrote constantly on the front page. Basically he was commenting on the election but his articles were never identified as "comment" they just ran as though it was front page news. Talk about devious amateurs. Second a big story broke at publix just before christmas. They cut health benefits for all their part time employees, putting them on a par with Walmart. I expected SPT to be all over this but no... they ran a piece about new uniform colors. Obviously SPT don't want to offend a big advertiser.