Lean and mean, newspapers now positioned to rebuild

Recommended listening.  “Fresh Air” interview with Alex S. Jones, director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and part of a fourth generation family-owned media company based in the upper East Tennessee town of Greeneville that owns newspapers, radio stations and other media products.

Probably most newspapers in this country are making a profit now, a modest operating profit. …  If the economy improves and if some resources come flowing back along with some advertising, they  are going to be in a position to rebuild, rebuild both in terms of their journalistic muscle and on their digital side. And I think that is going to be essential if they are going to survive.

– Alex S. Jones

The Tennessee journalist, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, has a new book coming out, “Losing the News: The Future of the News That Feeds Democracy (Institutions of American Democracy)

He talks about the family business, including pressures on his family to sell the business when newspapers values were at their peak, the general state of the news business and what is happening to journalism.

One interesting note: As part owner of a small town papers, Jones says he doesn’t buy the journalism trend toward “hyperlocal content.” He says readers want serious news.

There’s a lot of good insights about the newspaper business and journalism in this audio interview.