Darrell Berkheimer, a retired reporter and editor, says in the current issue of “Editor & Publisher” magazine that newspapers have been declining the past 30 years because they have lost relevancy and fail to provide pertinence to the lives of most readers.
“Many daily newspapers continue today only because they offer the same old, dull news that is pertinent mostly to those people who grew up in the community and never left, and those who left briefly for education and then returned,” writes Berkheimer.
“That’s the news of births, obituaries, engagements and weddings, building permits, and the court dockets. Only a few feature stories and the sports section show some small degree of passion for what’s happening locally.”
Berkheimer says newspapers need to reflect the passion their readers.
“How can newspapers expect readers to show loyalty to the newspaper if the newspaper can’t show more loyalty to what’s relevant to its readers?” asks Berkheimer. ”It’s time for newspapers to bring more passion back to the issues of their readers. They must find or develop ways to extract the passion of their readers and report that passion.”
“Simply put, today’s newspapers are too bland. And only when they can overcome that blandness will they become relevant again.”