As a result of the financial pressures that all papers face, my local newspaper, the Plain Dealer has adopted the cost-saving strategy of cutting back on national and international coverage and op-eds, focusing more on local news and sports. The paper is now a lot thinner with the sports section now the largest, and sports news often dominates even the front page.
Is this a bad thing? Some time ago I would have said yes, especially since I rarely read anything in the sports section beyond the first page. It would have signified the further dumbing down of news. But now I am not sure. The coverage of local news seems to have got better and more interesting, and many people do care passionately about sports and can’t seem to get enough of it, so the paper is now perhaps finding a niche. The paper’s regular stable of local and syndicated op-ed columnists is unbelievably vapid so the reduction assigned to them is not something I mourn. In fact, I hardly ever read them, unless they publish the occasional new voice.