Yesterday, the East Valley Tribune, my hometown paper, announced it will be closing its doors and ceasing publication in December. I first learned of the Tribune's fate from the news source that appears to be leading the way in thoughful journalism across the Valley - Heat City. Despite winning a Pulitzer Prize just a few months ago, the Tribune could not sustain declining subscriptions and could no longer hold off the behemoth Arizona Republic from becoming the only newspaper in the Phoenix area.
The editorial staff of Arizona State University's State Press ran this thoughtful tribute. They make a very valid point that with two Arizona newspapers closing in the past year (in May the state's oldest newspaper, the Tucson Citizen shut down), jobs in journalism are even scarcer. Why should students explore degrees in a field that has all but failed to turn any kind of profit?
I remember going to the Trib as a kid for Take Our Daughters to Work Day and I had many friends in high school and college whose parents worked there. I was so proud of Ryan last year when he won the Polk and then the Pulitzer and it's just entirely too sad to see the paper fail now.
As an avid NPR listener and member, I always wonder what would happen if newspapers went in that direction and explored a not-for-profit model. NPR offers free content, always has, and they provide some of the best investigative and non-sensationalist journalism anywhere. Hang in there newspapers of America - be creative and think beyond your bottom line.