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YAWN: Tiresome Newspaper Arguments
Tom Silvestri

It’s been more than two years since I received my last paycheck from a newspaper company. In that time, I’ve had the opportunity to advocate for local newspapers that remain Relevant to their communities. That advocacy keeps running into tiresome arguments that are as yellow as old faded newsprint. No matter what facts you use to extinguish them, they find a way to flare up later. During National Newspaper Week, consider the following collection of statements that numb the mind, along with a suggestion: When you encounter them, just turn the page, click to the next story, or call timeout to replenish the beverage. Don’t waste your time arguing. 

Newspapers are dead. Not if you are reading this in print. Not if you get your news from a local newspaper online. Not if you support trusted journalism. 

Newspapers face tough challenges. And so does everyone. That’s called life.

Nobody reads newspapers. Latest research annihilates this one. Check out for data compiled by the research firm of Coda Ventures, for example.

Newspapers must act with urgency. Embraced a long time ago. Yawn.

Print vs digital. It’s not an either/or argument. Newspaper media understand it’s an “and” strategy -- print AND digital. Move on.

Only Metros are Pulitzer Prize newsrooms. Consistent, thorough beat coverage over the course of a year merits better recognition and appreciation. Local newspapers are the lifeblood of a community.

Governments should be required to place legal notices in local newspapers. It’s more than tradition. It’s demonstrated transparency by responsible government. Newspaper readers are the best voters, by the way.

Cutting days of the week is good for newspapers. Please, admit it’s about saving money. Don’t tell us fewer days of publication are good for readers. Also, stop with the “digital transition” lectures. 

News stories should be free. The digital giants have wrecked that ability. So have the demise of Classified ads and the disappearance of preprinted advertisements. Free doesn’t pay for a local newsroom.

Journalists can’t be objective. Outstanding journalism stands on its own. When it resonates and is a force for positive change, the objectivity worry melts.

I stopped at 10. Do you have one? Send it to Maybe we can do some good in extinguishing tiresome arguments that distract us from keeping newspapers relevant.

In the meantime, thank you for supporting this newspaper. 

Tom Silvestri is executive director of The Relevance Project, a community newspaper resource and advocate financed by Newspaper Association Managers of North American and the SNPA Foundation.