Former editor looks at plight of newspapers

WATERTOWN, S.D. (KXLG) – It’s no secret that newspapers across the country and here in South Dakota have been struggling in recent years. An article in the Atlantic Business magazine stated that print newspapers have been in decline for more than 15 years. The article continued saying it isn’t breaking news or a violent explosion, but rather a decade-long structural shift without heroes or obvious villains. The article goes on saying that, between 2000 and 2015 alone, print newspaper advertising revenues fell from about $60 billion to $20 billion. That drop wiped out gains made over the previous 50 years.

The article conclusion said the collapse of newspapers across the nation is looking less like a steady erosion and more like an accelerating avalanche that should scare both reporters and readers everywhere. Roger Whittle is the former editor of the Watertown Public Opinion and latest high level South Dakota print journalist to step away from his job. He explains why.

He says, daily, more journalists are losing their jobs and that it’s not a problem unique to any one town or city, big or small.

He says that, although he believes newspapers will be around for awhile, it’s a different world we live in with the internet and blogs.

Whittle said that, sadly, he knows more journalists who have left the business than remain, but that he leaves as editor of the Watertown Public Opinion still a loyal proponent.