Jul 1


A lot of people are cutting the cable chord

Cable television providers are losing customers at a record pace. It's got implication for local television stations. Meanwhile, the retreat from print at The Buffalo News continues.

The cable TV business is starting to implode. The decline started in 2014 and is gaining speed. This chart tells it all

Cable’s decline has implications for local TV news, as retransmission fees paid by cable providers are a major source of revenue for stations. 

Newscasts here in Buffalo have lost one-third of their audience since 2019. It’s part of a national trend. In 2018, 41 percent of Americans surveyed by Pew Research said they preferred television news over other sources. That number today is 32 percent. People prefer online sources, 48 percent. Printed newspapers and radio trail badly, with 9 percent each.

TV news here is still in much better financial shape than, say, The Buffalo News, but has entered a downward spiral, as well. It’s bad news for our local news ecosystem – and community – and is bound to get worse. 

In many other cities, digital start-ups are filling a portion of the void. Most notable is Philadelphia, where more than a dozen nonprofit news outlets are publishing. Multiple serious news outlets have sprouted in many other cities, including Memphis, Denver and Cleveland. Here, only Investigative Post has set up shop. We’re it folks.

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The Buffalo News took another step towards phasing out its print edition. Step one was shifting the job of printing the paper to Cleveland. The News announced a couple of weeks ago that it will not print on major holidays – digital only. Lee Enterprises publishes 77 daily papers, a majority of which are printed only three days a week. That no doubt is in Buffalo’s future, as well.

I can’t blame Lee, the newspaper business is tanking, and the cost of producing and distributing a print edition is costly. But the continued diminishment of local news coverage, and the poor quality of its newspaper websites, are a recipe for disaster. The Buffalo Newspaper Guild, which represents the paper’s newsroom employees, has been vocal about the shortcomings of The News’ website

A refusal by officials to comment to journalists is increasingly becoming the norm, the Columbia Journalism Review reports. Instead, they use media they control, such as press releases and social media, often to lie or spin.

Mayor Byron Brown went nuclear last week at a meeting of the Erie County Industrial Agency, blocking a request from the local NAACP for $25,000 to help fund a study of redeveloping Jefferson Avenue. Brown insisted that such a plan already exists. That’s news to a lot of people. I’ve filed a request for said plan with the mayor’s office and will keep you posted on their response.

Coworking Magazine reports that the share of employees working remotely in metro Buffalo is lower than the national average (12.8 percent vs. 15.2 percent). Median earnings are $60,000 vs. $70,000 nationally. Lots of details to be found here.

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The Carolina Hurricanes are about to get busy developing around its hockey arena. Noteworthy given our situation here.

Julian Assange is free. That’s a good thing. But his plea deal could have ramifications down the road for reporters seeking to expose government secrets. Meanwhile, The Guardian reports on what’s next for Assange.

The Supreme Court last week made it tougher for regulators to keep us safe. And easier for many Jan. 6 rioters to challenge their prosecution.

Long ago, and not so far away, there was a historic rock concert, now the subject of a new documentary. My favorite from the show. (Days later, John informed Paul, George and Ringo that he was leaving the band.)

Investigative Post

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