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The Seattle Post Intelligencer began publishing in 1863. Yesterday it closed down, never to print again. While we still have the Seattle Times in this market, you will find more and more markets losing their big city paper. The Rocky Mountain News just died, the San Francisco Chronicle is done. Obviously the Internet killed the local newspaper with help from television and other immediate sources for news. As an old school ad agency guy, I watched over the last few years as they lost their audience and then lost their advertisers. Few auto dealers were still using the local paper. Most dealers would say it hadn't really worked for them in years. Craigslist killed the newspaper classifieds, and even the newspaper's own website took part in the demise. In large cities with big circulations, the cost of paper, the cost of production, large editorial staffs and the press workers made the overhead overwhelming.
The interesting thing to watch as the papers fail, is how people change the habits to get the information they want. While young people already use the internet for news and information, we will see older people begin to use websites to replace the paper. I guess this means you will get up on Sunday mornings and sit down with a cup of coffee and your laptop instead of the newspaper. Somehow, its just not the same.
Rather than moaning about the loss of the paper, we need to look forward to what is to come. Many parts of our business lives and our personal lives are going to change with the technology improvements and even with the economy problems. If you haven't noticed, the Post Office is not moving a whole lot of mail anymore. Most people email instead of using regular mail, and direct mail companies are feeling the big crunch. I think we need to prepare for a change in the post office and learn to live without delivery to the mailbox out on the post in the front yard. Are you ready? Have you invested in the latest phone gadget that will take calls, deliver email and show you movies in your palm? Have you noticed that when a person walks by you on the street, blabbering away to themselves, that they aren't crazy, they just have Bluetooth in their ear? Quick, go buy a paper and sit down and read it before its gone.