Danielle Lynch ’07 sat at her office desk and read over notes in deep concentration, while writing an article for The Daily Local News based in West Chester, Pa. She covers a news beat which includes a couple school districts and other areas in Chester County.
The newspaper industry is struggling to survive with advertising and sales revenue significantly down and layoffs becoming a common occurrence. It is a trying time to be a print journalist.
Nevertheless, Lynch has seen early success in her career consisting of two years as a news reporter for the publication. She earned several awards in her short career as a journalist for co-writing a four-part series about poverty in Chester County.
These awards include an honorable mention from the Suburban Newspapers of America, a first place award from the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors for best example of public service, a first place award from the Philadelphia Society of Professional Journalists, and a third place honor from the Philadelphia Press Association.
She credits her success to Bloomsburg University’s on-campus media which provided her with helpful knowledge and experience. She worked at The Voice newspaper, and spent two years with Spectrum Magazine where she was executive editor during her senior year.
The BU alumna portrayed classic journalistic qualities of curiosity and resourcefulness in the newsroom as she prepared for her next story. “Sure we can talk off the record, I am just fishing around right now,” Lynch said as she communicated over the phone with a source. Her latest story concerns how administrators at a local elementary school treat students with special needs.
Presently, times are changing for journalists and newspapers as the industry has terminated print editions in a several large U.S. cities this year including The Rocky Mountain News in Denver, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Major cities still have newspapers for now, but many papers are facing possible bankruptcy, according to a research report titled 2009 Project for Excellence in Journalism done by the PEW Research Center. While news is displayed on TV or the Internet; the print industry has tried to respond by putting its content online. Still this has done little to help the economic issue.
There are many factors that explain the current downfall of newspapers. But, the main reason arguably is due to the economic recession. During 2008, about 5,000 full-time jobs were cut in newsrooms, PEW reports. The research also predicts the trend will continue in 2009 as it expects 20-25% fewer newsroom employees than in 2001. Although, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) states, “The continued demand for news will create some job opportunities.”
Meanwhile, Lynch arrived at the elementary school where she planned to report about a private meeting to be held between the principal and the parents of the special needs children. Lynch radiated with confidence and showed courage as she approached the distressed parents.
Also joining Lynch at the potential news scene was a local NBC10 broadcaster. The representatives of two different media worked together, observing and taking notes about answers to the other reporter’s questions.
Electronic media, more specifically TV broadcast, often attract viewers because they add brief video and emotion to news. Their condensed style allows a station to cover numerous stories in a short amount of time. Cable news has seen its audience size increase by almost 40% and therefore profits have grown by a third in 2008 according to the DOL.
Will newspapers be around in the next five or 10 years? The answer relies on whether the industry can find a way to rebound from its current crisis.
This story was assisted by the author’s job shadow experience on Monday, May 18, 2009.