OLD Media Moves

A metro daily newspaper unlikely to drop its business section

February 7, 2009


Across the country, major metropolitan papers such as the Boston Globe, Denver Post and San Francisco Chronicle have dropped their standalone business sections, tucking business coverage in the back of another section.

The newspapers say that they’ve made such a move to save on costs, but the implications for business journalism are vast. The decision implies to readers that business news is less important than other type of news, and it lowers morale on the business news desk.

However, I ran across a newspaper editor this week who says his paper — one that is smaller than many of the metro dailies that have cut their standalone business sections — is unlikely to follow the path of emasculating business news.

Peter Bhatia, executive editor of The Oregonian in Portland, says, “We believe business news is one of the franchise areas for The Oregonian, along with areas such as environmental coverage, watchdog coverage of government and institutions, and expertise on specialty beats.

“That is especially true right now, given the country and Oregon’s economic situation,” adds Bhatia. “Even as we have to cut back in response to those same economic conditions, we’re on record as working to preserve business and economic coverage and to keep a business section in the daily newspaper in order to keep our readers and online viewers up to date on what is happening here and nationally.”

Bhatia concludes, “We want Biz to remain a distinct part of the paper.”

I count six papers with a circulation larger than the Oregonian, a Newhouse newspaper, that have cut their standalone business section in the past 18 months.

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