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Changes at Syracuse’s newspaper

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Changes at Syracuse’s newspaper
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Syracuse sees a passing of an era at the end of this week: The end of a daily newspaper delivered to our homes. With the help of a long time observer of popular culture, YNN's Bill Carey says the change should have been expected.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Every generation has its way of sharing information.

“The telegraph, of course, is the big revolution. Because all of a sudden, at the speed of light, which is virtually instantaneous, if there's wires there, you can get information from point A to point B,” said Syracuse University Professor of Popular Culture Robert Thompson.

The 19th century gave way to the 20th and new technologies, like radio.

Thompson said, “We're hearing Roosevelt declare war on Japan. We're hearing about the Pearl Harbor invasion, right in our living rooms.”

And soon we weren't just hearing the news. We were seeing it.

1949. A historic television first. A presidential inauguration.

Through it all, newspapers survived and even flourished as a place to find in-depth information, analysis and context. But consumer electronics were undergoing their own changes. Telephone exchanges to hand held. Computers, offering newspapers a new way to share information.

But all that information online and further advances in technology made the idea of paying for a printed newspaper less attractive.

“This ancient tradition of a printed newspaper, which survived television, which survived the movies, which survived radio, seems to be on its last legs,” Thompson said.

For the company producing Syracuse's last daily newspaper, the Post-Standard, the tipping point has arrived. The days of a daily newspaper delivered to your home end this weekend.

Eventually, a storefront location will serve as home to a new internet-focused product. Not a newspaper online. But an online service that also, a few days a week, produces a newspaper.

Thompson says it's not the shift in technology that should worry us. The concern, he says, is what fills our screens in the future.

“Reporters. Old timers who know the community better than anybody out there. Those pillars of a journalistic team are often the ones that are being ditched in these transformations,” Thompson said.

And that will carry a cost for us all.

The Syracuse Media Group, which will oversee the new digital news service and the production of a newspaper, delivered to homes three days a week, says despite the changes, it will have a larger news gathering staff than it had before.

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