Prior to news of sale, Portland newspaper announces cutbacks

This editorial appeared in the Portland Press Herald on March 16, the day before the Seattle Times Company announced plans to put its three Maine newspapers up for sale. -rtm

by JEANNINE GUTTMAN, Editor, Portland Press Herald

If you're reading this column, you're probably a loyal reader of this newspaper. And when I write this column, I imagine that I'm speaking to you.

You are a member of that coveted group we call our "core readers." Demographically, you tend to be 44 years of age or older; you own your home; you are married or in a two-adult household; you have a college education; you have a higher income level than the Maine market average.

Many of you work in professional or technical careers, are self-employed or retired. Many of you are empty-nesters. You tend to be older Gen-Xers, boomers or the parents of boomers. You represent a huge cohort of people with sizable amounts of disposable income. And you love to read newspapers.

But let's go back to the age data again. Our core audience is solidly middle-aged or older. What about the younger folks?

Generally speaking, they're getting their news from Web sites and cell phones and the electronic media. While newspapers have launched scores of initiatives to try to draw younger readers to the printed page, that battle has pretty much been lost to generational and technological forces.

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey