The chain attached to nothing but concrete is a reminder of a day when there was a state-wide print version of the newspaper. The Oklahoman simply cannot make that claim any more.
The Oklahoman started making drastic cuts in 2008. This impacted their print product, personnel, and penetration area. The paper also started its ventures into understanding the online dynamic, which up to that point had only been a pedestrian attempt to squeeze a print model into ones and zeros.
Back to the question of trend. The Wall Street Journal was the only paper of note in the last year to post any growth. All others continue with the downward trend. The Oklahoman saw the last of its growth in 2007.
Everything from IPads to IPods, e-zines and blogs, to the emergence of local expert and content rich Examiner.com is cutting into circulation at all papers. The Oklahoman continues to be plagued with circulation issues many of which result in customer’s papers not being delivered. Expecting either explanation or initiative on the part of OPUBCO usually gives way to simply stopping for bad service.
What does this mean for western Oklahoma?
For one thing, the incentive to move towards online news, coupons, advice, and other products and services that newspapers once offered with some monopoly is alive and working in rural parts of the state.
For another, this is a time to experiment in both the print and online worlds. The reduced news stand availability and unreliable home delivery system may entice some to simply abandon the print version of the newspaper altogether.
For others, they will hold on to the print version for as long as it is offered. There is still something to getting a little newsprint on your fingers as your greet the day.
The one saving grace of the print version may have now gone by the wayside with the advent of the IPad and its emerging competitors. Now you can take the electronic paper to the can with you.
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