Emailed Nancy Nall this on her comments on her blog:
Very interesting piece on the newspaper bidness...You obviously know more about it than I'll ever know, but given how increasingly polarized the country is (red vs blue states) doesn't it mean that in order for a paper to have any "color" or interest, it needs to reflect either "red" thinking or "blue" thinking, thus alienating half the reading populace?
Perhaps the model here is the Washington Post and Washington Times, which both have their respective readerships and both have "color". Unfortunately most cities can't support two papers, so we are left with one drab, colorless one, which, in some ways, is worse than having a paper of the wrong ideological ilk.
Now you might say, rightly, people need to be open to other points of view. But is it right for a left-leaning person to support a newspaper (by subscribing to it) that continually espouses and promulgates issues like conceal and carry laws, corporate welfare, the death penalty and pro-war stances? Similarly for a right-leaning person & abortion.
Successful papers seem to come out of, and reflect, the community, but communities now are so multi-cultural with so many competing values that an urban newspaper is left holding the bag. Maybe this is part of the popularity of blogs, which reflect a "community" so well (i.e. Amy on Catholicism). You can say it is the 'echo chamber' effect, people love to hear their own opinions spewed back at them, but I think it's more subtle than that. I may not always agree with Amy, but I know where she's coming from and that makes all the difference.