As Media General considers reducing its print assets, the Managing Board offers a defense of this most traditional form of journalism
Media General is a media conglomerate whose holdings and debts have piled up for years. The company owns newspapers including The Richmond Times-Dispatch and The Daily Progress and prints and delivers The Cavalier Daily. Media General announced Wednesday an interest in selling some of its journalistic holdings, specifically its “print assets.” The Cavalier Daily is not financially anchored in Media General and so we wouldn’t need a line thrown to us should this Titanic of a company keep leaking, or sink.
There are, it turns out, some benefits to being a student newspaper. The Cavalier Daily is in part immune from the fiscal woes of other newspapers because of what can be called a natural monopoly: We can efficiently offer coverage in a market with few competitors.
This natural monopoly is foremost the driving principle of our content. Those stories, events or perspectives which ought to be given an attention they otherwise wouldn’t receive at the University are the niche found and preserved by our newspaper.
The question will be raised whether such an arrangement is tenable. After all, a newspaper couched between local media and the atomic diversity of individual blogs might fall through the cushions. There are ways to argue against this perspective by pointing to the larger resources and context a newspaper can provide. But this is an unsatisfactory defense, one which is only theoretical.
No, where The Cavalier Daily makes its way is in precisely that enterprise which Media General could be forced to step back from: print journalism. For our purported natural monopoly is also a monopoly of geography. Our print newspaper can get to actual, physical locations which our readers will frequent on Grounds. Only by keeping our foot firmly, daily in a print product can we hold off the local and national press, on the one hand, and be an Atlas of the digital sphere on the other.
The irony is not lost on us that we are arguing for the advantages of a print newspaper our first day of cutting it. And we know what is sold as a short-term, cost-cutting measure banks on forgotten promises to become permanent. But, however you envision the role of a newspaper there is one function of the press which enables its to be a representative or watchdog: self-preservation. We must make these cuts not only for our sake and yours, but for future generations who deserve an inheritance.
But we are coming back for you, Friday. Until then, be on the lookout for added print distribution points which are being serviced by our new courier, Media General.