Newspaper struggles hit Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Newspaper struggles hit Iowa

DES MOINES (KWWL) -- Newspapers across the country are struggling, and Iowa's are no exception.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen Newspaper is laying off 11 workers. The Press-Citizen's parent company, Gannett Newspapers, is cutting staff at newspapers across the country. Those cuts at the Press-Citizen come a day after Iowa's largest newspaper, The Des Moines Register announced its eliminating 74 positions.

"Everybody realized it must be coming," said Kathleen Richardson, a journalism professor at Drake University.

When all the days news is at your fingertips, every click of the computer mouse can cut into newspaper's bottom line. Today, even the announcement of the layoffs at Iowa's largest newspaper was made online.

Des Moines register publisher Laura Hollingsworth says a worsening economy is forcing the paper to cut 74 positions. One of them high profile cartoonist Brian Duffy.

"It's certainly an end of an era. That is the front page editorial cartoon was the hallmark of the Register for years, for decades," said Richardson.

Richardson put in 20 years at the Register, first as a copy editor and then as a columnist. Now, she's the Director of Drake's Journalism School and hopes the students she teaches have a job in the future.

"I think there certainly is a future for the news industry for newspapers. There's gotta be, I hope. It's such an important part of our democracy and our communities," said Richardson.

What has to change is how papers make money. And Richardson says that could mean charging what's now free to read.

"I think it's certainly possible - maybe even inevitable, but it's going to be hard to break readers- online readers of the habit that everything online is free," Richardson said.

But some believe it's costing people their jobs. Today's layoffs at the Register bring the total to more than a hundred jobs.

And newspapers across the country, if they haven't made cuts yet, will likely be forced to do the same.

"It's very depressing for somebody who loves journalism," said Richardson.

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