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Media change

Posted: August 6, 2013 2:17 p.m.
Updated: August 7, 2013 5:00 a.m.

In a rapidly changing world, perhaps nothing has been altered more radically in the last decade than the way people in Kershaw County and across the country receive their information. A generation ago, many families here subscribed to two or three different newspapers -- a local one, a morning “national and world” newspaper and an afternoon one to update them. They tuned in to one of three network television stations that would deliver clear reception if the antenna was pointed in the right direction and the weather was clear.

Today, blockbuster media announcements continue to indicate just how fast the world is changing. Last week, The New York Time sold The Boston Globe for $70 million, a substantial sum but down 94 percent from the $1.1 billion it had paid for the New England paper back in 1993. Then Monday came news that The Washington Post, the newspaper that brought down President Nixon and stood as the journal of record for American governmental coverage, was sold to Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. The Graham family, owners for decades, virtually threw in the towel, demonstrating just how tough the situation is for metro papers.

Meanwhile, CBS is locked in a struggle with cable giant Time Warner; it’s an old-fashioned price issue. The network, which once relied on advertising revenue in a limited TV world, now faces a fragmented audience which can choose among hundreds of channels, and CBS needs more money for “delivery” -- in short, allowing people to watch its programming on cable and satellite companies.

Indeed, we have even moved from the personal computer age to the personal device era, all in the span of a few short years. People have always marveled at how transitions take place, but in the information business, things have never changed more rapidly.

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