During the 5 a.m. hour of this morning's 9News info block, anchor Gary Shapiro chatted with guest co-host Cheryl Preheim (pictured) about special-edition newspapers focusing on today's inauguration of Barack Obama. As she held up a copy of USA Today (a publication owned by Gannett, which is also Channel 9's parent company), Preheim suggested that these keepsakes were to be especially prized, since, as Shapiro had noted earlier, some newspapers "might not be around much longer." The implication: The issue would serve as a souvenir of a great historic event even as it commemorated the rapidly fading print newspaper format.
It's only natural that the thinking of Preheim and Shapiro would follow such a course. Even as the drama concerning the potential sale of the Rocky Mountain News continues to build, Gannett is grappling with the same financial challenges that face the journalism industry as a whole. Last week, the company announced that thousands of Gannett employees would be required to take a week off without pay -- and while most articles on the subject have focused on the firm's newspaper properties, staffers at TV stations like 9News will be affected, too. It's a radical move on Gannett's part, but one that shouldn't surprise any close observers of the media biz's current struggles.