Diane McFarlin Comments on the Future of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Diane McFarlin, dean of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications (UFCJC), is quoted in “With Layoffs and Fewer Readers, What’s the Future of Our Hometown Newspaper?” published in Sarasota (Fla.) Magazine on Aug. 5.
McFarlin, former longtime publisher of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, comments on how the newspaper and the staff are adapting in the changing media landscape.
McFarlin agreed that the loss of many print editions throughout the country is leaving a barren landscape, where local coverage or local papers no longer exist.
“These news deserts come at a very real cost,” she said. “Here’s a specific example: A recent study showed that in cities that no longer have a daily newspaper, municipal bond rates are higher because institutional investors have determined that the community no longer has the same watchdogs looking out for public corruption.”
McFarlin said she is hopeful that disinformation and other forces that threaten our democracy may help save newspapers.
“If you ask me what will be the leading source for news coverage in Sarasota in a decade, I’m going to put my money on the Herald-Tribune,” she said. “It will never be as large and ubiquitous as it was 10 years ago. But because it excels at journalism, because it understands how to produce and distribute content, it will have a leg up. That heritage is not something that just disappears.”