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Shifts in the Media Landscape: Newspapers and Magazines Fold, National Public Radio and 'Ethnic Media' Thrive

Storm The media landscape has continued to shift drastically in recent weeks, which will continue to have an effect on media coverage of world music, and all music for that matter. While much is being said about consolidation, also of note are innovations emerging in these unprecedented times. The Jay Leno Show is inventing a new model of the not-so-late show format. NPR had two reports on the success of some "ethnic media" (isn't all media ethnic?) as other media is challenged by these economic times. Many newspapers and magazines are going online only, being threatened by bankrupcy, or folding. Music magazines including Global Rhythm, Blender, and No Depression have shuttered their doors (not to mention Tracks, if you can think that far back), while Denver's Rocky Mountain News has closed, Ann Arbor News and the Christian Science Monitor have gone online only, and a dozen other newspapers are cutting back on staff, seeing some music critic veterans (from the L.A. Times to the S.F Chronicle) leaving long-held posts. Of course, most of them still have blogs, e-newsletters, and freelance outlets.

Npr World music professionals should be happy though to hear that National Public Radio continues to thrive, since NPR programs have long been supportive of global music in its many forms. In this article, business magazine Fast Company writes:

"NPR's listenership has nearly doubled since 1999, even as newspaper circulation dropped off a cliff. Its programming now reaches 26.4 million listeners weekly -- far more than USA Today's 2.3 million daily circ or Fox News' 2.8 million prime-time audience. When newspapers were closing bureaus, NPR was opening them, and now runs 38 around the world, better than CNN. It has 860 member stations -- 'boots on the ground in every town' that no newspaper or TV network can claim. It has moved boldly into new media as well: 14 million monthly podcast downloads, 8 million Web visitors, NPR Mobile, an open platform, a social network, even crowdsourcing. And although the nonprofit has been hit by the downturn like everyone else, its multiple revenue streams look far healthier long term than the ad-driven model of commercial media."

Go NPR! And, while we're at it, go PRI too! Especially The World, which has the only daily national radio global music feature.  is the brainchild of Dmitri Vietze and is sponsored by rock paper scissors, inc., global music publicity firm.