OK, the headline is hyperbole. But I think one of the things people will miss most if newspapers slip into oblivion in the next decade or so is the coverage of local and professional sports.
In addition to local breaking news, the Flint Journal has always excelled (in my humble opinion) in covering high school, college and professional sports. As a former part-time sports writer at the Lansing State Journal during my college career, I can tell you that high school sports nights are a high energy production at any daily newspaper.
During the high school football season, all's quiet until about 9:30 - 9:45 p.m. and that's when the calls start trickling in as games end. The trickle turns to a flood and any young reporter can learn a lot about deadline reporting and speed when you only have three to five minutes to summarize a whole game.
Oh, and it better be right because a couple thousand people who witnessed the event will read your account in the morning paper and let you know if you got it wrong. Not to mention trying to get stats out of a losing coach who would rather be having a root canal than talking to you.
So what will happen to that kind of coverage as newspapers shrink or, heaven forbid, disappear altogether. Like breaking news and court coverage, I think a lot of folks will miss it a lot.
Guys like Len Hoyes, Dean Howe, Doug Mintline, etc. were household names in the community and their loss was already being felt when the current downturn came. News reporters might consider the sports department the toy department, but a lot of people, more than many news reporters like me ever dared to admit, buy the paper primarily for sports.
Tom Kowalski, a former colleague from the Oakland Press, has spent nearly all of his career covering the Detroit Lions (he ought to get extra pay just for that) but he knows that team as well as anyone, including the folks at the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News. He's also a pretty nice guy.
So for the folks who are bailing on buying or subscribing to the newspaper, just try and think of where you will get the Saturday morning coverage of your Friday night football games.
Mark Cuban has weighed in on this issue as well: (Borrowed :) this from the Fading to Black site: