Newspaper Watch: The Fall of Papers and Rise of Yelp (Gulp!)

March 11 2009, 11:36 AM
It's no secret that bloggers rely heavily on newspapers and, as such, mourn the loss of the hard-fought reportage of the Rocky Mountain News, which closed last month. Perhaps readers were just more interested in Yelp than the news. But not so fast. Yelp, a website that provides restaurant reviews and such from ordinary citizens rather than professional critics, is facing allegations that it manipulates its content to keep advertisers and sponsors happy, claims first heard in San Francisco that have now reached the Windy City, writes The Chicago Tribune. That's not to say negative reviews go unnoticed. The New York Times visited a pizzeria in San Francisco that decided to go with Yelp's flow, making T-shirts that quote the bad reviews: "The pizza was soooo greasy. I am assuming this was in part due to the pig fat." As for newspapers, the now-defunct Rocky isn't an exceptional case. It's expected that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer will be the next giant paper to be shuttered, as many sources, including The Stranger, have reported. And the P-I, as locals there call it, didn't even make the top 10 list of major newspapers that will fold or go digital this year, according to 24/7 Wall St. You can't just blame the Internet for the demise of newspapers, writes The Austin Chronicle. There are other trends, including the "wussification" of newsrooms. And if you ask Westword's Michael Roberts if he'll keep buying papers, you won't hear him complaining.