Are Newspapers Dead Yet?

Friday, July 16, 2010


Despite all the doomsaying about the fate of the newspaper over the last couple of years, they appear to be soldiering on, and some are even turning a profit. Brooke looks at the current state of the daily and does a little prognosticating on their continued viability in the marketplace.

Comments [10]


I know I"m a bit late to this episode but I thought I'd put my two cents in any way.

In this episode there was one major thing lacking: a discussion of why people aren't reading newspapers. It seems to me that rather than spending all this time on trying to figure out how to get more money out of the people who ARE reading newspapers there should be some discussion about why so many people don't read the material that is already in the newspapers.
The readership of newspapers is aging. There was a Pew study that said the only group with a majority of people who said they would miss a local paper if it went away were people over the age of 60.
So newspapers need to either embrace this niche audience or figure out what doesn't appeal to a broad audience and dump it and begin writing and presenting information in a way that does appeal to that larger audience.

Aug. 09 2010 01:20 PM
Mike White from Westland, MI

Was this a repeat? I feel like I've heard all of these bits, opinions before in years past. While the "death of the book" episode from a few weeks ago was still pretty relevant, this "death of the newspaper" feels like an obituary page you've been reading on the air over and over again.

Jul. 21 2010 10:24 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Did I not just write about a non-traditional winner of a Pulitzer?

Now a word for fiction, whether drama or comedy, as a potent form of journalism. For example, last night on Charlie Rose, Sean Penn said he would eventually write and make a film about his rescue work in Haiti and I would not be surprised if he takes some "artistic license" rather than make a documentary. Some times a comedian or comedy troupe come up with a truth that is illuminated by the wording or acting. All are a form of journalism, if not specifically reporting. All of this can now be incorporated these new technologies but how to pay for it.

As for newspapers, with the collapse of the advertising model, some versions of subscription or begging such as NPR uses or a public interested sponsor such as C-SPAN or Public Access TV uses are all I can see ahead of us.

Jul. 20 2010 09:47 PM
Karl Hanson from Glenview, IL

I confess that I am not much of a newspaper reader, but I do enjoy listening to journalists and newspaper publishers talk "On the Media". Recently I confisgated my wife's Sony E-Reader and have been trying an experiment: Reading the newpaper on an e-reader.

Conclusion: I like reading newspapers on the E-Reader! Is there hope yet for newspapers? Lately I've been observing that there appears to be an increase in the number of other commuters using similar devices on Chicago's Metra. E-Readers/Kindles/Nooks are popping up everywhere.

These devices are handy. None of the difficulty of folding an unweildly clumsy paper. No paper waste. No advertisements. None of the glare of a computer screen. They tend to force poeple to read the stories in a linear and organized fashion. You can save or delete old papers.

My recommendation to the newspaper community: Promote the habit of reading newspapers on E-Readers. I think this may become a trend that many people will prefer. It just may be another way that newspapers can get back into the game using a cutting edge technology.

Jul. 19 2010 09:38 AM
Garrett Goodman

How about giving the people a say? Not to replace traditional reporting, but to complement it. I'm talking about publications really letting their readers have a chance to participate, giving them a space where they can share news-related contributions with editors AND each other to make the whole experience social and community oriented. Then the top quality content can be pulled by editors and published after some professional scrubbing.

Sounds great right? Publications get more diverse content, readers get more loyal and engaged, they share their accomplishments with their whole social graph, and boom, the power of social networks feeds tons more contributors into the community, growing the audience and helping with that ever-important bottom line...

That's what our mission is at Citizenside at any rate.

Jul. 19 2010 04:02 AM
Cathy Sigmon from Tempe, AZ

I would love to see a new business model emerge that offers newspaper, magazine, blog, and other content for download a la iTunes. I subscribe to myriad magazines and--yes--the daily print New York Times, but I would love to drop that Atlantic or New Yorker article into a folder on my iPad (which I don't have, since I can't do this) to read at some future date. I would be glad to pay for individual articles a la carte rather than lugging a stack of old magazines on my beach vacation or business trip--or just to read in bed. Accessing the Internet to search for content--or running into some future pay wall--is a bummer. Is such a model in development somewhere? Steve Jobs, are you listening?

Jul. 18 2010 10:57 PM
Jill Hokanson from Austin, TX

Great collection of interviews. Yochai Benkler’s analysis of how social networks is very different from his colleague Ethan Zuckerman: What if getting news from our social networks is actually making us less informed?

Jul. 18 2010 11:05 AM
Larry Everling from Potomac, MD

The common mistake that the large newspaper and magazine organizations have made, is that they placed print veterans in the leadership roles for determining digital ad revenue strategies. Which means that the top priority hasn't been to grow online classified or display ad revenue independently. Instead the focus has always been to NOT cannibalize the mother-ship when it comes to online advertising. "Combined Audience" is code for "online is the value add", the crutches needed to support the plummeting print ad value.

Jul. 17 2010 05:22 PM
Bill Barnhart from Chicago, Illinois

Your July 17 program was one of the best "On the Media" segments ever. My brain hurt when it was over, but you moved well beyond the normal conflict of useless sentimentalism and mindless consultant-speak to give genuine ideas about the future of journalism. Thanks.

Jul. 17 2010 05:06 PM
Sunil Somalwar from Rutgers University / Highland Park, NJ 08904

A likely model for the future of American newspaper business may have already emerged in India. A few nationwide chains such as the Times of India and the Indian Express (with historic roots in northern and southern India, respectively) now dominate the national market with numerous major-metro editions. The local edition model allows adequate local and regional coverage, which makes them different from the Gannett model. Contrast that to the NYT or WSJ which outdo each other in ignoring the huge NY metro market outside NYC that is right in their backyards.

If there is such a consolidation, it will be much easier for the papers to fend off the aggregators and recoup online advertisement as well as readership revenues.

Jul. 17 2010 08:04 AM

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