Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Bring out yer dead ...

More doom and gloom about the newspaper industry. The Economist ran this line back in August 2006 with a cover story titled Who Killed The Newspaper? That one got up a lot of noses in the industry, and now they're at it again:
"... although all newspapers are being buffeted by the internet, their ability to respond will probably depend on whether their audiences are national, metropolitan or local. The first category can afford to invest in distinctive international or business coverage, while the last can prosper by becoming 'more intensely local'."
Which means, of course, those metro papers in the middle are probably stuffed.

The other publication taking aim at newspapers recently has been The New Yorker.
"Until recently, newspapers were accustomed to operating as high-margin monopolies. To own the dominant, or only, newspaper in a mid-sized American city was, for many decades, a kind of license to print money. In the Internet age, however, no one has figured out how to rescue the newspaper in the United States or abroad. Newspapers have created Web sites that benefit from the growth of online advertising, but the sums are not nearly enough to replace the loss in revenue from circulation and print ads."
So, is there an alternative view? The Guardian thinks so. Or rather, according to a recent report "newspaper editors around the world remain overwhelmingly optimistic". Which of course, is not quite the same thing.
"In one of the largest surveys of the worldwide news industry, 85% of editors said they were optimistic about their newspaper's future. At the same time, a rising number predict that print and online news will both be free in the future."
Bit of a disconnect there, but what can you expect? Editors sullying themselves with commercial imperatives? Not likely.
"George Brock, president of the forum and Saturday editor at the Times, sought to explain the disparity between the results and falling circulation and squeezed advertising revenues. 'This is a survey of editorial opinion," he said. "Most pessimism is a survey of commercial opinion.'"
Commercial opinion?

Well, there you have it.

It just depends who you ask, really.

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