Newspapers: Not Looking Very Dead Yet

from the might-just-go-for-walk dept

For all the talk about the death of newspapers, it’s been pointed out more than a few times that most newspapers remain wildly profitable. It’s more a fear of the future and jittery investors that are causing the latest newspaper industry shakeup. Adam Thierer has some more support for this in a couple of recent studies that suggest the old paper newspaper is anything but dead. One highlights the rapid growth of free dailies over the last few years in major metropolitan areas, while the other points out that people still look to their newspapers for local information. Both of these suggest ways that local newspapers can respond to the “threat” of the internet, if they choose to follow through.

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Comments on “Newspapers: Not Looking Very Dead Yet”

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Jimmy Bear Pearson (user link) says:

The newspaper conundrum...

The usefulness and ubiquity of newspapers in the ever-changing cyber-enabled world is most definitely difficult to predict.

On the one hand, the news I read at lunch (on the internet) or the news I hear over my shoulder while I?m working in the evening is right now news. The newspaper?s info is, at very best, hours old, often a day old. So, from this perspective, newspapers are at a disadvantage.

On the other hand, newspapers offer things that cannot (currently) be derived from online/on-air news and information. It?s far easier to ignore adverts in a newspaper than on CNN?s front page. In addition, newspapers don?t have goofy, topical Flash-based ads that blink and ?challenge you to whack the president with a mallet to win a free?? Human beings still derive a certain sense of pleasure from holding paper words in their hands, like books and newspapers, and little puzzle booklets. A great many millions of people appreciate the feel, look, and smell of holding a fresh newspaper in their paws every day or so.

Brian A. (user link) says:


..people still look to their newspapers for local information.

More importantly, advertisers still look for local market exposure. I couldn’t count the number of ads in my paper for car dealerships, furniture outlets and local franchises.

It’s also true that you buy the paper you automatically bring all of those ads into your home, regardless of whether you read that section of the paper or not. It’s still worthwhile for advertisers to buy a full page ad in the hopes that it will catch your eye.

Daniel Barbalace says:

It's a generational thing.

I’ve said this back in 1995 when I worked for Dow Jones (the publisher of the New York Times). Paper newspapers will be dead in 100 years. An old timer at Dow Jones said that people will always want the feel of paper. I said, people from your generation and half the people from my generation, will always want that. People in general won’t.

I stated that a large portion of Generation X already prefers to read news on a laptop (now tablet) computer where we can change font sizes and customize what articles we get.

Paper newspapers will continue to be bought by Generation X and their parents/grandparents until these three generations have passed away.

I don’t think that today’s teenagers, Generation Pepsi?, will prefer paper newspapers over electronic ones. I don’t they will miss the feel of paper and smugy ink. When Generation Pepsi is 80 years old, I think there will be few paper newspapers around. The companies behind today’s paper newspapers will all have gone electronic. I think even local papers will be electronic because it is much cheaper and easier to run an electonic newspaper than a paper one.

Finally, I don’t think this is a bad thing. I think it’s the content, not the medium, that makes a good newsource.

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