Newspapers Are Souvenirs

from the not-the-most-valuable-of-markets dept

Following last week’s historic election of Barack Obama, there was a rush to buy up paper newspapers announcing the news, with the idea being that those newspapers would be quite valuable. In fact, some newspapers were quickly being resold on eBay for up to $400 — and many buyers plan to preserve the papers, hoping they’ll be worth even more in the future. Of course, it sounds as though many newspaper publishers got exactly the wrong lesson from this. Some publishers celebrated the rush to buy newspapers as evidence that newspapers were still relevant and that in “big events” people still turned to print papers. Except, that’s not true. Publishers who believe that are deluding themselves. People got the actual news from the internet and TV. The newspapers just represent a souvenir of the event — not the place to turn to for news about it. Newspapers are never going to figure out how to survive if they take the wrong lessons out of this. People bought newspapers because they could be saved (and resold) — not because they were suddenly relevant.

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Comments on “Newspapers Are Souvenirs”

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dave says:

Re: Newspapers: future value and libraries

I still have my “Nixon Resigns” Chicago Tribune. Despite my efforts, it is in bad shape. Newsprint does not hold up well; it is intended as a temporary medium, I think, and so is high-acid paper. It yellows rapidly and becomes brittle. It may be for this reason that libraries in my area do not keep the papers more than a few weeks; they get microfiche or microfilm. I would guess that that is prdeominantly the case.

Twinrova says:

Yet, on the flip side of this story...

… some newspaper companies are now cashing in on the souvenir craze by offering perfect prints directly from their presses.

So it should be no shock these “perfect prints” retail for over 1000% of the normal price.

Tell me again how this isn’t defined as greed. I would easily see a $9.99 price tag as deemed “demand in supply”, but $29.99 for a damn newspaper?

Here’s hoping the Dow crashes and burns.

Sean says:

Re: You are part right

You are right when you say, “after a few years and countless bumbling, the public’s sour mood will swing back the other way.”

Yea, after 8 years of this joke, the public headed the other way. He isn’t a socialist you fool, that’s just a word the McCain campaign planted for idiots to adhere to.

McCain’s acceptance speech was fantastic, but I felt bad for the poor man – his voters/followers were just screaming, yelling and booing everything about the other party and you could see in his face how disappointed he was in them – as he should be – total idiots.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: historic my butt!

If you’re so good at seeing the future, why didn’t you see that McCain wasn’t going to win?

And really, unless you plan to repeatedly prove that you’re a simple-minded dolt, swayed by the flimsiest of propaganda, you should really get over the “socialist” BS. If it were socialism, the country would take your puny business and give it to your employees, and then pay you and them exactly the same amount.

Obviously, you have a computer — go look up socialism. Learn something. It doesn’t hurt.

Anonymous Coward says:

I work for Circulation in a small mid-west newspaper. Today we are actually running a promo, get a free Obama Poster with the 5th of Nov. edition of the newspaper for .50 cents. As of now, I’ve sold 160 dollars worth of papers. I’m sure by then end of the day I’ll sell over 400 dollars worth. Got to love historic events, nothing drives up circulation better.

Killercool (profile) says:

A (hilariously) relevant anecdote

I saw on the (local) news that one local newspaper correctly predicted and actively resisted just this trend. The owner of this small town’s paper intentionally didn’t print the winner of the presidential race. From what I remember of the report, there was a group of protesters outside of his building, demonstrating because they “wanted to be able to have a keepsake.” He (hilariously) responded that he runs a NEWSpaper, not a scrapbook company. He also mentioned what may be the saving grace of his paper: for big events (like the presidential election) people go to sources that are capable of a faster response, i.e. the internet and TV. His paper focuses on local news, which directly impacts his market, and probably isn’t otherwise reported on.

Michael J (profile) says:

Political News ain't everything

The thing is that “souvenirs” and “mementos” are important in people’s lives. While some believe that “political” news, which is usually just about the horse race, is the “important” stuff, there are millions of people who might disagree. About 40% didn’t think it was worth voting.

Physical newspapers are a much better tool for thinking and learning than the web. The screen after all is much more like reading a hyperlinked 12″scroll. Nice for consuming data and “information” quickly. A little like fast food.

Print is to information what slow food is to a good meal.

Consider the explosive growth of self published books and the success of photo sites, customized gifts with photos. Not very exciting, to the big wigs, but very important to the people who create them.

Sound bites and quick hits – great for the web. Mulling and getting context? Print and a pencil.

another mike says:

dewey defeats truman

I actually kept campus papers from major events as souvenirs. When the football team steamrolled our arch-nemesis for 57-3 and set the record for 56 000 spectators in the stadium, when the basketball team went to the finals (every issue from the 64 through to the NCAA championship), the special evening edition on Sept. 11, 2001, the tornado that tore up campus, the day a dusty mechanical room blew up and shot a worker clear out into the street (ah, good times).

As a counterpoint to keeping it in print, here’s an anecdote in favor of putting it online. One of the local papers here uploaded their entire archive, dating back to their first day pouring ink as the little mining camp printing press over 100 years ago. One of my coworkers, doing a vanity googling, found out that the great-great-granduncle the family never mentions was a convicted hog thief.

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