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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  • identicon
    some old guy, 11 Nov 2008 @ 5:02pm

    I doubt they believed it

    They were just trying to assure their investors of their relevance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Paul, 11 Nov 2008 @ 5:06pm

    True story

    So, Mike, what you're trying to say is that, Obama causes destruction of forests?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      GeneralEmergency (profile), 11 Nov 2008 @ 5:23pm

      Re: True story

      No...Silly human sentimentality and a little greed here and there ate those trees.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D'Oliveiro, 12 Nov 2008 @ 4:44pm

      Re: True story

      Paul wrote:

      ...Obama causes destruction of forests?

      Not forests—tree farms. Paper is made from pulping softwood trees that are specifically grown to be cut down. No forests are harmed at all.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Nov 2008 @ 5:39pm

    Will the thousands of newspapers be worth anything in a few decades ? What about a century ?

    I think libraries keep copies ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      dave, 12 Nov 2008 @ 5:27am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Nov 2008 @ 6:25pm

    I guess I don't count, reading the news in print every day...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    LMR, 11 Nov 2008 @ 6:44pm

    I read the newspaper every day (OMG, I actually have a subscription!) as well as online news sources. I can't imagine restricting myself to just one resource when it comes to staying current and yes, I saved my paper the day after the election. For myself, my children and my grandchildren....not to resell on ebay.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    crystalattice (profile), 11 Nov 2008 @ 8:29pm

    How can a paper be worth that much?

    Maybe I can see it many years from now but how can a paper be worth $400 right now?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pat, 11 Nov 2008 @ 9:22pm

    To be fair, I'd rather be cutting down trees (if we're not complete dipshits, they'll grow back) than raping the ground of precious metals and silicon. Those don't grow back.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Twinrova, 12 Nov 2008 @ 3:46am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bruce P. Van Cleve, 12 Nov 2008 @ 4:31am

    historic my butt!

    The only thing historic about B.O. is that we elected our fist openly socialist candidate who has vowed to punish small business and other achievers. After a few years and countless bumbling, the public's sour mood will swing back the other way and realize that small businesses like this create jobs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Sean, 12 Nov 2008 @ 6:53am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Nov 2008 @ 8:37am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Balthazar, 12 Nov 2008 @ 8:39am

      Re: historic my butt!

      The only thing historic about B.O. is that we elected our fist openly socialist candidate who has vowed to punish small business and other achievers.

      He has done nothing of the sort. What fantasy world do you live in?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Nov 2008 @ 8:12am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Killercool (profile), 12 Nov 2008 @ 9:07am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael J, 12 Nov 2008 @ 12:23pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    another mike, 12 Nov 2008 @ 3:33pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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