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Comments on: Regular Reader Requests Responses Chronicling the Decline of Newspapers and the Rebirth of Journalism Mon, 09 Mar 2009 02:07:05 +0000 hourly 1 By: Martin Langeveld Mon, 09 Mar 2009 02:07:05 +0000 mossgard,
I wish you were right, but rather than existing newspaper firms morphing into the new formats, I think it’s more likely that new enterprises will emerge to gather and distribute journalistic content as replacements for newspapers. The simple reason is that most of companies publishing newspapers today are down to their bottom dollar in terms of being able to invest in new systems of news content creation and distribution; they have no credit options and no equity options they can tap, they are shrinking their pages, shrinking their staff and even deliberately shrinking their readership in order to be able to keep paying creditors who won’t lend them another nickel. With few exceptions they have no flexibility left to engage in the kind of reinvention it would take to emerge in new forms. Just as buggywhip manufacturers and passenger railroads failed to find new business models, so will printed newspapers go under without being able to find a path to transformation. I and others have been suggesting one possible way that could work if launched now, not later, which is to cut distribution to one day per week and go fully digital the rest of the time. Anyone launching such an enterprise today would have a pretty good chance of success against a “legacy” daily newspaper.

By: mossgard Sun, 08 Mar 2009 03:56:27 +0000 Relax…. newspapers aren’t doomed and journalism isn’t any more dead now than it was 20 years ago. Although I do see reporters, columnists, editors, copywriters and others nail biting and pencil chewing over the demise of worthy opponents as regularly as their once proud and daily papers hit the door steps of Americans from sea to shining, they nail bite and pencil chew only out of fear, ignorance and not thinking outside the box than actual reason.

Remember at the local grocery store when the bag lady asks “Paper or plastic?” Well, that same question has been asked and answered by the future customers of the newspaper game but the newspaper business was so busy worrying about its demise, it had no time to hear them explain how they would be saved.

Plastic. wtf? You heard right, plastic will save the newspaper business.

Sure, everyone knew cutting down millions of tress to make throw away paper was a bad idea but no one thought to mention it since no one knew what could be used as a substitute. Well, now they know plastic can be used.

Who wants to read a plastic newspaper you ask? Besides nobody, I mean?

Not plastic newspapers…. new, cheap, plastic readers. Soon we’ll have light weight, portable, energy efficient little notebook computers with enough wireless access, enough battery power and enough low cost to make them indispensable for subscribing to not only the local, daily newspaper but a host of magazines, fan rags, email crap and spam to keep readers busy for hours.

Throw away? Hardly…. each reader will be about the size of a notebook, not a computer notebook but one of those old timey school notebooks. It’ll hold enough subscriptions to keep you happy and when it’s memory reaches nearly full, delete or transfer old issues into your wrist, cell, lap or desktop computer for later use.

Newspapers are dying… they’re morphing…. modernizing… coming back from the ashes.


By: Newspaper Fan Sat, 07 Mar 2009 17:55:31 +0000 One other alarming trend I failed to mention. Most of us live in neighborhoods with lots of houses. Working at night, I’m not often up in the mornings. When I am, walking the dog, it dawned on me how few newspaper bags are in front of homes today. If you’re ever up that early walking around your neighborhood, check that out. We have a mix of older and younger couples on our street, and I’m telling you, nobody gets a newspaper, maybe two or three houses among 100 that I pass. Even the occasional free papers tossed by the metro city daily often sit in the street in front of most houses cluttering up the streets. At our paper, many people call yelling “stop dropping your paper in my yard.” They don’t even want it for free. So where are all the copies going on these bogus circulation numbers? I think we know.

By: Dave Barnes Sat, 07 Mar 2009 14:59:24 +0000 Dave Barnes is not in the newspaper business at all.
I am merely a consumer who subscribes to one metro daily, the Denver Post.

By: paulgillin Sat, 07 Mar 2009 12:37:22 +0000 Great comments and a general consensus, I’d say. Whether the timeframe is two years or 10, just about everyone agrees that this is an end game for major metro dailies. Some papers may continue to have a print presence, but almost certainly not in a daily form. Community weeklies may be with us for a long time, but that really depends on the community. A few big titles will survive and perhaps prosper if they have national and international reach.

I’m particularly optimistic about the opinions expressed by Martin and msbpodcast about opportunities for young journalists. I agree there are going to be good career options for energetic, ambitious and opportunistic people who are willing to put in the effort to build their personal brands. In the future, journalists will be known more for their work than for the publications they work for. That’s got to be good, right? Support educators like Hanson Hosein, who are preparing their students for their new reality and keeping them jazzed about the future.

Once this industry stops trying to save newspapers and focuses on reinventing journalism, this whole discussion will turn more positive. Nice to see thought leaders like Gina, Martin and Edward looking toward the future. Thanks to everyone.

By: Edward Padgett Sat, 07 Mar 2009 06:18:58 +0000 Newspaper Fan,

Hate to admit it, but I agree with you on the demise of the paper newspaper, the electronic versions of newspapers will continue to evolve and generate revenue with time.

Dave Barnes must be a publisher of a newspaper as he has hit the nail on the head. Newspapers are seeking out readers that are Internet savvy, because they are the target group that will buy the merchandise advertised online.

I’m guilty of not reading newspapers myself, even though I continue to subscribe to the Los Angeles Times, The San Gabriel Valley Tribune, and LA Weekly, 70 percent of my newspapers are recycled.

One year ago if you asked me how long a paper newspaper would be around I would have answered fifteen to twenty years. Today my estimate has changed to maybe two years, which I’m hoping is completely incorrect.

Here at the Los Angeles Times the only expansion is to the online edition, with the hard copy of the newspaper slowing disappearing as we drop section after section. Is it any wonder circulation at the Times will fall below 700,000 within the next few weeks for the daily edition?

Thank you Paul and Newspaper Fan, very interesting topic for this 36-year pressman.

By: Newspaper Fan Sat, 07 Mar 2009 06:02:34 +0000 They also don’t have money for a newspaper subscription.

By: Dave Barnes Sat, 07 Mar 2009 03:58:12 +0000 @CollegeSteve
“not every urban resident has Internet access”
You are correct.
But, every urban resident WITH MONEY has internet access.
Those who don’t have access don’t have any money to spend with the advertisers so they don’t count.

By: Stan Spire Fri, 06 Mar 2009 20:52:01 +0000 In my previous post, that should have read: “Proofreading _your_ own writing isn’t that easy.” Of course, that proves my point: copyeditors are important. Also, it shows that I’m a lousy speller.

By: Newspaper Fan Fri, 06 Mar 2009 20:49:11 +0000 Stan: I did that on purpose to see who would catch the error!

Actually, I corrected the error seconds after the original post in the other thread that led to Paul starting this one.