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RIP, the Daily Paper: As Headlines Document the Death of Print Media, How Will Quad Cities Newspapers Survive? - Page 5 PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Media
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 18 March 2009 06:00
Sidebar: A Stroke, Followed by a Debilitating Illness -- Newspapers in 2009

The Project for Excellence in Journalism's 2009 State of the News Media Report begins: "Newspaper ad revenues have fallen 23 percent in the last two years. Some papers are in bankruptcy, and others have lost three-quarters of their value. By our calculations, nearly one out of every five journalists working for newspapers in 2001 is now gone, and 2009 may be the worst year yet."

And the report is similarly succinct in defining the problems and challenges in the news media:

"Even before the recession, the fundamental question facing journalism was whether the news industry could win a race against the clock for survival: could it find new ways to underwrite the gathering of news online, while using the declining revenue of the old platforms to finance the transition?

"In the last year, two important things happened that have effectively shortened the time left on that clock.

"First, the hastening audience migration to the Web means the news industry has to reinvent itself sooner than it thought -- even if most of those people are going to traditional news destinations. At least in the short run, a bigger online audience has worsened things for legacy news sites, not helped them.

"Then came the collapsing economy. The numbers are only guesses, but executives estimate that the recession at least doubled the revenue losses in the news industry in 2008, perhaps more in network television. Even more important, it swamped most of the efforts at finding new sources of revenue. In trying to reinvent the business, 2008 may have been a lost year, and 2009 threatens to be the same."

"Imagine someone about to begin physical therapy following a stroke, suddenly contracting a debilitating secondary illness.

"Journalism, deluded by its profitability and fearful of technology, let others outside the industry steal chance after chance online. By 2008, the industry had finally begun to get serious. Now the global recession has made that harder."

What the report makes clear is that even though newspapers are not losing many readers, they are shifting from the print product to the online version -- a transition that doesn't translate into revenue:

"Circulation fell 4.6 percent daily and 4.8 percent Sunday to roughly 48 million for the latest period compared with a year earlier. That brings them down 13.5 percent daily and 17.3 percent Sunday since 2001.

"Traffic to newspaper websites is growing. Unduplicated Web audiences are now estimated to add 8.4 percent to the average newspaper's readership. That makes up most, but not all, of the print audience decline."

Comments (3)Add Comment
Public Relations Specialist
written by Mark A. McLaughlin, March 19, 2009
In a lot of ways, a recession is a self-fulfilling prophecy -- of doom! The newspapers report on the flagging economy, as they should, but then when people read about it, they become too scared to spend any money. So they don't subscribe to the newspaper any more, and if they're business owners, they don't take out ads. Pretty soon the newspaper is folding up shop. This situation is happening everywhere, as the article above attests.

All businesspeople are now at a stage where they need to work harder and smarter, because all the old rules aren't applying any more. New technology is changing the way people do business. The world's media is becoming increasingly more fragmented -- more and more competition, and it's all on the Internet. Social networks and online video websites are doing great! Maybe newspapers should figure out some way to partner with businesses like Facebook and YouTube. Is that possible? You tell me!

Every newspaper will just have to work harder to strengthen its Internet presence, and the Reader is doing so admirably. The Reader has always been very a resourceful business entity.

Newspaper sales reps will have to work harder to sell Internet advertising, and they will need to become more creative in offering and presenting value to the customer.

All companies that want to survive need to increase their marketing efforts and become more competitive. Many companies cut back their marketing during a recession -- but how is that going to increase business? A recession is a time to increase exposure, not minimalize it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go check my LinkedIn account! :-)
From the headline, you'd think they were going out of business tomorrow...
written by Mr. Know-It-All, March 19, 2009
Instead this is a pretty milquetoast article outlining two local businesses who have seen some challenges over the last couple of years due to industry changes and economic downturn. Ironic that it's published in a newspaper that cut its publishing frequency in half...
quad city times.
written by cathy, March 24, 2009
I urge everyone to cancel their subscriptions to the QC times? why? in my opinion, the treat their employess unfair and use unscrupulous tactics. I am boycotting them and telling everyone I speak to about this issue.

My daughter was working in the newsroom from almost a year and 1/2 after graduating with honors from St. Ambrose with a degree in journalism/communications.

The powers that be at that paper, new they were only going to be "using" her temporarily. She was the on-line news producer. She did her job with perfection and loved her job. Then, the shuffle came, she was told everyone is going to be learning eveyone else's job, so she was to begin training other people to learn to update the QC website. (she, however, was not trained on anything else). Once she had trained other's to learn her job...guess what??? that's right. She's got the ax. the old lay-off heave-ho. She was used. She's still searching for a job. I believe she will indeed find an even better job, because she has high work ethics and standards. But, the QC they have ethics and standards? no.

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