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Newspapers are dying: Perception or reality?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by dog428, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. dog428

    dog428 Active Member

    Started to post this on the Gannett profits thread below, but figured it would get buried quickly.

    Anyway, in light of the profit numbers revealed on that thread and some profit figures from other media companies, can we truly say newspapers are dying? Or have we been fed lines of corporate bullshit about "downturns" and "rough times for the industry" for so long now that we've actually started to believe it?

    I mean, let's be honest, you take the cash flow numbers at some of Gannett's worst performers and give them to the average independent businessman and that guy would be ecstatic. Give him some of the top performers and we're finding envelopes of cash in office mailboxes.

    I realize that the numbers now likely aren't high as they were a few years ago. And yes, there have been some cuts made to keep the figures where they are. But let's be real, there's a difference between "the industry is dying" and "we've hit a rough patch."

    Despite an incredible lack of foresight when it came to the Internet, and despite incredibly inept management, and despite a level of corporate greed and waste that would make the financial industry blush, newspapers are still turning a substantial profit in most markets.

    Shouldn't that tell us the exact opposite of what we've been hearing?
  2. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    newspapers have been losing circ. and advertising for years. do you see the trend turning?
  3. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    While the margins at papers are impressive, they are also losing about 10 percent a year in revenue. They're dying like everyone is dying, but its more like MS or some other chronic eventually fatal disease.
  4. NoOneYouKnow

    NoOneYouKnow Member

    My two cents is that the industry is evolving -- be it very slowly.

    With that said, I do believe that in the next two years we'll see a few once highly-regarded papers fold or move completely to the Internet (in hopes of survival).
  5. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    There is no reason whatsoever to think it's ever going to get better.

    There's a reason why so many have been jumping ship from good jobs to even start websites on their own.
  6. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    Dying? Not completely.

    Evolving? Definitely.
  7. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Evolving into oblivion.
  8. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    Self-fulfilling prophecy.
  9. Simon_Cowbell

    Simon_Cowbell Active Member

    The question is whether the industry was simply a leading indicator of this economic crash, or the industry has independently gone in the tank.
  10. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I don't think the newspaper industry has anyone to blame but itself, which means the idiots that run them.

    When the baby boomers are gone, newspapers will be a distant memory. If you're over 60, you might read the paper daily. But the younger generation doesn't get the paper. If you're lucky, they read the local paper online. More realistically, they get the news from the national websites.
  11. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Right. Newspapers' problems started long before the economy went into the dumpster. My belief is that the very worst decisions -- non-decisions -- were made when all seemed to be going well, as if the fat profit margins and near-monopolies would continued unabated. That's when they should have been figuring out the Internet challenges, from somehow protecting the value of their well-paid content providers (journalists!) to rectifying the revenue gap between print and Web ads to maybe pre-empting Craigslist with some format of their own. That's when they could have been hiring staffers specifically for their Web sites, or at least distributing existing staff more evenly, instead of now spreading fewer folks over broader tasks.

    Now we're in full panic mode, water rushing in the doors and windows and through the foundation while so many of us grab a few valuables and git. People paid for their leadership should have done a better job placing the sandbags years ago. Either those same people still are in charge or they've been replaced by others who are clinging to their jobs or, despite good intentions, mostly are fighting a lost battle.
  12. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    joe - if you have an answer to the internet issue, fill us in.
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