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Study finds Internet growth stagnant for local papers

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by DanOregon, Aug 17, 2007.

  1. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    From Breitbart:
    Internet use could kill off local newspapers, study finds

    News audiences are ditching television and newspapers and using the Internet as their main source of information, in a trend that could eventually see the demise of local papers, according to a new study Wednesday.
    "As online use has increased, the audiences of older media have declined," Harvard University professor Thomas Patterson said in a report on the year-long study issued by Harvard's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.
    "In the past year alone... newspaper circulation has fallen by three percent, broadcast news has lost a million viewers," said the study, entitled "Creative Destruction: An Exploratory Look and News on the Internet."
    Meanwhile, the numbers of people using the Internet as a news source have increased -- exponentially, in some cases.
    Traffic to websites that post news produced by a third source, including search engines and service providers, aggregators, such as topix.net or digg.com, which use software to monitor and post web content; and blogs -- increased across the board between April 2006 and the same month in 2007.
    Monthly visitors to Digg.com, an aggregator which lets users decide on site content, skyrocketed in the 12 months to April 2007, from two million to more than 15 million.
    Other online news sources grew more modestly, with user rates growing by 14 percent for community websites and six percent for blogs.
    The Google, Yahoo, AOL and MSN websites between them have about 100 million monthly visitors, far outpacing user numbers on websites of major television networks, which averaged 7.4 million visitors a month.
    "Brand name" daily newspapers, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, averaged 8.5 million monthly visitors.
    But newspapers in medium-sized to small cities saw either a drop in or no change to the numbers of visitors to their websites, which have already taken readers from hard-copy editions.
    The authors of the study predict that many small newspapers could have difficulty holding on to even their web audience, and counsel that they include "national and international news in the mix."
  2. Breakyoself

    Breakyoself Member

    i know my paper has redone our website, both overall and with the launch of a new preps website (we are a 40K paper) and both has done very well since their launch.
  3. ColbertNation

    ColbertNation Member

    It's incredibly difficult to convince smaller papers to include "national and international news in the mix."
  4. Walter Burns

    Walter Burns Member

    No kidding. One of my bosses said he wants to see the sports section as all local. I told him that wasn't a good idea. He didn't listen. Then people started calling in asking about MLB standings, NASCAR, PGA, etc.
    He started to come around.
  5. lono

    lono Active Member

    There's another obvious issue: Since newspapers have been gutting their staffs like fisherman filleting blue gills, the quality of the news product in many places has declined, sometimes markedly.

    People won't read a second-rate product online any more than they will read a second-rate product in print.

    Of course, that's lost on most of the newspaper executives in this country, but that's another story entirely.
  6. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    Which gets to my favorite rant: the first thing they do in times of economic strife is to gut the newsroom, eliminate travel and in general do everything possible to make the product worse, which gives advertisers all the more reason to not want to spend their money with us. I've got a novel idea: fire the ad and circulation department heads who can't figure how to sell ads and papers. Someone's got to know how to do it. But they always go after editorial first, while the dipshits who couldn't sell hand-warmers to Eskimos skate.
  7. lono

    lono Active Member

    Oh, yeah, that's exactly my point. Unfortunately.
  8. On the Web site? Because our rag (30K) puts all our stories on the Web - local and wire - and the national stuff is far and away the least read.
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