It seems newspapers are in trouble. With online news and advertising services becoming increasingly popular, the days of print news companies seem to be numbered.
This article by Chris Lefkow serves as a good introduction to the problem.
To my mind the cause for concern isn't about keeping a traditional, perhaps even outdated news distribution system alive. Dealing with a shrinking division is always difficult, but that is the company's problem.Most industry observers tend to agree on what is killing US newspapers.
Print advertising revenue is steadily declining and circulation is falling as readers go online to get news for free. Online advertising revenue has been rising but is not keeping pace with the drop in print advertising revenue.
What they do not agree on is the solution.
The real issue is preserving quality journalism. We need professional journalists and somehow they need to be reasonably remunerated for their efforts.
When it comes to online we're used to getting our information for free. But can the free content model, paid solely by advertising, be viable for the professional news industry?
Well, if that is true, it's not very encouraging.Getting readers to pay was also the subject of a recently leaked memo from Steve Brill, the founder of Court TV, to the Times in which he suggested a "new business model to save the New York Times and journalism itself."
"There is simply no example, not one -- in print, online, in television -- of quality content offered for free ever resulting in a viable business," he said.
There is plenty of money flowing through online advertising, and the costs of presenting content is nothing like the costs associated with print media.
Is this just transition pain, or is online journalism as a career genuinely not a viable proposition?