Newspaper Industry

Brief Introduction:

The newspaper industry was once an industry that thrived in the world, mainly the U.S., but recently started to struggle. The internet can be considered one of the reasons why the newspaper industry has had such a downfall. Also, the recent economic times have not favored the newspaper industry. Another reason could be that the generations that have had modern technology in a good portion of their live could also be blamed for the struggles that the newspaper industry is going through. The final reason why the newspaper industry is struggling is due to blogging. Our current President even says that blogging is not the way to go when delivering news, while other people out there believe the newspaper industry can work together with blogging in delivering news. The future outlook is very dim for newspapers, but there are a few solutions to help keep this industry afloat, but before I get into all of that I would first like to cover a brief history of the newspaper industry.

History of Newspapers:

Before I go into speaking about the death of newspapers I would like to cover the history of the newspaper when it was mainly used in paper form. Where should I begin? It is know that the newspaper can be dated back at least five centuries to Renaissance Europe. Newspapers started out as handwritten newsletters that were handed out privately amongst merchants. They passed along information about wars, economic conditions, and even human interest pieces (Barber, 2008). That is something that does not surprise me because this came before moveable type. The first newspapers that were typed were first know to be in Germany in the 1400’s which came in the form of pamphlets, or broadsides (Barber, 2008). Mind you, these were all printed in the German language. It was not until 1666 in London when newspapers were printed in English with the London Gazette being the first English printed newspaper (Barber, 2008).

The first newspaper to ever be printed in America was Publick Occurences, but did not last long because it was published without authority (Barber, 2008). The first successful newspaper to be printed in America was the Boston News-Letter by John Campbell in the year 1704 (Barber, 2008). After the Revolutionary War there were 346 newspapers in circulation. In the 1830’s the printing of newspapers exploded because of the “Penny Press”, where newspapers were just sold for a cent a copy. This occurrence made the newspaper available to all social classes and helped drive up the literacy level of all people living in America (Barber, 2008).

The Industrial Revolution transformed the quickness of how newspapers could become available to the public. Thousands of copies could be printed in a matter of hours, and this was the time where pictures started to appear in newspapers (Barber, 2008). By the early 1900’s the features of what we see today in newspapers started to first appear, i.e., the sports section, health and leisure, business, etc. (Barber, 2008). Between 1960 and 2003 the daily newspapers had collectively lost just fewer than four million readers, due to TV news, 24-hour cable news, and the rise of the internet. The internet is having most of its effect on the newspaper industry just recently in comparison to TV news, which I will talk about more as I go on (Wink, 2008).

-To read more in-depth of about the early history of newspapers please visit:
http://www.historicpages.com/nprhist.htm

This video is about how newspapers fit into the history of journalism:

“The Death of Newspapers”:

The rise of the internet is one of the reasons why the decline of newspaper circulations and the newspaper industry are occurring.

The following link shows the decline of newspaper circulations in six month increments over five years: http://www.stateofthemedia.org/2009/narrative_newspapers_audience.php.

The internet can be blamed for luring away newspaper advertisers and readers, which gives the newspaper industry its pulse (Nichols, & Mcchesney, 2009). For example, The Classifieds, which is a type of advertising, is considered some of the main ways that newspapers make their profit, but the evolution of online advertisement hubs like Craigslist has shifted people to view and post classified ads online for free (Alterman, 2008). Losses like this have led to people losing jobs that they thought were once secure (AFP, 2009). Not all of this can be blamed on the shift to online news fetching, but also to the recent economic struggles that the U.S. has gone through.

The recent economic troubles can also be attributed to the downfall of the newspaper industry. During the third quarter of 2009 U.S. print newspaper advertising dollars dropped nearly 30 percent to 5.8 billion dollars of revenue. Online newspaper advertising has also seen a decline in advertising dollars dropping almost 17 percent to 623.1 million dollars during the third quarter. The newspaper industry is just not making any profit, due to the economic struggles the U.S. is facing. Major newspapers around the U.S. are really feeling the effects of this terrible economy. For example, The Los Angeles Times, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the Chicago Tribune have started to enter the stages of bankruptcy (Nichols, & MccHesney, 2009).

To get an idea of the trends in revenue that newspapers are making, as a whole, follow this link: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_EkLOPCrR0fc/SP5ImMM2BnI/AAAAAAAAAXw/553Pw9MJPXo/s1600-h/newspaper+sales+and+profits.jpg. (The green bars represent the earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).)

Another way to explain the decrease in the interest of the newspaper industry is to look at how the recent generations get their news information.

Rick Edmond of the Poynter Institute says that we are seeing a new trend in news gathering. “You’ll get your political news from Politico, world news from the BBC, entertainment news from Entertainment Weekly and your sports news from ESPN, ” (Weeks, 2009). I find myself looking at espn.com for the latest sports scores and updates and not reading the sports section of my area’s newspaper. Recent generations of people have grown up with the internet, or have had the internet in a large portion of their lives, which means that the internet is a very large medium for retrieving news and other sources of information for these generations. “We don’t spend half an hour thumbing through the papers in the morning, we’re reading the latest Harry Potter in e-book format on the train,” says Daryl Tay an avid internet blogger (Tay, 2008).

To read more about what Tay has to say please follow this link: http://uniquefrequency.wordpress.com/2008/04/20/why-generation-y-doesnt-read-the-newspaper-and-can-they-do-anything/.

The following video talks about the generational preferences on how people want get their news:

In recent years the trend of opinion sharing on the internet has slowly become popular. A Blog, according to WordNet Search.com, is an on-line journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences and hobbies. Blogging is a trend which has become very popular in recent years. Some people see this as a threat to the newspaper industry, including our current leader of the nation. “I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding,” says President Barrack Obama (Bizouati, & Carney, 2009). He sees the newspaper industry as one of the last mediums where people can get factual information that is presented in an organized fashion. Then there some other people out there who say that blogs are as important as newspaper publications.

The following video is about some opinions on the relationship between blogs and the newspaper industry:

The Future Outlook of the Newspaper Industry:

I have to say that the future of the newspaper industry is not looking to well, but there are ways being developed to keep the industry around as long as possible, but the solutions to keep this business alive are not good enough. Many newspapers that put their content online are now starting to charge for online views, which seems like a very lucrative venture, but the problem is the newspaper companies are trying to figure out ways of doing that without excluding some of its viewers (Zimmerman, 2009).

The recent economic downturn has had a huge effect on the profits of newspaper companies, “These crosscurrents come only months before the crucial holiday shopping season, which in good times portends papers fat with department store ads. This year, however, the holidays are shadowed by fears that the worst economic downturn in decades will keep shoppers out of stores — and retail ads out of newspapers,” says Martin Zimmerman, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times. What I can take away from his message is that maybe advertisers are staying away from the newspaper because of how much less money people are spending these days. The other reason I could see the advertising industry shifting away from the newspaper industry is because of the switchover to other internet mediums not involving the newspaper, but only time will be able to tell.

To view a more extensive explanation of the newspaper industry’s future outlook please follow this link: http://forum4editors.com/2008/10/what-lies-ahead-of-media-industry-in-the-2009/. The article talks about how a possible future in the online realm is still viable.

The following video is about the future of newspapers and their fixture into the online realm:

Closing Thoughts:

The newspaper industry has come a long way since its beginnings. Looking at the broad view of the newspaper industry only just recently has it started to struggle, whether it be the internet, the economic issues that have arose, generational preferences, or blogging. The future is not so bright for the newspaper industry, but things are being done to try to keep this once successful business around. I hope what I have just explained gave a better understanding of the newspaper world, and also helped you form an educated opinion of the situation that this industry is experiencing.

Works Cited:

1. AFP. (2009). Us newspaper ad revenue down nearly 28 percent. Google News, Retrieved from http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iu7anZjFBaXK1R0YeU mqoGZTAYqQ

2. Alterman, E. (2008). Out of Print. The New Yorker, Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/03/31/080331fa_fact_alterman

3. Barber, Phil. (2008, December 31). A Brief history of newspapers. Retrieved from http://www.historicpages.com/nprhist.htm

4. Bizouati, Y, & Carney, J. (2009, September 21). Obama: we need to bail out newspapers or blogs will run the world. Silicon Alley Insider, Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/john-carney-obama-we-need-to-bailout- newspapers-or-blog-will-run-the-world-2009-9

5. Nichols, J., & Mcchesney, R.W. (2009). The Death and life of great american newspapers. The Nation, Retrieved from http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090406/nichols_mcchesney

6. Weeks, Linton. (2009). Chronicling the death of american newspapers. NPR, Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101237069

7. Wink, Christopher. (2008, July 2). History will tell: the great newspaper bubble of the 20th century. Retrieved from http://christopherwink.wordpress.com/2008/07/02/history-will-tell-the-great- newspaper-bubble-of-the-20th-century/

8. Tay, Daryl. (2008, April 2008). Unique-frequency. Retrieved from http://uniquefrequency.wordpress.com/2008/04/20/why-generation-y-doesnt-read-the-newspaper-and-can-they-do-anything/

9. Zimmerman, Martin. (2009). Story not all bleak for newspaper industry’s outlook. The Los Angeles Times, Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/2009/aug/31/business/fi-newspapers31

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