The future of newspapers

For the last year or so, news reports have circulated about newspapers ceasing print publication and going completely online.  Publishers say the change is due to loss in profit — fewer subscribers, higher operating costs.  Does this trend mean all print newspapers are doomed?  I’ve heard arguments both ways.

The latest newspaper to go solely online is the Seattle Post-Intelligence.  As home to Microsoft, Seattle could arguably have a higher number of technophiles who are turning to the Internet for their news.  My husband is one such user.  He never picks up the local newspaper to read.

But is the average American city ready to go online only with their local newspapers?  I daresay no.  Another fact newspaper publishers bemoan is the age of their readership.  While Generations X and Y are hitting the Internet for news, the World War II generation isn’t as likely to log on.

In order to survive, American newspapers need to give local readers what they want most — local news.  I would estimate that 65 to 75 percent of the articles in the newspaper of the mid-sized Indiana city where I live are written by the Associated Press or other content providers.  Some AP content is fine and even a good thing, but most readers turn to the local newspaper for local news.  They get the national stories from other sources, such as television news.

Unfortunately, many local papers are falling behind on local coverage, which could be aiding in their loss of profit.  For now, I continue subscribing to my local newspaper.  I like to sit at the kitchen table with my bowl of cereal and read through the paper in the morning, but I do notice that I am reading less and less of the paper as it shrinks in content of interest.

While the economy is definitely in a major slump, the time has come for newspaper editors and publishers to pay more attention to and deliver what their local readers want before it’s too late.

Comments Closed

Comments are closed.