Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Newspapers suffering

There really doesn't seem to be any sign of things improving for newspaper sales at the moment.

This piece from the UK Press Gazette describes how Americans are increasingly turning to the web to get their news.

Some people may argue that they wouldn't be doing that if the newspapers weren't putting their content online in the first place.
But it's a simple fact that if the news organisations weren't doing it - somebody else would.
Then the newspapers would not only be hit with a loss of sales but they wouldn't be making the revenue up anywhere else.

So perhaps it doesn't have to be a bad thing that people are walking past the newspaper kiosks.
Just because fewer papers are being sold doesn't mean the business has to suffer.
There are just as many ways for news groups to make money online as there are with there printed product. Perhaps more.
And there is non of the cost of producing the newspaper, no distribution costs - nothing.

It seems that a lot of people in the industry fear the internet is going to be the end of the newspaper as we know it, and perhaps it is.
But it doesn't mean it's the end of journalists, news gathering and their livelihoods.

It just means change.

And is that really such a bad thing?

One of the best comments I read recently was from someone involved in the digital news world who asked - something along the lines of - "If you are a music fan, when was the last time you bought an LP? Now ask yourself, when was the last time you bought a CD?!"

People still love music, they just get their music in a different format.
It used to be records, then CDs and now downloaded from iTunes.

It's just the same with news.

There could be casualties and job losses during the digital shift, but in the end there will still be trained journalists finding and reporting on news stories, and there will still be news organisations competing to get that exclusive scoop.

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