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April 28, 2005

Newspapers Remain

Derek Rose is right, by the way. Blogs will never replace newspapers*. Newspapers will never give up wood pulp for megabits. My girlfriend is in a serious relationship with a blogger**, reads a fair number of other sites, and gets the paper's headlines in her inbox every day. And despite all that, she'll never give up the paper version. Nor would I. Nor would anyone I know. Tangible reading materials have a comfort, convenience, and charm all their own, and the simple existence of an alternative won't change that.

Will there be more integration between print and the web? Sure 'nuff. But the hysterical, off-the-cuff eulogies Jeff Jarvis is always providing for print media are nothing more than the ravings of a technoguru. Radio's still around, TV's hanging out, books are still printed, and the net's not gonna change all that. It may force some adaptation, but not change.

* And none of this even addresses how dependent blogs are on newspapers. Without them we'd have nothing to report and no one to critique -- it'd be the end of us.

** Me, or so I've been led to believe...

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Ezra does not believe that newspapers will be replaced by blogs. [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 28, 2005 11:28:27 PM

Comments

"My girlfriend is in a serious relationship with a blogger"

And you're okay with that?!

Posted by: Jeff | Apr 28, 2005 4:20:54 PM

Ezra, I couldn't disagree with you more on this one. I'm even kinda surprised you feel this way cause we're from the same generation. I hardly know anyone (my age, 22) who reads the paper, we all get our news online either from blogs like yours, or more mainstream sites like CNN.com. I kinda look at newspapers like video cassettes vs dvd's or something.

But maybe more than anything, there just isn't much reason to read the paper anymore, since the net is like one-stop shopping for news.

Posted by: Bobby | Apr 28, 2005 4:41:15 PM

The financial facts on the newspaper biz speak to a rapidly declining industry.

Gathering and editing the news is very expensive, and profit pressures are reducing the content because the ad income is falling. Many papers are just rehashes of wire service stories.

A few weeks ago it was reported that Dow Jones is losing money bigtime on their print edition, but making money and increasing audience size on their web edition.

The NY Times is said to be considering a pay-only web edition because it is caught in the same bind as the WSJ.

The LA Times and WaPo are both a mere shells of their former glory, and once outside NY, DC, LA and a few other cities, the newspapers are hurting due to other media competition.

Newpapers exist on display advertising and classifieds. Classifieds will disappear completely onto the web not very far down the road. Display advertising is very expensive - price out a full page ad in the NY Times and you will be shocked.

As local TV news cannabalizes local news coverage, and wire service stories are widely available on the web, the content left to the papers decreases since the thing papers do well at (background and investigative journalism) are very expensive and not much market exists for re-sale of that content.

Yes, papers are emotionally satisfying (when you have time for them - especially on Sun. AM). But the financial foundation is about gone, and going faster.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Apr 28, 2005 4:59:31 PM

Nonsense. Ten years from now we'll all be reading holoblogs on the regular.

Posted by: praktike | Apr 28, 2005 5:08:50 PM

I get the Times but I read it less and less. I mostly scan the headliness and look at the editorials. Most of it is old (I read it online the day before) or uninteresting. The blogs I frequent have a much higher proportion of stuff that interests me. I like the feel of the paper and on weekends I like taking my time and reading it over coffee. But its a lot less satisfying than it used to be. I find myself speeding through it so I can bring my coffee upstairs to sit at my computer and see what is really going on. It probably makes me a less well rounded person, but I have definitely changed over the last year (I am 33).

Posted by: TJon | Apr 28, 2005 5:36:12 PM

Gods. The idea of willingly going back to a house cluttered with piles and piles of old newspapers now that it's possible to go without?

Posted by: mike | Apr 28, 2005 5:38:27 PM

Bobby,

When you only read blogs, you get just another layer, another filter between you and the facts.
Even though i am not a liberal, I must say that Mr. Klein is one of the most well balanced bloggers out there. This post really shows it. Most bloggers have an inflated idea of their importance. Don't believe me? Try Amanda Marcotte over at www.pandagon.net. Even Mr. Jesse is getting sucked into this disorder.
Blogs are fun and can be informative, but they are, indeed, no substitute for the news services.

Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | Apr 28, 2005 6:03:42 PM

Hmm ? The point isn't that newspapers become obsolete but that they become electronic. Distribution and overhead are much simpler. We just haven't seen the successful economic model.

Posted by: opit | Apr 28, 2005 7:36:46 PM

opit: The WSJ electronic edition is very profitable. It may well be an exception though since investors can deduct the cost of the paper as investment advice.

The New York Post is reporting that the Wall Street Journal earned more money with its online Web site than its print publication. Predictably, though, the Post spins it all wrong: instead of talking about the success of the online arm, it talks about the failure of the print side and about how WSJ publisher Peter Kann, could be "sweating over his job again".

Rhetoric aside, the numbers are very interesting: The Wall Street Journal Online has 731,000 paid subscribers, up 5.2% from the previous quarter, at $84/year. Yes, that's a $61.4 million annual revenue stream...

By contrast, the print publication costs $356/year for a subscription and is considerably less profitable: online has profit margins 20x that of the print publication.

From the perspective of synergy, Dow Jones (parent company of the Journal) also purchased popular site MarketWatch for a cool $538 million.

cite

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Apr 28, 2005 7:53:52 PM

I've quit reading newspapers entirely, unless you want to count the NY Times website (and I've come close to giving up on them a number of times). I don't trust any of the traditional media anymore, they've become lackeys of the right-wing agenda. And for those who think it's generational (above), I'm almost 50.

Posted by: Rebecca Allen, PhD | Apr 28, 2005 8:38:04 PM

I'm a bit embarassed that I didn't link before posting. OPIT stands for oldephartte (in training) and I cribbed my ideas from an old sci-fi novella (can't think who). For me, part of the reason for going electronic is convenience as I'm living on a farm and using a wireless LAN. The corner store and post office aren't handy. Computer cost should continue to drop vis a vis capablity and flexibility. I can't see hardcopy lasting as the majority player indefinitely because of delivery costs unless cheap copier inking makes electronic delivery more practical. Even then it should only slow the pace of change. But, hey. There will be newspapers...though the grocery store checkout rags will likely be the most stubborn. Sorry, that's not a nice idea.

Posted by: opit | Apr 28, 2005 9:52:12 PM

I was struck how the Microsoft Gay Scandal was a perfect example of the dependence of blogs on newspapers. The Stranger being a rather interesting example of a newspaper, though.. a few lonely (though good!) articles awash in a literal sea of ads. I think most big cities must have a weekly like that. I mean the Seattle Weekly is bad but The Stranger is just silly. Oh well, it's free. ;)

Posted by: Sandals | Apr 29, 2005 11:03:27 AM

But how much of it will be via paper. I still like paper magazines a lot--especially glossy ones like the New Yorker, but I never enjoyed reading non tabloid lay-out newspapers. If we could get better screens, I'd much rather download something onto a portable tablet.

But then I've always been more of a radio geek.

Posted by: Abby | Apr 29, 2005 2:41:29 PM

Jim, I think you'll find most newspapers are very very profitable - profit margins for a midsize newspaper in a monopoly market can be as a high as 20-40%.

Very few newspapers make any money at all on their website - the Times does, and the WSJ, but most are money-losers. (I believe the WashingtonPost.com has lost millions). Print is still where the money is.

Yeah, with Craigslist I'm surprised anyone buys classified ads anymore. But as long as people are still reading newspapers, firms will buy display ads. And people still read newspapers -- still pay $20+ a month to get a paper delivered, even though they're available online for free. It's pretty amazing.

Also: where do you think the "local wires" get their news from? Hell, where do you think the TV gets its news from? Half the stories you see on the local evening news are ripped from local papers- and about 95% of the stories on the local wires. Most states have one or two AP bureaus with a total of maybe a dozen staffers, fewer than all but the smallest newspapers. (I used to freelance for the AP)

When the web gained popularity, in the mid- and-late-90s, I thought that it would replace newspapers. I was living in New Hampshire at the time, though, and when I left the state in 2000 -- there were more newspapers there than when I moved there in 1995! (one paper started a Sunday edition, and several weeklies popped up).

And I've been living in New York City since then - again, there are more newspapers here now (amNew York, the NY Sun, Metro NY) than when I moved here!

I know there are people who don't read newspapers, who just get their news from TV and the Internet. Well, I don't watch Oprah - it doesn't mean she's not a force to be reckoned with! Don't make the mistake of mistaking your preferences for society's...

Posted by: derek rose | Apr 29, 2005 6:20:11 PM

Paper will not die until computers can be used comfortably in the bathroom.

Posted by: Kathy | Apr 30, 2005 10:44:21 PM

i'm bi girl

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Posted by: peter.w | Sep 15, 2007 7:15:17 AM

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