Please stop saying newspapers are dead. They’re dying, but they’re not dead.
Even after years of layoffs, size reductions, page slashing, photo staff firing
, and general ineptness and inability to adapt to these digital times, newspapers are not quite dead. So, can we please stop saying newspapers are dead?
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It’s widely accepted that they will die; we just need to give it some time before we pull the plug.
In an article for About.com
, Tony Rogers does a fine job of explaining why, though severely ailing, the newspaper industry isn’t quite finished yet. He writes:
“If you don't believe me, believe Warren Buffett, a guy who seems to know a thing or two about making money. His Berkshire Hathaway investing firm has bought 28 papers in the past two years, and Buffett has said he expects profit margins of about 10 percent. That's a big drop from the halcyon days of newspapering, but pretty good compared to profit margins in many other industries.”
Rogers also points to a recent USA Today article
from Rem Rieder, which details the fates of two newspapers, the New Orleans Times-Picayune
and the Orange County Register
Both took dramatically different approaches to an industry in decline. The Times-Picayune reduced its print product to three times per week and made a deeper commitment to digital. The OC Register
boosted its commitment to print, hiring more journalists and beefing up with new sections.
, facing heated backlash from New Orleanians, has decided to add a three-day-per-week tabloid edition
about a year after its initial decision to cut print. (Yes, it’s publishing six days a week, with half the issues in tabloid format.) The Register
has no plans to reduce its formidable commitment to print.
Rieder writes, “As far as print is concerned, no one doubts that the future will be digital. But there's a sense that many obituaries for print were premature.”
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I tend to agree. I’m no print apologist. I witnessed first hand how awful it was to work in a print newsroom with a faint death knell in the background. But despite what you might think or have heard, it’s just not dead yet.