Death of a Newspaper

Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by MisterCairo, Feb 1, 2016.

  1. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,297
    Location:
    Small Town Ohio, USA
    I'm a feature writer and columnist for four weeklies over three counties.

    I can't seem to get onto the subscriber list for any of them.
     
    Bushman likes this.
  2. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    21,372
    Location:
    London, UK
    The real problem will be making it pay (particularly - insofar as one can compare the two industries - seeing the contempt with which music is now routinely treated by the likes of Spotify as so many want to get everything for free), but if a print paper can make the free distribution / advertising-funded model work, it must be possible online. I won't really miss physical papers for much more than doing the suduko with a pen - just so long as I can still get access to it on the tube (long gone time for a phone / wifi signal on the trains down there). I'll be buying music and books in physical format as long as it's available (hopefully when that ceases to be a reality I'll be long dead), but I don't have the same attachment to the physicality of a newspaper. If anything, I feel much more environmentally responsible reading it online. I'd consider paying for a decent online paper, but the only real quality journalism left in the UK is either on broadcast or in Private Eye.
     
  3. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,062
    Location:
    New Forest
    For the record, I'm too dumb to know how to use my smart phone, other than text & talk. It's too smart for me.
    Then what will I wrap my fish & chips in?
     
  4. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    No doubt there's an app for that.
     
  5. Cricket

    Cricket Practically Family

    Messages:
    520
    Location:
    Mississippi
    I am actually the managing editor of our community newspaper, and our paper is doing fine. Keep in mind, we are a Southern rural community but we are doing well in our circulation numbers and ad copy. The big dailies of neighboring larger cities are suffering though. There are some challenges with securing print advertisement for us when people are quick to point out the digital options they have. But I have learned to adapt with including coupons, gimmicks, contests etc. to generate an excitement with advertisements in print (but I also have to include a deal with our online presence as well). As far as reporting goes, we are it when it comes to local news. Sure, it is better for breaking news to be found online or on a social media outlet. But we use our newspaper to give our readers those stories and information they can't get online. Positive features, unsung heroes, mom and pop store stories, local playground photos and community outreach are mingled in with murder updates, natural disasters and government affairs. It is pleasing to hear the response we get from our readers and to hear the sound of our racks slam open and shut everytime a new edition hits the streets. In my world, print still reigns. And I hope it continues for a long time.
     
  6. newsman

    newsman One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Florida
    The business of journalism is business. So said an editor and publisher i once knew.

    And he was right. The economics have changed. Gone are the readers and gone is the advertising.

    It won't be long before some younger visitor to my home will look at the two framed issues of the Ann Arbor News and say, "How cute! What are these? Newspapers?"

    One reads WWII has started....and the other reads the war had ended.
     
  7. newsman

    newsman One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Florida
    And we hope it continues as well! What's your circulation? The I never worked for a paper bigger than 100,000 in circulation.

    I graduated from the University of Florida's college of journalism with a B.S. in editing when togas were normal attire.
     
    Cricket likes this.
  8. Benproof

    Benproof A-List Customer

    Messages:
    350
    Location:
    England
    Nothing wrong with togas.

    Now smocks....I graduated in fine arts of the unfashionable in urgent need of a makeover but at least the newspaper had a function to prevent paint splatter. My cat too particularly loved to sh*t on shredded Independent journalism. It was cheaper than cat litter.

    Now that newspapers are going online, I can't let him pee over the computer monitor after I finish online newspaper reading.


    www.theguardian.com/media/2016/feb/16/independent-closes-print-titles-national-union-journalists

    Jounalists from the disbanded paper version of the Independent making their views known to the Guardian newspaper.
     
  9. F. J.

    F. J. One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    221
    Location:
    The Magnolia State
    That reminds of this:
     
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  10. newsman

    newsman One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Florida
    I love that add. I can't stop laughing.
     
  11. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,798
    Location:
    Gads Hill, Ontario
    The Independent in the UK is ceasing print publication (please, no comments on this paper's political slant, whatever it may be, I know UK papers are often partisan - this is posted merely as another recent example of the switch to internet "publication"):

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-35561145
     
  12. newsman

    newsman One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Florida
    Laugh. Almost every paper has a slant one way or the other.

    From what I understand it's very hard to make money from internet content and advertising in the news industry. It will be interesting to see how many of these papers make it.
     
  13. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    And thereby hangs the fate of journalism in general. There's already a reaction setting in to the sites like "Huffington Post," which depend on so-called "citizen journalists" for a large chunk of their material -- but don't pay those writers, even though the site itself makes a fortune from advertising. Writers are beginning to realize that the "thrill" of being "published" by these types of sites won't pay the rent, and when the supply of willing-to-work-for-free writers dries up, as it inevitably will, so will these sites.

    That leaves the real newspaper sites -- who pay their writers but don't make much money because they, you know, pay their writers. If they decide to go the HuffPo model, forget it.

    I've been offered lots of chances to write for free in my life, and other than the scrawlings I contribute here I have absolutely no intention of accepting them. No self-respecting writer should. Words are your work. Workers must be paid for the work they do.
     
  14. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,798
    Location:
    Gads Hill, Ontario
    There will be "news" sites on the net forever - what they won't do is make much money. One or two may be successful, the rest will compete for page views and whatever revenue that generates.
     
  15. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,285
    Location:
    New York City
    I have had a similar experience. Pre-internet, I made a nice amount of money as an "add-on" to my day job writing financial and economic analysis for businesses and news services. Then, over time, the internet effectively killed that business as so many people will do it for free. Hence, I focused on my day job of trading and managing money and - like Lizzie - would not write for anyone - away from this site and one other forum because its fun and friendly - as to quote her "...No self-respecting writer should. Words are your work. Workers must be paid for the work they do." Maybe one day, I'll write again for pay, but until then, I don't work for free. Capitalism, left alone with thoughtful rules and regulations against force and fraud, eventually prices things right (even after major technological disruptions) - but it doesn't happen overnight.
     
  16. newsman

    newsman One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Florida
    Sadly that is all too common, as well. The industry pay scale is reflecting this as well. Average starting salary of a journalist is 32K a year and that is up quite a bit from when I graduated school. Back then it was about $12,000 less.

    Not many are going to get rich being word smiths but it would be nice to have something for the effort.
     
  17. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,285
    Location:
    New York City
    The challenge I face in financial / economic writing is that so many will do it for free because they love doing it (and they make their money doing something else), they believe it builds their "personal brand," or the firm they work for encourages them as it is "free" advertising for the firm. If that model is sustainable, then I just have to accept that the competition is willing to price their work cheaper (or for free) than I am. I'm marginally hopeful that as the internet / on-line model matures and some of the enthusiasm fades, a need to get paid for writing will return to the business model - but maybe it doesn't.
     
  18. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,062
    Location:
    New Forest
    Free has become a four letter word beginning with 'F.' That and Andy Warhol's "Everyone's fifteen minutes of fame," prediction. This, do it for nothing malaise is widespread, and, there's always someone to take advantage of it.
    A while ago I was contacted by a small film company: "Would I like to see my vintage car appear in an advert or promotion film?" I can't remember the details.
    My reply was to tell them that I get £350 plus fuel, plus dry cleaning expenses for a wedding, and that's the charge they would have to pay, up front, if they wish to use my car for filming. Did they want to see a gallery of photos? They didn't respond for a few days and when they did it was to say that in return for using my car I would get much greater awareness through the publicity, and doing each other reciprocal favours meant we could legally avoid any income tax liability.
    In other words: "You have a rare car, that we would like to use, but we are not prepared to pay for the privilege of." So it's pro bono. They probably found someone who thought that their car might become as famous as The Jaguar in the 'Inspector Morse' shows.
     
  19. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I've gotten that time and again from people who've wanted to "borrow" stuff from me for student films and the like -- we have a film school over in the next town, and every summer the streets are lousy with trust-fund auteurs realizing their personal visions. And every single time I've ever loaned out an item it's come back damaged. No more. If they want a telephone, a radio, a piece of furniture, a bicycle, or my car, they'll pay a daily rental fee and there'll be a damage deposit. Suddenly I don't get called anymore, which is fine by me. I've had my name in credits before, and it doesn't excite me, sorry.
     
  20. Warden

    Warden One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,332
    Location:
    UK
    In Great Britain one of our national papers has stopped its print edition and is going solely online, however saw this today, perhaps there is hope for the printed edition.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35628729
     

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