Are printed newspapers dying or not?

newspaperstack111_thumb[1] Is (news)print dying? It’s an interesting question, and the answer seems to depend on who you believe.

On The Guardian, former editor Peter Preston writes that perhaps newspapers don’t have that much to fear from the Internet after all.

But "in the UK at least, there is no such correlation", reports the number-crunching analyst Jim Chisholm. "This is true at both a micro-level in terms of UK newspaper titles and groups and at a macro-level comparing national internet adoption with circulation performance. Indeed, the opposite case could be argued: that newspapers that do well on the web also do better in print… Understandably worried traditional journalists should know that the internet is not a threat."

He mentions a couple of papers—the Daily Mail and the Daily Star—that seem to be doing well in both print and electronic versions.

On the other hand, at TechCrunch, Paul Carr is in fine sardonic form in his “NSFW” column (which actually is safe for work). Carr cites some figures that show newspaper circulation is definitely in decline in both the US and the UK, and dismisses the Daily Mail and Daily Star as anomalies brought on by savvy marketers, and the appeal to entirely different audiences by the print and on-line versions.

Carr notes that, given that Chisholm is a “strategy advisor” for newspapers, he “makes his living by telling the newspaper industry what it wants to hear.” And he notes that as a newspaperman, Preston is one of those people who desperately wants to hear it.

The print world which these men (and they’re almost all men) understood so well, and which they once stood astride like journalistic colossuses (colossi?), is shrinking. Fast. Pretty soon it’ll be consigned to history.

Whether print is dying or not, the debate is certainly fun to watch.

4 Comments on Are printed newspapers dying or not?

  1. There appears to be a backside to both book and newspaper print popularity. With books there is the print on demand and desktop copier sector increasing and with newspapers the local press and alternative culture papers are flourishing.

  2. The paper (and online) publications I work for–The San Francisco Book Review & The Sacramento Book Review–are one of the few dedicated book review papers left in the nation. Despite the decline of newspapers, publishers and author alike want the reviews of their books in print, as well as online. Newsprint is still ‘king’ in some markets.

  3. Newspapers are dying, at least in the US. As more and more people get their news instantaneously online or on their smart phone, newspapers are struggling to find themselves relevant.

    I work for a company which is closely tied to newspapers, over 200 of them are our customers. Several have gone out of business, including the Rocky Mountain News, while most of the others have downsized drastically.

    Advertising, their life blood, has moved online. Classified ads have been gutted by Craigslist.

    They are still moving at the speed of print, while everyone passes them by.

  4. Personally I believe there will be a market for paper print, books or newspapers, for another 25 years. Paper is so convenient and easily digestible. However the product and business model will change considerably. Books will be print on demand and special editions. Newspapers will be smaller and either very local or special interest. Imho of course :)

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