Are printed newspapers dying or not?
October 19, 2010 | 1:43 pm
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.