The Future of Newspapers — and online journalism

It’s no secret that the American newspaper industry is in trouble.

This New Yorker article by James Surowiecki from late December summarizes some of the problems:

  1. Advertising revenue is down. Way down. Department stores and real estate advertisers have been hit hard by the economic downturn. And online ads aren’t as lucrative as print ads.
  2. Fewer people subscribe to newspapers now. Surowiecki notes that “as a percentage of the population, newspapers have about half as many subscribers as they did four decades ago — but the Internet helped turn that slow puncture into a blowout.”
  3. Newspaper companies, critics say, have failed to innovate. Surowiecki says they’ve focused on the product — the newspaper — rather than the consumer.
  4. Ironically, papers like the New York Times are actually more widely-read now than, say, 10 years ago. But revenues are down since most readers are accessing the site online, for free.
  5. For solutions to the profit problem, Surowiecki points to a foundation/nonprofit model, bailouts from rich patrons, or increased online revenues.

Where do newspapers go from here?

Here are some resources for further reading:

Published by Newley

Hi. I'm Newley Purnell. I cover technology and business for The Wall Street Journal. I use this site to share my stories and often blog about the books I'm reading, tech trends, sports, travel, and our dog Ginger. For updates, get my weekly email newsletter.

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