Newspapers: It’s Not Over Yet

I’d like to welcome Curtis Sindrey to the TRAVIS Blog writing team! More about him soon, but I just got home and gotta really get some post-Osheaga sleep. Enjoy!

By 2007 there were 6,580 newspapers selling 395 million copies a day worldwide. But due to the global recession of 2008, combined with the emergence of the internet, caused a deep decline in advertising and circulation. Plunging more than 9.4% ($42 billion) in 2007, advertising revenue is at its lowest peak since 1950. More cryptically internet advertisement revenue grew by 18.8% to $3.2 billion compared with 2006. It now represents 7.5% of total advertisement revenue.

Twitter back in the 20's

We have merely become more of a viewing population than that of a reading population. With print readership dwindling it could be nothing but time until the internet absorbs the former print phenomenon completely.

But one thing that Facebook has taught us (other than not posting photos of last night’s party) is that lists are popular. Whether counting down the top 10 sluttiest celebrities or the top 20 ways to go green, Facebook can teach the greying newspaper industry a lesson. What do these lists and the weather have in common? They give the reader something to talk about. Across all demographics, people are always after pieces of information that would allow them to connect with another person. We are by nature a very needy species. Humans need three things in life: food, water and companionship. Without these critical components one would feel practically empty.

These days it seems that a good conversation cannot be had without the mere mention of Twitter. The outlet allows one to mundanely update their daily happenings while their “followers” attempt to find a working revolver. The human race certainly has come a long way from “Man Walks on the Moon” to “Twitter: No Im not votin cause the issue is dumb… Macon needs to wake the hell up!!” We used to be a world of innovation but we have discarded that for mispronunciation.

But fear not newspaper loyalists, the news shall not be as bleak. According to NADbank’s (Newspaper Audience Databank) 2009 readership overview, 77% (14.7 million) of adults 18+ read either a printed or online edition of a daily newspaper. Through it all I think the one concept that will save the very entity of newspaper is nostalgia. It is very effective and sometimes makes people do stupid things to hold on to the past (like having stacks of newspapers in their living room). If nostalgia can pull through and save vinyl records, newspapers appear to have a bright future ahead.

– Curtis Sindrey

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