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Newspaper final call?

My SO's employer, a family run newspaper, is signaling some changes. She's been asked to reduce her salary, and go on a per hourly basis. Essentially the publisher is in need of money, and needs to make savings. This is not unusual in the industry, its more of a case of a change in approach.

I have always looked at newspapers like this:

- there is an event going on in the town square
- someone notices it, call them person A
- pA then tells another person B, PB then tells PC etc. You get transfer of news.

Thats how it essentially works. But as the size of the community grows, it becomes changed, you look for something you trust, something that has access to more news than PA, or PC.

- there is an event going on in the town square
- the local busy body who runs a single-sheet news paper notices it, and writes it down for the next print run
- PA prints it, and everyone 'reads it'

This led to people paying for the 'paper' that the story was on. Great, as more people saw it, the advertising space become more expensive. So PA starts to make a nice profit from just writing down what was seen.

Then the event, and access to the event, and ability to print that event, gains monetary value. So it becomes cherished, prized (note how OK/Hello pay for wedding pictures - its for the advertising cost uplift).

So all is well, print is big business.

Until, the internet. It was always 'assumed' that there will be a shift away from print to screen. It never really happened in the dot com boom era. But its happening now. In an unusual way.

Essentially the model is changing, its becoming a case of access is free and ubiquitous, and the advertising revenues on screen are not great (unless you have a swifty smart method like Google). So event-exclusivity and trusted-authority are more valuable - as is the rather unusual 'spread' of news. Lots of websites that are up there for news are one of these, if not two.

- event is going on in the town square
- website A has exclusive rights (bingo, makes moolah)
- website A is recognised as a bit of an expert in this area, and not only reports on it, but adds a journalistic view/slant that helps tie it into the bigger picture
- website A buys a feed from website B that has written a broadcast piece on the event

So you see, the model is moving up for most people. Reuters and PA and other news feeds are becoming the lifeblood in a big big way. The SO's paper is essentially a CnP of feeds, but most readers would not notice, as they don't have access to these feeds...until the internet.

Google most stories that are printed, and you see the same piece (perhaps slightly modified) in a variety of places, websites that are not linked to print, as well as those that are. This is because they are all buying the story from a feed.

So, in that era, it becomes a penny market for print. Why? Internet access is really penetrating, and access to news is considered commodity. Infact, news on demand is ket (RSS).

End of print? Not really, its nice to read a paper. But certainly a case of some papers hitting the wall...


  1. Anonymous Anonymous says @ 10:38 pm


    for inside view

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