Are Newspapers Dying?

I like newspapers.

I like the weekend papers. They’re big, and have magazines in them. Sunday doesn’t feel like a Sunday unless I’ve got newspaper sections scattered all over the floor.

But the reality is that the internet is eating the newspapers publishers’ lunch. The classifieds, which have long been a source of revenue, have been eroded by Craiglist, and similar. People are spending longer on the internet, and less time on other media, which is eroding advertising, which is based on reader numbers. The news on the internet is instant, and updates just as quickly. How can newspapers compete?

They’re going to need to change. I (repeatedly) wrote years ago about how some newspapers were clueless about the internet, locking their content behind pay walls, just at a time when audience share was becoming everything. They dismissed citizen generated media, like blogs. They got it wrong.

But, like most proclamations of imminent death by internet, I think Scoble is jumping the gun. Remember, the internet was supposed to replace magazines. It didn’t. The internet was supposed to make offline shopping redundant. It didn’t. It was supposed to fundamentally change business. It didn’t. It was supposed to kill books…

You get my drift.

People like reading big sheets of paper. It just feels good. Paper is tactile. The internet can’t replace that, so it won’t replace books or magazines.

Newspapers certainly need to change, but I don’t think print will disappear anytime soon – because enough people still love it. Doesn’t reading everything off a screen feel a little cold?

The question remains: who will pay the piper?

  1. Andrey MilyanAndrey Milyan03-26-2007

    As an editor of the print magazine, I can tell you that newspapers are not going anywhere. But they will have to compete or die. I feel they are already working in the right direction but nothing happens overnight.

  2. Peter Da VanzoPeter Da Vanzo03-26-2007

    Agreed.

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