RIP: Newspapers. I Won't Be Shedding a Tear

Really? Because my subscriber numbers jump by the day, that's sort of funny. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the mainstream media is motivated by profits and in the nut vice. Perhaps if the LA Times kept on top of things they would not find themselves in this predicament.

Pssst, would the LA Times like a secret?

No one pays me to do what I do. I do it off hours and during my lunch and until 2 in the morning even though I have to work at 9a because it is what I love to do. I grill sources on Saturdays and skip happy hours so I can put together pieces on egregious financial misdeeds.

Stick with the model, LA Times, and you will survive.

And if not, maybe I could use someone to mop out my office twice a week.

LA Times:

U.S. newspapers continued to lose subscribers in recent months as readers increasingly turned to online news sources and price increases scared off cost-conscious consumers.

The average weekday circulation of the nearly 400 daily papers that reported sales slid 10.6% to 30.4 million from April to September compared with the same six-month period in 2008, the Audit Bureau of Circulations said Monday. That was bigger than the 7.1% decline recorded during the previous six-month period.

Newspapers have seen their circulation decline sharply in recent years as readers increasingly have turned to online sources for news. Many of these websites are operated by the same newspapers that are losing traditional subscribers, but publishers are struggling to bring in enough online ad dollars to replace the loss of print advertising. And readers have been reluctant to pay for access to newspaper websites.

Many metropolitan dailies have been reducing staff and content while raising the price of single copies and home delivery -- a combination that has scared away many cost-conscious consumers, said Ken Doctor, a newspaper analyst at consulting firm Outsell Inc. in Burlingame, Calif.

Newspapers also have been paring back circulation in far-flung areas where the small number of subscribers doesn't justify the cost of delivery. And more than 90 papers have stopped publishing on at least one day of the week, Doctor noted.

"All of this says to readers, 'Go online, go online, go online,' " he said.

Of the nation's five biggest daily papers, four reported circulation declines. The Wall Street Journal displaced USA Today as the nation's largest daily, notching a slim 0.6% gain in subscribers to push its total to slightly more than 2 million, including paid subscribers to its online edition.

Die if you can't do what you're here to do, newspapers. We'll be happy to take it from here.

Jr Deputy Accountant

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.


Ubu said...

I saw the SF Chronicle lost something like a 26% of it's subscribers. How in the hell do you lose 1/4 of your readers and stay in business?

OldSouth said...

It's not just about price.

The true question, in my mind, has been the credibility of the papers. The reportage and editorial decisions about what to cover and how have all been deeply slanted toward an increasingly 'large government/all moral values are equivalent' world view. Past that, lots of gossip, sports, and features on people consuming conspicuously.

Why should anyone spend money to buy a paper that insults both intelligence and conscience?

A few years ago, the local paper (Tennessean) was running a phone marketing campaign to entice its former subscriber base back into the fold. I kind and firmly said 'no', and when asked why, I replied: 'Because your editorial staff have all drunk Al Gore's Kool-Aid! I want none of it.'

The bemused response from the telemarketer: 'You know, I've heard a LOT of that from the people I call.'

Now, finally, the financial bleed is so bad that some realities are being faced.

However, I suspect that some back-door method of propping the big ones up (those supportive of Obama) is on the way. I noticed an edition of Time from earlier this year. Very light on ads, but several full page ads from federal governmental entities.