Friday, March 6, 2009

The End of Days

It is really a bleak time for the printed news industry. I was listening to the radio today and heard the news that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the oldest newspaper in the city and the northwest, is going to an online only format. After thinking about the state of the newspaper, I realized that this situation is a tri-fecta of bad. First, the story stated that most of the operational money in a paper is spent on ink, paper, and gas to deliver the papers. The P-I plans on changing their business model to cut down on these operational costs, but the flip side is that newspaper websites fail to generate the ad revenue that printed papers do. Therefore, because of the loss in ad revenue, the paper has to cut staff from 150 people to only 20. Not only do lots of people loose their jobs, the paper also looses diversity. The piece also mentioned that the paper had announced that this all-web-format would go ahead unless investors intervened. Just think if Ruppert Murdoch came along and offered to pick up all of these ailing papers. The only outcome would be more corporate, conglomerate news. I really hope this online-only business model works for the Post-Intelligencer. Who knows, maybe if all papers move to an online only based business it will become a rebirth of the news? And maybe, consequently if there are no print based papers, people will be forced to view their news online which would drive ad revenues up. Or, the darkest picture, Americans will stop reading the news. That is what should scare you.

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