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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

No news is bad news

I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating, because it still isn't getting acknowledged in the right places. People keep harping on "the death of print" and missing the real point, which is that advertising is going away. News has always ridden on the back of advertising, and our advertisiers have discovered they no longer need to pay to reach a mass market. It's not just print journalism but the journalism itself that is in peril:

  That doesn’t mean that journalism will die. But more than 10 years after I started in digital journalism, companies are still struggling to find a way to pay for deep, intensive, expensive journalism. Digital ad spending is still rising, but most of it doesn’t go to media companies at all, but to technology companies such as Google and Facebook. If readers won’t pay, and advertisers are deserting us, who will be left to fund journalism?

One answer is that organizations can find a niche, like Bloomberg’s, where people are still willing to pay for reporting. But those niches are for information that is professionally valuable and highly time sensitive, not for general-interest news. For that sort of news, I think the answer is probably “corporations” or “rich donors.” Ironically, in the future, a political magazine, rather than one of the old elite publications, may offer a “safer” perch from which to do deeper dives into serious issues.

Another answer is that no one will pay, and we’ll be left with television news and a handful of sports and fashion and gadget sites that can still draw ad dollars.

A third answer is that there’s another answer I haven’t thought of. But if that’s the case, then as far as I can tell, I’m in good company with the rest of the industry.

"Another answer I haven't though of yet." How true. Where ya gonna get your news when you don't have us to kick around anymore, huh?

Posted in: Newspapers, Web/Tech