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Archive for the ‘Past’ Category

Rocky Mountain News: Newspapers’ struggles hit home

The Rocky Mountain News, a top newspaper in Denver and one that has on multiple Pulitzers, found itself having to shut down, ending its run that began in 1859.

Losses up to around $16 million, as well as a lack of interest in other people buying the paper, forced the close.

Its struggles show how bad things got for the newspaper industry, especially during the recession.

Here are some videos on the situation:


The Internet’s effect on newspapers

The rise of Internet media hasn’t been too kind on the newspaper industry. From emptier newsrooms to less thick editions of the daily paper, the signs are obvious that the former dominating force in media is struggling.

The effects of the Internet on newspapers comes from a myriad of different factors. For one, newspapers haven’t developed a model to make money while their content is free. The fear of losing readership if they charge for online content has been a big issue, but The New York Times is implementing a strategy that the industry hopes will work.

Online readers will be able to read 20 free articles a month on the website. After that, they must pay for an online subscription, which starts at $15 for a four-week session. Whether or not the plan will work for The Times and other outlets remains to be seen, but it shows the struggle of papers.

Also, advertising online doesn’t bring in nearly the same amount of money that actual advertisements in newspapers bring in, and advertisers are beginning to steer away from putting their products in papers because of the losses in circulation.

Here are some statistics to show just how badly the Internet has affected newspapers:

  • Circulation dropped 6 percent in 2010, and 12 percent before that in 2009 for the newspaper industry as a whole.
  • Newspapers made a profit, ending the year with 5 percent profit margins, but that is about a quarter of what it was at the beginning of the 1990s.
  • Advertising brought in $26 billion in 2010, compared to $46 billion in 2003, a drop of 48 percent
  • Out of the biggest newspapers in the country, only the Wall Street Journal had an increase in circulation at 1.83 percent
  • Newsroom workforce has declined about 20 percent since 2006, dropping from 52,000 people to near 42,000
  • About 200 newspapers have had to close since 1900, dropping from 16,111 dailys to 1,387

Statistics retrieved from State of the Media, an annual look at the world of journalism.


The Rise of the Internet, the Fall of Traditional Media

As commonplace as it is now, the consummation of news through the Internet wasn’t always the way things were.

The rise of the Internet in the mid-90s showed great potential for the world of news media. News companies could post stories around the clock instead of just a few times a day, or once a day in the case of newspapers.

On top of that, the use of multimedia allowed for consumers to receive their news in a variety of different ways, although that is more of a newer development. The combination of text, photos and videos allow for consumers to receive their news in a variety of different ways. The visual appeal is something a typical newspaper could never compete with.

The beginning of the Internet also broke open the stranglehold over news that the old media outlets rarely had to deal with. If breaking news came about, it could be instantly published, while newspapers could possibly wait to make sure all their facts were correct before publishing in the previous era.

It also has allowed for more people to become more involved with producing news, which is still for debate on whether it is a good or bad thing. The growth of blogs has allowed for people to put their own spins and opinions on the happenings of the world. Although people don’t usually receive much of a financial reward, it still allows for them to get their feet wet in the world of journalism.

The growth of cable news began the crumbling of the formal news cycle, but the growth of the Internet completely shattered it. Stories and breaking news could be put up at any time of day, forcing reporters and newsrooms to work faster and more frantically.

The Internet also allows for consumers to pick what they want to look at, rather than being forced to go to their local newspaper or TV station for news. The rise of Google and other search engines allowed for online users to type in a simple phrase to find their news.

For example, typing inĀ  “Osama Bin Laden death” on May 1st would bring forth stories from hundreds of media outlets, with the user being in control of what they wanted to read.

The Internet has also allowed for users to pick “niche” places to look for news rather than getting broad news from one outlet. This hurts newspapers and broadcast outlets because they attempt to appeal to a wide-open audience.

The development of technology has hurt other industries before. The rise of illegal music downloading and iTunes broke open the music industry. The availability of TV shows online is hurting the television business. And the Internet is now shaping the world of journalism. While exciting, it is scary for the traditional outlets.


Cable News: The shift begins

In 1980, Ted Turner, one of the biggest players in all of the world of media, broke the old hierarchy of the news cycle.

At the time it didn’t look like it, but Turner’s idea for a 24/7 news station was a revolutionary idea. The media company struggled at first as it figured out the best way to succeed with its new product.

But in 1991, CNN had its watershed moment that showed the power of the never-ending news cycle. The Gulf War breaking out in Iraq allowed media consumers to be constantly updated on the actions of war. This showed a rift in the former news cycle that newspapers and broadcast stations, as they fell behind on the constant happenings of the war.

People also could receive live visual updates from the war, which could be more appealing than reading the straight text from newspapers. No moment of the war showed that more than some of the live updates from the al-Rashid hotel in Baghdad:

“This is Bernie Shaw. Something is happening outside…Peter Arnett, join me here. Let’s describe to our viewers what we’re seeing…The skies over Baghdad have been illuminated…We’re seeing bright flashes going off all over the sky.”

Newspapers still were looked at as the most credible sources for news, but didn’t have the ability to keep up with the likes of Fox News and CNN. The visual appeal of the constant coverage also drew people in.

And so the old barons of the big newspaper companies began to witness a change. People had the ability to get their news in much different ways before.

With the rise of the Internet coming shortly after, the world of journalism and news media would change drastically in just a few short years

The former conglomorates of news: Newspapers and Television

Before your news was instantly available to you with the opening of your laptop, big media companies controlled the world of news media.

Without competition from online media outlets, blogs and other online entities, the individual news companies in big cities dictated how you got your news.

Newspapers arrived in the morning and started out the old news cycle. This is how most people received their news from the day before. Broadcast newscasts in in the late afternoon and early night finished out how consumers got their news from the day.

This allowed for the newspapers and broadcast news stations to thrive in their local and national markets. They usually had a stranglehold on their news and didn’t have to worry about unveiling it until it was printed in the newspaper the next day or broadcast that night.

The domination of newspapers in the 1990s could be seen in the circulation of some of the countries’ biggest papers. The Los Angeles Times had a circulation of 1.2 million in 1990, compared to 600,000 now, basically half of what it used to be.

Advertising went hand-in-hand with the big circulation numbers. More companies wanted to put their ads in papers because they knew people would see them. This allowed newspaper revenues to stay steady as people read them and advertisers wanted to put their products in the paper.

A similar situation could be said about the Big Three news stations in NBC, ABC and CBS. For national news, nightly newscasts finished out the news cycle, and companies wanted to advertise because of the viewership.

But as technology changed, the future didn’t appear so bright for these conglomerates. Multiple factors played hands in it, from the evolution of 24-hour news stations like CNN to the growth in popularity in the Internet. As you will see in the upcoming slides, it’s still something the old barons of the industry have yet to recover from.