Friday, April 22, 2005

Dead Tree Society 

This is a direct cause of this, and newspaper publishers have at last discovered they are members of a Dead Tree Society. There is nothing sacred about a press. It is technology, just as the internet is. News consumers have preferences. They have chosen a newer technology for news consumption -- the internet. To say there will always be a printed edition of a newspaper is an error. Many trade magazines years ago became largely online editions. It's cheaper and faster.

Newspaper editors have been depending on consumer inertia, but the consumer is no longer stuck in a habit of opening a printed broadsheet or tabloid in the morning.

Here is what I see from a PR perspective. Wire service news already is delivered through the internet and few bother to look at it in a newspaper. I know I don't, and I still scan seven newspapers a day. I know my fellow news-junky colleagues in the PR business don't. When it comes to national and international news, newspapers are like the former target market for Cadillacs -- between 65 and dead. It seems to me this will continue. We will use newspapers for enterprise content -- information newspapers have generated themselves that is not available generally online. This also means with falling circulation for print editions of newspapers that publishers will charge a premium for content they generate -- largely local news.

I had written earlier about the closing of the internet with publishers beginning to charge for news. I see no out for this trend. It's that or close the doors over time for more newspapers. As PR practitioners, we go where our news outlets take us and our outlets are leading inexorably to online.


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