Comments on: Who jumped first from the newspaper sinking ship? Tue, 10 Feb 2015 19:54:39 +0000 hourly 1 By: FredFlintstone Tue, 19 Jun 2012 00:57:32 +0000 @ptiffany I’m not 100% sure postal mail and the printed newspaper are dying. The better question is whether, in adopting electronic communications like email and online news sites, people feel compelled to eliminate postal mail, which a lot of people in rural areas rely on (and may or may not have good internet access), and printed newspapers, which in some ways are superior to reading online (e.g. a reader of a printed newspaper is more likely to encounter stories and possibly read through the printed paper than if they scan a few headlines on a news site). It would be a mistake to believe or act as if all technology is better.

But I’m much more interested in the history of newspaper conglomerates, as presented here. You could make a rational argument that the drive to consolidate media, especially print media, has had as disastrous an impact on the economy as the consolidation of banking (about 36 banks were merged 1995 to 2007 to create the 4-5 too big to fail banks), US media (50 companies in the 1980s controlled media assets now controlled by 6 companies), food (e.g. Monsanto), and so on. Of all these consolidations, newspaper appears to be one that is economically unsustainable.

Put another way, the idea of a local paper might be viable in most communities. However, the economics of combining local media outlets into a single company probably is not, based on recent and past history. Small towns, for example, presumably have car dealers, appliance stores, and even big box stores, all of them needed direct access to people in the community through local media, whether print or online or both. And people in a community will still want (perhaps need) local news coverage not of interest to large media outlets.

If true, you could have local media with profit margins comparable to grocery stores (or even non-profit) that support a small but viable news staff and business team. Staff might even be unionized. But no one would make outsized salaries.

So thanks for a little useful history, Mr. Shafer. You inadvertently proved part of my point: the newspaper conglomerate business model is unsustainable.

By: SanPa Mon, 18 Jun 2012 13:59:13 +0000 Peeple dont rid anymor, so thay dont nid newpapars anymor. We’r now keept enformd witt FOX.

By: LouAlexander Mon, 18 Jun 2012 04:25:23 +0000 An interesting perspective, although I think it depends on a ton of hindsight. I do think the writer made a mistake that is common to many journalists writing about the newspaper industry: They focus on Craigslist as a major contributor to the demise of the industry. Craigs has certainly drawn money away from print but it is probably a small %. The big money that left newspapers went to the major job sites, car sites and real estate sites (or to non-internet marketing). I suspect journalists make little use of these sites–and tons of use of Craigs–so their focus is on the smaller player.

By: libertadormg Sun, 17 Jun 2012 19:27:30 +0000 I began writing a blog about the Eagle Ford Shale, around 3 years ago to fill a void for landowners to learn about oil and gas mineral leasing. My blog is mostly just a aggregation of pertinent oil and gas news, along with my personal commentary, that mineral landowners find helpful and interesting. It has become wildly successful due in no small part to the same forces that caused the demise of newspapers. People today need and want information that is pertinent to their lives and helpful to their unique set of circumstances. The casual, general interest, gossip story just doesn’t have the cachet today it once had.

By: Left1eNoonan Sun, 17 Jun 2012 13:55:10 +0000 A whole lot of words to describe the demise of an industry.

Probably the same when the automobile did the Blacksmith industry in.

Simplified – How about: “After visiting all my Newsites,by the time I get to the newspaper box it contains history papers!

Its always been a “we want to know now world”.

By: derekrose Sun, 17 Jun 2012 03:05:06 +0000 Um, Craigslist doesn’t accept advertising.

By: ptiffany Sat, 16 Jun 2012 19:07:24 +0000 Bubble, bubble, bubble…
What’s been happening to newspapers isn’t anything like a bubble. Newspapers have been around since the invention of the printing press. Just like personal mail delivered by the United States Postal Service and for the same reason, it has been subject to an evolutionary change.

Why is this distinction important? Because a bubble is a relatively short term event, destined to pop, but often with little notice such as the mortgage-backed casino gambling by Wall Street. In the case of digital technology changing the common means of communication, it has been more gradual and highly predictable.

Bubbles can reinflate, but newspapers and snail mail are dying – permanently.