Newspapers remain in critical condition, the bleeding won’t stop

In better days of the past, advertising took up 60 percent of the space in newspapers. Advertising rates were based on a take it or leave it rate card. Current advertisers negotiate ad rates. Advertising versus editorial content is a fraction of what it used to be. The Chicago Tribune at one time was considered one of the best major city dailies anywhere. Todays front section of the Tribune is 22 pages. Ads make up just six pages or 27 percent of available space. The New York Times continues its reign as one of the most influential newspapers in the world, but lack of ads remains troubling. The Time’s front section of today’s paper weighed in at 26 pages. Only five pages or 19 percent of those pages consisted of ads. Yes, online advertising bolsters revenue for newspapers. However, digital advertising generates only a fraction of the money that ink and paper ads demand(ed). Fewer ads often mean a decent toward mediocrity. Over the past 10 years, newspapers jettisoned their best and best-paid journalists. New reporters tend to be younger, get paid less, but have better technology skills. New reporters lack the experience of journalists who worked a beat for decades. The business model for newspapers continues to morph. A successful business model remains elusive. newspapers

Author: N2OO2

Journalist and journalism professor.

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