The 'vicious cycle' at newspapers

July 21, 2008
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A new study shows newspapers continue to lose advertising dollars and circulation to the Internet, and theyâ??re slicing ever deeper into newsroom budgets to try to stay in the black.

Stories are shorter and devote less attention to international affairs, business, science and the arts. Reporters are being asked to cover more beats, effectively diluting their expertise and ability to write authoritatively.

Newspapers risk creating a vicious cycle of offering less to readers, readersâ?? turning away, ad dollars following the readers elsewhere, and newspapers being forced to offer even less, the study says.

The future has become so uncertain that a mere 5 percent of editors felt they could predict how newsrooms would look in five years.

What do you think? Is there anything newspapers can do to make more money online or to get print readers to come back?
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  • how about investing in the IT Departments? as one good friend has said: Keep Up or Get Out. That holds true to all parts of business (Retail, Video/Games, and even NewsPapers). If the Editors don't keep up with the times, they will be forced out by the future of reporting, whatever that may be...
  • The future of news does not involve paper. I truly hope news organizations are realizing this. Trying to get readers into the print version of any news publication is a waste of time. Everything will be digital within the next 5 years. Like Random mentions, the statement Keep Up or Get Out certainly holds true.
  • If newspapers are not investing at least 15% of their annual profits on technology, they will be out of business in 10 years. Period. There are plenty of people living in denial of this fact.
  • As long as newspapers continue to ignore the obvious they will continue to lose subscribers, advertisers, and readers. A major investment is necessary in technology. Not just 15%. Publishers need to be doing a major overhaul. Those within their organizations denying this fact and doing business as usual are going to get a huge awakening one day.
  • I find the IBJ web site a far better source of immediate news than the IBJ paper version. Why not sell more advertising on the web sites?
  • IBJ is a good source of business news, however, the New York Times, Indianapolis Star, et.al. have become irrelevant. They relegate the real news to back pages while putting agenda items on the front page. They've done no real reporting on the War in Iraq and seem to think all news stories come from AP. The headlines reflect an agenda other than reporting the news. There are so many injustices that need investigative reporting, yet there are no reporters who seem interested. Or maybe it's the publishers. We need people in journalism who think for themselves and do not subscribe to just one point of view. Even the good editorials in the star are available only on line and sometimes they are not even there. I'd like to see good newspapers continue to thrive, but it takes real journalism.
  • Lots and lots of video. Go head to head with TV. Lots and lots of new technology and different delivery methods. Blogs. Forms, Comments. Lots of opportunity for people to weigh in. Thats how you compete.
  • The technology that enables near-real-time collaboration is only going to improve with time. This will eliminate the need for publishing transient information like news on paper. New means now - not - as we go to press, so news should be delivered in the most real-time fashion possible.

    On a related point, the vehicle for your message is not as important as your message. Keep things balanced and provide a meaningful service to the reader - not the old school biased and sensational one way broadcast of negativism.
  • Its seems I have never read as much of any online version of any publication as I have of the of the paper version. I love the online editions. They are great for getting information fast and on days when I don't have time to read the paper edition. But the online editions are suffering loss of content just as fast as the print editions in many publications. Are people really looking for a bigger picture and more information in the news?
  • I see of no possible business model that would allow newspapers to exist in the future as we know them today. You should change to a complete on-line system as fast as possible. Make as many cuts as your bottom line can withstand. And, take some of those easily earned dollars from previous years and invest them in the future technologies. Tough decisions.
  • so can we all agree that Technology is important to invest in for the future of business?
  • I get the Star seven days a week and barely read. It is far too politically biased one way to take seriously. No investigative journalism to speak of. No op-ed strength. Too much social news and bubble-gum news. This paper doesn't represent my interests as a tax-paying member of the community. I want serious reporting on serious issues. I want reporters who aren't afraid to look under the rug for facts. I want a newspaper who isn't afraid to speak its mind about any issue.
  • Have we forgotten how VCR's would replace going to the movies? And if online replaces paper, why do we still have people going to libraries? Perhaps it is the content of the newspaper that will change. Up to the minute headlines online, but extensive or expansive follow up stories in print may work. Or issue driven thoughtful editorials will make up the entire paper.; hard news and breaking events would remain online. I skim the online IBJ everyday, but I also get the Star (7days), 2 local dailys, and the Saturday IBJ. People ask me all the time how I know so much and I tell them I read the newspaper!

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