Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Report: Newspapers aren't dying

According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, newspapers are still the top source for news in their communities. Last week the Project released its 2008 "The State of the News Media" report. A few highlights about newspapers:

— A shrinking of news staffs and space committed to news continued though 2007 and spread from the big metros to many mid-sized papers. Some of the lost “feet on the street” end up as jobs added to online and niche, but the ambition of newspapers to cover their regions or even basic government functions in nearby exurban towns is on a sharp decline.
— Many metro papers found hyper local coverage to be, in many ways, more work. Covering 12 neighborhoods required more reporting, more resources — and in many cases faced greater competition -- than did covering national issues.
— For the moment, the newspaper industry is profitable — less so than it once was — but still significantly so. And it is, online and print combined, still generating advertising revenue of roughly $45.5 billion a year.
— [Are newspapers dying?] No, they are not. There is life, earnings and maneuvering room in the industry. Even weakened, newspapers remain the top source of news for their communities. The editorial inroads of community-based online publications are patchy geographically and have been slow in coming.

In its summary: "In many ways the audience for news — and for what traditional newsrooms produce — appears to be growing. Nor are journalists failing to adapt. There are more signs in 2008 than ever that news people embrace the new technology and want to innovate."

We want our Press-Telegram to be the top news source for news in the communities it serves. We want our owners to have the same commitment.

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