The goal of this website is not to either compete with the daily newspaper or to downplay its importance. Or even to write about it that much.
Still, I spent nearly four decades at newspapers, so obviously its future is of interest to me (and most folks.)
So here's a splash of cold water to the face from media writer Jeff Jarvis, who has the following "reality check" for newspapers on his website BuzzMachine. By the way, his long post here is worth a look, because it addresses my earlier post about how people are supposed to get the word out about anything in this new media landscape.
By Jeff Jarvis
* Circulation will continue to decline. There can be no doubt.
* Cutting costs will reduce product quality and value, which will further reduce circulation. A vicious, unstoppable cycle.
* Falling circulation will continue to reduce ad revenue.
* Low-cost competitors and abundance will continue to reduce the price of advertising.
* Local retail will continue to consolidate, further reducing ad revenue. Blame Amazon.
* Classified categories—real estate, auto, jobs, merchandise—will continue to become more self-sufficient. They will need market mediators less and less.
* There’s a cliff coming: the end of a critical-mass of circulation needed to maintain inserts. That will have a big impact on newspapers’ P&Ls and will take away a primary justification for still printing and distributing paper.
* Once fixed costs are sliced to the bone, they will rise again. Cutting alone does not a business strategy make.
Probably the most chilling prediction here is the one about a decrease in inserts. Newspaper fought the increase in those irritating inserted ad sections at first. But then the realized they could make big bucks by raising the price of inserting and distribution. Now they rely on that revenue. If that revenue stream drops off, watch out.