Transformation of the Newspaper Business, by Chris Cowan


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Part of the afternoon plenary session titled "The Future of Online Newspapers"

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Transformation of the Newspaper Business, by Chris Cowan

  1. 1. Transformation of the Newspaper Business and Its Research Impacts Chris Cowan Vice President, Publishing
  2. 2. Transformation of Newspapers The Dance of Shiva Newspapers’ Dilemma The Nature of Change for News Impact on Research
  3. 3. Global Perspective  Print Newspapers thriving in Developing world  Latin America; India; Asia – strong circulation growth  But this will change  In Developed Nations, Newspapers are under siege  Will examine U.S. Newspapers
  4. 4. History of Weathering Storms Radio Television Direct Mail Cable Television But the Internet is different.
  5. 5. Newspapers Today
  6. 6. Future Direction is Clear
  7. 7. Newspaper Advertising Revenues: 2000-2010$B’s $60,000 $50,000 $40,000 $30,000 Print Ad $ $20,000 Online Ad $ $10,000 $0 Newspaper Assoc. of America, March, 2011
  8. 8. Reactions to Reality 2008-2010  13,500 Newsroom Jobs eliminated  43% Ad Revenue decline  17% Circulation Revenue decline  Nearly 100 newspapers shut down the presses  Reduced number of days of print product  Reduce geographic distribution, offer eEdition  Reduce physical size of papers, switch to tabloids  Cutting expenses to keep profitable – not a long term winning strategy.  Shifting to digital business. But late to the game. Wrong skill sets.
  9. 9. The Conundrum information wants to be free- Stewart Brand, 1984 First International Hackers Conference
  10. 10. The ConundrumOn the one hand information wants to be expensive, because its so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.- Stewart Brand, 1984 First International Hackers Conference
  11. 11. Online Competitors Replacing Newspapers  Bloomberg, AOL Patch, Politico, Huffington Post, Slate  Search engines news – Google, Yahoo  Cable News online  Facebook, Twitter  Purely online news: GlobalPost; MinnPost; Texas Tribune  Anyone with a keyboard and internet access
  12. 12. Newspaper Digital Business  Reliance on advertising – early and ongoing debate  “Trading Dollars for Dimes”  Smaller, local newspapers are the most threatened. Don’t have the resources to adapt  Experimentation will continue  Pay walls emerging and will prevail. 150 today.  Subscription models (Wall St. Jnl., Financial Times)  Freemium – some free, then pay  Print and Online subscriptions combined  Develop multiple revenue streams (coupons, eEditions, eBooks)  Ultimately, the daily print newspaper is not a sustainable business. The end-user market requires the industry to change.
  13. 13. Impacts on Journalism  Cacophony of Digital Noise, Editorial Voice lost in the mix  Web 2.0 – Social Media – User involvement  Citizen Journalism  Video, multimedia  News shifting to mobile, rapidly.  Reporters specialize in topics and facilitate communities (Journalist need thicker skins – equal footing with end users)  Hyper-local capture unique local strength  National, International news deemphasized  Advertising integrated everywhere  Journalism becomes a state of mind. Physical newsroom disappears.
  14. 14. Impacts on Research  Digital News will be recognized and utilized as discreet units of information. Print version constrained the true value content.  News is instantaneous  More “news” content will be available. Web > Print  Quality of news content will vary widely.  Highly end-user centric. Accessed and used when, where, and how the end-user wants.  Research will rapidly migrate to mobile devices.  Analytic tools will become required.  Data & text mining, Visualization, Sentiment Analysis Relational and Geographic Analysis, Timelines  Sharing and Collaboration, Research Workflow  Historical News will expand
  15. 15. Longer term Impacts  Newspapers were intended to be consumed and discarded. Archives and libraries utilized microfilm to preserve the historical record. Migrated to digital historical products for greater accessibility and discovery.  Publishers are NOT saving their editorial web archive  Loss of historical web archive  Constantly changing presentation of news creates issues for Copyright. LoC has not made determination of what constitutes copyright for web news.
  16. 16. Advice to Libraries  Be relevant by adapting to the changing news landscape.  Content is still King. Make sure researchers have access to the content they need.  Tools will be essential for news research. Embrace them.  Prepare for and adopt Mobile as a mantra and behavior.
  17. 17. Hartford Courant, Nov. 10, 1930 New York Times, April 24, 1920Washington Post, Nov. 6, 1896 Chicago Tribune, July 24, 1900 Atlanta Constitution, July 6, 1890 Guardian, Nov. 12, 1959 Los Angeles Times, Nov. 16, 1966